Category: Media

In today’s SMH there is a story on Mary Mackillop, and a curious story about a blessing of mobile phones.

What’s most interesting is that both stories have a positive ‘feel’ to them.

There is nothing about scandal or infighting.

In fact, the story about Mary Mackillop has no sense of scepticism whatsoever. It reads like the thing you’d expect to find in a Catholic newspaper.

Here’s the main teaser quote, as featured on the front page of this morning:

When Kathleen Evans arrives at the pearly gates, she will have a simple question for St Peter: ”Why me?”

Maybe the secular media is waking up to the fact that far more Australians consider themselves Christians than had previously conceded by the mainstream press.

Keep praying for opportunities to use these articles as a springboard to conversations with your friends about Jesus.

And, if you’re a budding journo, why not submit an opinion piece to the dailies, and see if they might publish it?

The PM’s gap year push for the Australian Defense Force is a good idea. Read an article on my view at and see my media release from earlier today:


9th August, 2007

Gap year is good policy from the PM, says Anglican Youth Leader

“It would be easy to cynically dismiss the Prime Minister’s push for defence force gap year recruits as a quick fix for dwindling numbers of ADF staff. However, Howard has rightly identified the benefits of taking a ‘year off’ to help school-leavers make wise decisions about their future,” said Jodie McNeill, Director of Anglican Youthworks Year 13 Gap Year.

“For the student, it offers a break from thirteen years of study. It provides an opportunity to carefully consider the appropriate career choices, and to make sure that students make wise decisions about tertiary and vocational training,” he said  “Too many people waste their time and money commencing unsuitable courses.

“This also puts an unnecessary stress on our universities and colleges. When students pull out of courses mid-year, they rob others of the opportunity to learn, and deprive the institutions of much-needed income.

“It also places a drain upon the taxpayer. Many of these drop-outs inevitably require income support, especially due to their lack of vocational or higher educational training. Inevitably they tread water for six months, awaiting the beginning of college or university in the following year.

“More positively, when a school-leaver spends a year learning about their own strengths and weaknesses, and evaluating their vocational preferences, it helps them to begin the next year’s study with greater motivation. They study a course they want to complete, not just the course for which they earned enough marks.

“What’s more, they can take the opportunity to travel overseas, and to see how they fit into the world. There is no better way to discover the wealth of Australia than to experience the poverty of other nations.

“Our team of 26 students in the Year 13 Gospel Gap Year has just returned from Kenya, Africa. Their month-long trip has taught them lessons they would never learn in a classroom, and given them insights they could never get from the Discovery Channel.

“Yet, apart from the self-awareness benefits, a gap year allows school leavers to give something back to others. Whether it’s caring for AIDS patients in a slum in Nairobi, or caring for kids in a disability camp in Sydney, a gap year gives an opportunity to serve others. In our Year 13 program, we also teach life-skills such as first-aid, defensive driving and vocational guidance, as well as theology.

“Recruiting people into the ADF through the gap-year front-door is good policy. It allows potential defence force personnel to make sure they are suited to this specialised work by getting a real view of the military world without a long-term commitment. But, it also gives these school-leavers an opportunity to serve—something we need more of in our increasingly materialistic society.”

CONTACT :         Jodie McNeill                 0425 222 338
(Jodie McNeill is Director of the Anglican Youthworks Year 13 Gospel Gap Year)

I also enjoyed an extended interview with John Morrison on the ABC Statewide Drive program at 5:15pm today.

Ep 48 

Yes, I’ve finally made it into the big league. Forget the Sydney Morning Herald. Forget 103.2 FM. Forget Yes, I’ve finally scored an interview with ‘On The Poddy!’

After the Gen Y conference on Saturday, Dave, Dan and Bron Downes grabbed me, dragged me to a cafe, and with the lure of a strong latte, hit me with scores of penetrating questions.

To have a listen to this great podcast from Dave Miers and the gang from Central Coast Evangelical Church, click here.

And, if you really want to make Dave’s week/month/year/life, subscribe to the podcast from iTunes, and help him achieve his aim in life to score a number one spot in the iTunes charts.

Radar 'Keeping the Faith' Cover

In today’s Radar (a section of the Sydney Morning Herald) they ran a feature on religion amongst young people. Lia Timson, the journalist, interviewed a number of young people, as well as consulting some other opinions, including mine.

She suggests that “Rumours of the death of religion among young people have been grossly exaggerated.”

Read the full article here. 


Here’s an excerpt:

“There is a resurgence of spirituality among youth,” says Jodie McNeill, a theology lecturer at Youthworks College, an Anglican school. “It’s a lot to do with generation Y needing to have experiences rather than explanations.”


McNeill leads a new chapter in the life of the church. Using his Blackberry, a blog and two websites, he keeps in touch with students and parishioners at the Sylvania diocese where he is a minister.


He also runs Year 13, a program for school leavers who want to make a contribution to the world and their own religious upbringing. Last year, 16 students took the course, which included a trip to disadvantaged communities in Africa. This year, 30 have enrolled and another 50 are studying for a diploma of theology.


“We live in totally decadent times,” McNeill says. “We have so much prosperity, we’ve got all the toys – the latest iPod and phones – [yet] young people are wondering how come they are still not happy.


“After they immerse themselves in the whole materialistic thing they feel an emptiness and a sentimentalism, to a certain extent … There is a longing for a time when it was right to be an activist and fight for what really mattered.”


He also says we live in conflicting times, torn between consumerism and the need to sign up to worthy causes – hence our readiness to buy $2 wristbands and cause-related pins. But for some young people, that is not enough.


“It has to do with being post-Christian, as well. Before, kids could ask their parents what it all meant. Now the parents don’t know. There’s a spiritual desert out there. So [interest] is bubbling to the surface.” 

If on Monday 5th Feb you’re around a radio in Sydney (or a web browser anywhere) at around 10.30AM, have a listen to my interview with Joanne Traeger on FM 103.2. It will be streamed on the web from the FM 103.2 stream.

She’s going to chat with me specifically about the TWIST Music Conference in August, and the DVD we made from last year.

If you haven’t seen the DVD, here’s a sneak peak of the song ‘Never Alone’:

Buy the full DVD at 

Check here after the interview for an update on how it went.

[PS. Sorry if you tuned in two Mondays ago and didn’t hear me… the original interview was delayed.  But fingers crossed for Monday!]