Bren McLean

Church Life


by on Oct.28, 2015, under Church Life


I love my job! I have been the Creative Minister at St Paul’s for 8 year’s now, leading an awesome team of volunteers.

Eight year’s doesn’t sound like a long time, but research suggests it is. Over that time I have seen programs and apps come and go. They all promise to save you time and money, but few deliver.

In my opinion, here are my Top 7 apps for ministry:

  1. Bible Study (Olive Tree) – Bible reading/study app
  2. Evernote – Organise notes that sync across all devices
  3. Feedly – Blog reader
  4. Good Reader – View pdf’s
  5. Planning Center (PCO) – Plan services, schedule volunteers and more
  6. ProPresenter – Projection/presentation software
  7. Spotify – Free radio

Why 7? Well, 7 seems like the perfect number. What would you add/replace?

For a more through list, check out the ProPreacher blog, ‘the absolute best iPad apps for pastors‘.

Leave a Comment more...


by on Apr.07, 2015, under Church Life

Easter is the most important festival on the Christian calendar. It represents the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and every year we celebrate these significant events that occurred over 2,000 years ago.

Below is an overview of the services at St Paul’s this Easter:

Easter FB


Sermon – It WAS a Good Friday

Bible Reading – John 19:1-37

Songs –

1. Our God (Tomlin)

2. Jesus Paid it All (Stanfill)

3. Man of Sorrows (Hillsong)

4. Jerusalem (CityAlight)

Creative Video:

We also shared in Communion together.



Sermon – Emptiness Never Felt So Full

Bible Reading – John 20:1-18

Songs –

1. Mighty Warrior (Elevation)

2. Once For All (CityAlight)

3. Christ is Enough (Hillsong)

4. Praise the Saviour (CityAlight)

We also shared in Communion together.

Over 2100 people attended our services this year and God was honoured as we gathered together to celebrate the victory we have in Jesus.

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

John 20:31

Leave a Comment :, , more...


by on Jun.09, 2014, under Church Life, Communications

Last week, I attended the Faithfulness In Service 2014 conference. FIS is run by the PSU and held every 3 year’s to assist Anglican clergy and lay leaders in addressing current issues.

One of the standout talks was titled ‘Using Electronic Communications Wisely In Ministry’.


Presented by Reverend Nigel Fortescue, we got 10 tips for communicating wisely:

1. Plug in!

Regardless of your age, you must have email, smartphone, great website, Facebook

Possibly a blog and twitter

Don’t multitask. It takes discipline and shows respect for those you are with

‘Unplug’ on your day off. Preserve rest time

2. Understand the tools

Learn the rules of each platform

Learn the pros and cons of each platform

Protect your privacy

3. There is no delete key!

Your posts are permanent and can be used against you

Think twice before you press enter

Plagiarism is now easier

4. Use the electronic to enhance the personal

Electronic communication is a powerful tool

It is also high risk. Things can easily be misinterpreted

5. Don’t use the electronic to escape the personal

Some things need to be said in person

6. Stay in control

You be the master (not the slave) and use electronic communication as a tool

Reply to texts and messages

Society is adapting slowly to the dangers (eg. Cyber bullying)

7. Love those who resist electronic communications

Some people will not adopt technology

8. Create a policy to follow

Have guidelines for your church/organisation

9. Speak to and listen to the congregation

10. Act your age!

Be yourself online

We also watched a video clip made by Colin Buchanan. A parody song titled ‘Be My Friend’, it cleverly mocks the sort of ‘friendships’ that can be found on Facebook:

Leave a Comment :, , more...


by on Jun.07, 2014, under Church Life, Worship

shine web

Here are 5 reasons you should attend the upcoming SHINE CONFERENCE at St Paul’s, Castle Hill:

1. To be UNITED as brothers and sisters in Christ

It is a powerful gathering when 200+ creatives and church leaders from all over NSW, from a variety of churches and denomimations unite in the name of Jesus


2. To be EQUIPPED for ministry

Apart from guest speaker Oscar Muriu, there are a number of short talks and workshops to choose from. We want to help build up the wider church by sharing the resources that God has blessed us with


3. To be INSPIRED for ministry

You will see and hear things presented by leaders who are committed to excellence. Some can be copied or adapted for ministry at your church


4. Because it is affordable

SHINE is not a profit making venture. Rego prices are kept as low as possible (particularly for students and groups) so that whole teams can be encouraged to attend


5. Because it is local

If you live in Sydney, Castle Hill is no more than 50 minutes away. There is ample parking and great barista coffee!


