Celebrating 30 Years

As I sit and ponder 30 years of NET Ministries a song pops into my head called, “Seasons of Love.” Here’s’ a few of the lyrics:

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in
sunsets/ In midnights, in cups of coffee/ In inches, in
miles/ In laughter, in strife In truths that she learned/ Or
in times that he cried/ In bridges he burned/ Or the way
that she died In five hundred twenty-five thousand six
hundred minutes/ How do you measure, measure a year?
How about love?

The writer of the song is asking a big question: how do you measure the impact of a life? I find myself asking that same question as I try to measure the impact that NET as an organisation has had over the last 30 years.

Should it be measured through the statistics that we
rattle off, that can sound impressive (or not, depending
on your perspective) like more than 500 000 young
people reached through almost 1000 missionaries
and hundreds of teams. Surely, yes. But surely, it’s so
much more than this. I think that if we look through
the lens of faith we can see God’s fingerprints all over
this ministry; over the relationships built, connections
forged, and the generous sacrifices made for the sake
of the mission by so many people over so many years
through a lot of laugher and some tears as well. To
summarise, I think you measure the impact in love,
for this is how they will know that we are Christians.
But I found this task of reflecting on NET’s 30 years
impossible to take on, on my own, so I’ve asked Shayne
Bennett, our Founding Director, to add some of his

Every so often, its good to stop and reflect on what’s
been, before heading off once more into the future.
The 30 th anniversary of NET Ministries is one of those
occasions. The word gratitude comes quickly to mind –
gratitude for the vision of NET; for those Netters who
have given one and sometimes two years of their lives;
for the staff who have worked tirelessly and generously;
for the families and single people, priests and religious
who have received and cared for NET teams; for the
young people we’ve had the privilege to serve; for
those who have given both financially and practically
to support the ministry and the list goes on. In this
moment, it’s good to remember that NET as a ministry
is a gift of God – given to raise up apostles for a new generation, young men and women who can help their
peers make the connection between faith and life.
NET began as a simple and practical response to the
Church’s call for young people to evangelise their peers.
The vision took root in the heart of a man by the name of
Peter Vickerson when he experienced NET in the United
States. He and his wife Lyn promoted this vision and
financially supported the launch of an Australian NET
team. What a gift to the Church in Australia! Peter and
Lyn would be the first to acknowledge the commitment
of so many others, but they laid a foundation which
God blessed. The testimony of so many young people
over thirty years reminds us what a grace this ministry
has been for the life of the Church in this nation and

It has been my privilege to serve as NET’s first Executive
Director for seventeen of those thirty years, and I have
to say what an incredible blessing NET Ministries has
been to me personally but also to my family. How can I
not be grateful?

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