When gifting and passion converge: Gary’s story

21 Dec 2020

Photo: Gary Sullivan (far right) with Cameron Jones, Ian Ruigrok were all part of the leadership team at  Scripture Union camp.


By Emily Ferguson, 

It’s not every day you get the opportunity to serve God at the intersection of your passions and giftings, especially when one of those is fishing! That’s exactly why Coast Community Church member Gary Sullivan seized the opportunity to be part of a Scripture Union fishing camp for high school boys at the end of November at Lake Windamere.

“I love connecting with people right across the generations,” Gary said. “It’s so good when the barriers come down and you can have a good chat with someone. I also have a real passion for fishing and if I can combine that with drawing people to Christ that ticks a couple of boxes for me. That’s a beautiful place when they come together.

“Did we catch boatloads of fish? No. But it was very successful – the kids loved it and bonded really well, and it achieved the thing you do t

hose camps for. Two of the 18 kids made a decision for Christ, which was really good, and for at least two others there was movement towards Christ.” 

Gary was invited to be part of the camp by Scripture Union’s Interim State Director, Glenn Coombs, who is part of the same church and knew Gary loved people and fishing. As well as being one of six men who brought a boat along for the weekend to take the boys out for four-hour fishing sessions, Gary had the opportunity on the Saturday night to give a short talk around fishing from the scriptures.

“I love it when God’s presence is very evident, even in extreme conditions! It was a weekend of extreme heat, and heat is probably the main thing I can’t stand. But God turned up and helped me through that. He turned up in lots of ways that weekend, even to help me get enough sleep in a tent that was still hot and also just being able to talk off the cuff without having to prepare notes.

“He encouraged me in lots of ways: to be more confident to trust him when what’s ahead is not real clear and you don’t know how it’s going to go. To say, ‘I know you’re going to turn up; I know you’re going to help me.’

“You get more confident about sharing the Gospel and your own story and passion with other people of all ages, not just the ones who go to church.”


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