We hope to see you at SHINE on Saturday 21 June, 2014. Check out the website for more information and to register.

Leave a Comment more...


by on May.21, 2014, under Church Life, Leadership

There are now over 1 million Apple applications available for your devices and surprisingly, many of the best are FREE. Whatever the platform, these apps make life easier, or just more fun.


Below are my top 10 FREE apps, by category:


Dropbox  – store up to 3GB on the cloud for free

Evernote a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving

Feedly – Since the demise of Google Reader, Feedly is the best way to collect the content of your favorite news sites, feeds, tumblr blogs and youtube channels

Hootsuite – Manages all of your social media on the one platform



Olive Tree – a suite of bible reading and bible study tools

Planning Center Online – PCO is the premier tool for planning services and scheduling volunteers



Allmusic – The one place for all information about bands and music artists

IMDb – The world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content

Shazam – Ever heard a song and wondered what was the title and who was the artist? Shazam miraculously has the answer

Spotify – The best radio and free music player on the market


What apps are in your top 10?


2 Comments :, , more...


by on May.13, 2014, under Church Life, Worship

The Jesus Brings campaign is all about Jesus’ mission to seek and save the lost. An initiative of Sydney Anglicans, dozens of churches across the city are involved, including St Paul’s.

Jesus Brings

Church leaders, including Archbishop Glenn Davies, Peter Jensen, Archie Poulos and Dominic Steele share their thoughts on the importance of the ‘mission’ ahead:


May Mission is a month where missional and evangelistic activities are given a heightened awareness. The highlight is Daniel Shayesteh, who spoke all last weekend at a number of events and services.

Daniel’s testimony is miraculous, particularly due to his conversion from Islamic fundamentalist to Christian evangelist! God is building His Kingdom and there is no heart is too far.

Last weekend, we celebrated Mothers Day. It was a wonderful opportunity to honour mums for the significant contribution that they make to family life.

Mothers Day

Below is the setlists at St Paul’s for 11 May:


1. Home (Running) (spch)

2. Mighty To Save (Hillsong)

3. Once For All (spch)

4. Christ Is Enough (Hillsong)


1. Our God (Tomlin)

2. The One Who Saves (Hillsong)

3. Yours Alone (spch)

4. Jesus Paid It All (Stanfill)


Leave a Comment :, more...


by on Apr.29, 2014, under Church Life, Worship

On 27 April 2014, St Paul’s celebrated 30 years at 421 Old Northern Rd, Castle Hill. Thanks be to God and the faithful leaders who had the vision in 1984 to move us from a crowded site to 5 acres.

30 years

Rodney Dredge and Allan Dowthwaite are both long time members of St Paul’s. It was great to hear each of them shared (8/10am and 5/7pm respectively) how the move was needed and how through prayer and perseverance, the relocation has seen significant growth in the church. Praise God for His provision!

Rod Dredge

Who knows where we will be in another 30 years.

The day was also an opportunity to look into the future. Ken Allen, Keith Baker and Pat Jones preached on the parable of the Great Banquet. In Luke 14 15-24, Jesus invites people to the party. Few came, so more were invited!

We too have all been invited into the Kingdom and as followers of Christ, we need to invite others in. A timely topic as we approach May Mission.

Below is the setlists for last Sunday:


1. Nothing But The Blood (Traditional)

2. Washed By The Blood (spch)

3. Yours Alone (spch)

4. You Hold Me Now (Hillsong)


1. Nothing But The Blood (Traditional)

2. Stronger (Hillsong)

3. There Is Mercy (spch)

4. You’ll Come (Hillsong)


This is a weekly post, as part of the Sunday Setlists initiative:


Leave a Comment : more...


by on Apr.17, 2014, under Church Life, Production, Worship

Last night was the final performance of Jesus Christ Superstar. It was a joy and privilege to be involved in such a high quality production!

