Terry and Fleur in Nepal with their sponsor child.
Our pastor is 50-something year old Terry Allen. Terry is married to Fleur and, together, they have four children. The two girls have left home while the two boys are still in the nest with the youngest having just completed 12.
Terry's background is television and radio news journalism, which he still dabbles in from time to time (it's "in the blood" he tells us).
When Terry was about to turn 30, having just become a father for the first time, he began formal theological training, mainly because he was picking up most of the preaching duties here at Sandy Beach Baptist. Although he has only ever attended Baptist churches, Terry was drawn to the external program offered by Moore Theological College; Australia's premier Anglican Bible college.
"I have always admired Sydney Anglicans and when I discovered they offered theological study to people like me who couldn't pack up and move to Sydney, I signed up.
"I discovered the writings of the major Australian evangelical Anglican theologians such as Leon Morris, Donald Robinson and, in particular, Graeme Goldsworthy. I had no idea such a thing as 'Biblical Theology' even existed until then."
For the next five years or so, Terry stayed up late at night and hit the books while his young, growing family slept. "Although there were many years where I bottle fed the babies while I studied under an inadequate lamp."
Terry was then brought in by the Baptist Association of NSW and made a Recognised Minister. Sandy Beach Bap's employed Terry (part-time) from the middle of 2005; an arrangement which has continued to this day.
More recently, Terry went back to formal academic training and completed an M.A. in Theological Studies though Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. Terry became the first person in that seminary's history to complete a theological degree without stepping foot on campus.
Each year for up to six weeks, Terry travels to Nepal with the Australian mission organisation International Mission Ministries to help train church planters in their understanding of the Bible. His particular focus is homiletics (the preparation and delivery of sermons).
"I can't think of anything in ministry I have been more blessed by. Many of the Nepalese pastors I teach are young in the faith (a few years at most) and are already leading large fellowships. And many of them face a kind of persecution we only read about. To be used by God to help equip them is so humbling."
You can find Terry in the pulpit most Sundays at Sandy Beach Baptist Church. If not, you'll see him on the soccer field; shuffling his creaking body across the grass on a Saturday afternoon at Woolgoolga, Then, he will be sitting up late to watch Liverpool in the EPL. Terry also enjoys riding his bicycle around the local streets and a bit of fishing (although there have been no miraculous catches to speak of here!)