How a fire sprinkler fitter became Dean of Students

Youthworks College is excited to introduce the Rev Mike Dicker (Youthworks College, 2007) who has joined the faculty as Lecturer and Dean of Students. To help you get to know Mike, we asked him to share some stories from his life and ministry, and what he’s most looking forward to as he moves from being a youth and children’s minister to training them.

Where did you grow up and what did you do before Youthworks College?

The jury is still out on whether I have grown up! That aside, I did a lot of my growing up around the Mortdale-Oatley-Hurstville-Narwee areas.

Originally, I completed an apprenticeship as a Fire Sprinkler Fitter. (Think plumber, except better!) I worked in that industry for about eight years before doing MTS at All Saints’, Petersham. MTS led to further study at Youthworks College, then Moore College. So, my original two-year plan turned into 13.5 years of youth and children’s ministry at All Saints’.

How did you become a Christian?

I was introduced to Jesus by my parents and grew up knowing and trusting him. I made a public commitment and was baptised at 11. I did have some tumultuous teenage years, but I reaffirmed my faith in Jesus at the end of high school and have never looked back!

Who’s in your family?

I’ve been married to Fi for 12 years and we have three children, Evie, Josie, and Benji. They’re all in primary school now, so we’ve reached the age of perilous family bike rides—scary, but fun.

What are your hobbies?

I love building things! Some notable past projects include: welding up a billycart; building a four-meter-tall trebuchet; and customising my 1980 CX500 motorbike. I’m currently building an epic treehouse in the backyard for my kids.

Why did you choose Youthworks College, then Moore College? What are some of the ways theological study helped you grow?

I chose Youthworks College because I wanted to be trained in Theology, the Bible, and youth and children’s ministry. My time at Youthworks was profoundly formative. After graduation, I did most of Youthworks’ Advanced Diploma subjects and found I wanted to study at degree level. So I went to Moore College and because of my prior study at Youthworks, I was able to complete a Bachelor of Theology in two years.

I’ve certainly grown in my ministry competencies and ability as a trainer of others and, given I’d never written an essay or done any tertiary education before studying at Youthworks, I’ve definitely grown in my academic ability as well.

What ministry have you been doing since leaving college?

I’ve been involved with youth and children’s ministry at All Saints’, which has included training leaders, running programs, preaching, speaking at and being on organising committees for camps and conferences, and helping people of all ages live lives that anticipate the glorious vision of the church that Jesus set before us. 

What is your goal in joining the faculty?

I want to help continue the comprehensive ministry formation of students that Youthworks College has a long track record of accomplishing. I want students to engage with the Bible personally, so they know God and make him known to youth and children through partnership with parents and the creative teaching of God’s captivating word.

What is your role within the college?

Good question! The Dean of Students is a teaching role at Youthworks but it’s also focused on the pastoral care students. I’m excited to figure out what that looks like, particularly how I might help all students grow and mature as ministers of the gospel.

How can supporters pray for you as you take up this new role?

This is only my second full-time ministry role ever. It would be wonderful if supporters could pray about adjusting to the rhythms of college life because I think that’s going to be a big adjustment. It’s also always good to be praying about engaging with God’s word personally so that it’s not just about me teaching information to others but actually engaging with God through his word. If we can do that together as students and faculty, then help youth and children engage with God’s word—for me, that’s really what it’s all about.

Cal Harmer