We got a glimpse of just how well the body of Christ can work together to bring glory to God. There is unity in diversity.

Here are a few photos from the show:

Everythings AlrightMary: “Try not to get worried…

everything’s alright”


Mary“I don’t know how to love him”


CaiphasCaiphas: “You know his movements, we know the Law”


PilatePilate: “Oh, so this is the Christ”


HerodHerod: “Jesus I am overjoyed to meet you face to face”


JesusJesus: “God, Thy will is hard”


Jesus 2“It is finished”


Jesus 3BUT, the story does not end there!


The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Matthew 28:5-7

After each performance, there was an intentional darkness and awkward silence. What next?

Senior Minister, John Gray then invited people back to Easter services to hear the rest of the story and to have questions about Jesus answered.

Now for some interesting numbers:


23 – Orchestra

50 – Crew

62 – Cast

50+ – Support (Ushers, Caterers, Babysitters etc)

216 – Lighting Cues

500+ – Cups of coffee

2,500+ – Tickets sold


Thanks to everyone who was involved in the St Paul’s production of Superstar. Whether up front or behind the scenes, your contribution helped to make the show an outstanding success.

Let’s continue to pray that the name of Jesus will be made famous across the Hills and beyond.


1 Comment :, , more...


by on Apr.16, 2014, under Church Life, Worship

Social Media

SHINE CONFERENCE is on again! What began in 2008 as a training day for the St Paul’s music team, has evolved into an event for creatives and church leaders from all over the country.

Tim Keller talks about the power of active contextualisation and we also want to see the gospel of Jesus communicated in mediums that are engaging and relevant.



In the past, guests have included, Darlene Zschech, Mike Raiter, Robert Fergusson, Karl Faase and Ray Galea.

This year,  we are delighted to host Oscar Muriu, all the way from Kenya. Oscar  is Senior Pastor of Nairobi Chapel and has much to say about the arts as an effective communication tool. Oscar speaks all over the world and was a part of the Global Leadership Summit 2013 faculty at Willow Creek.

The event also features short talks, workshops and worship lead by CityAlight.

Check out the SHINE website for more details and to register. ‘Early-Bird’ rates apply until 19 May.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16


Leave a Comment :, , , , more...


by on Mar.03, 2014, under Church Life, Worship

‘Power to change a life’, is a new series we started in February on the book of ROMANS. The epistle is being unpacked over 10 weeks.

Romans 2014

ROMANS explains that salvation is offered through the gospel of Jesus Christ and is probably the most significant of the Pauline letters.

Below is the setlists at spch for 2 March 2014:


1. Running (spch)

2. Our God (Tomlin)

3. There Is Mercy (spch)

4. The One Who Saves (Hillsong)



1. Our God (spch)

2. 10,000 Reasons (Redman)

3. Jerusalem (spch)

4. Man Of Sorrows (Hillsong)

The band was joined by a string quartet. The songs were arranged and played beautifully!


New Archbishop, Glenn Davies preached at all 4 services. What an honour it was to hear him present the gospel with such power and clarity.

NOTE – The Arch presented a one hour overview of Romans at the start of our series. His talk can be found HERE.

The Sydney Diocese is in the hands of a Godly leader and remarkable communicator.

Glenn Davies 020314

Over 1500 people attended yesterday and a highlight for me was witnessing 18 young men and women being baptised (including my son, Ryan).

Baptism - Ryan

The Archbishop and Senior Minister, John Gray changed into the ‘appropriate attire’ for this sacrament that has been performed for over 2000 years. Each of the candidates proudly declared their devotion to Jesus and that they completely understand the meaning of full immersion baptism:

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Romans 6:4


The angels were certainly celebrating (and so were we)!

This is a weekly post, as part of the Sunday Setlists initiative:


Leave a Comment :, more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!