Ashley Thompson speaks with newly appointed Queensland Synod General Secretary Gary Doyle about his passion for young people and the church.
Last December Gary Doyle and his wife Helen uprooted themselves from their home in Townsville and moved to Brisbane—enabling him to become general secretary of the Uniting Church in Queensland.
“I don’t really see this job as a promotion; it’s a calling,” says Gary, who previously held the position of principal of the John Flynn College—a residential college associated with the Uniting and Lutheran churches at James Cook University in Townsville.
A Christian since the mid-70s, Gary grew up in the Methodist Church before joining the Uniting Church at union. The Youth of the State representative for North Queensland in 1978, he has since served the church in numerous youth leadership capacities and worshipped in congregations as far and wide as Moranbah, Dysart, Ayr, Nundah and most recently, Aitkenvale.
“My relationship with the church has been pivotal in developing my leadership skills,” he says. “It was instrumental early on in my life and has always provided Christ-centred mentors.”
Gary has over 25 years experience in education and management. In addition to his role at the John Flynn College he has worked for Education Queensland, BHP Australia Coal, Australian Agricultural and the Australian College of Tropical Agriculture.
A father to two 20-somethings, he remains passionate about engaging young people in the church and recognises the value of their voice in moving forward.
“One of the biggest challenges facing the church is the next generation,” says Gary. “There is definitely a need to look at how the church connects with young people and importantly, how young people want to connect to the church.
“How they want to have community might not be the same as the models that predominantly exist in the Uniting Church at the moment.”
Gary is enthusiastic about his role as a change manager in the Synod and strengthening the link between Uniting Church agencies and the church’s “core business”, growing the kingdom of God.
“I really believe that when the core of why you exist is clearly articulated then the mission can grow tenfold … if we’re not here to lead people to Christ what are we here for?”
You are invited to Gary Doyle’s commissioning service to be held on 18 February, 4.30 pm at the Uniting Church Centre, Auchenflower. RSVP Kellie Broderick on 3377 9744 or firstname.lastname@example.org