Phillip Jensen’s varied ministry continues to have lasting impact on countless individuals and through major organisations in Australia and worldwide. Since 1975 Phillip has pioneered many vibrant ministries while serving thousands in the role of pastor and teacher. To date these ministries have been in the areas of training, university student work, church planting and publishing of Christian resources. Phillip is married to Helen. They currently live in Sydney and have three adult children and thirteen grandchildren.
As a child and teenager, Phillip was involved in Sunday School and youth fellowship at St Stephen’s Church Bellevue Hill. He made his public profession of faith in 1959 at the Billy Graham Crusade and started a ministry of the gospel to his friends at school.
It was at university that he met Helen, whom he married in 1969. During his time as a student, Phillip taught Sunday School at St Stephen’s Bellevue Hill, was a beach mission member at Coledale near Austinmer, and was part of the university Christian fellowship, an involvement that would bear much fruit later on.
Phillip studied at Moore Theological College from 1967-1970, and served as student minister at St Aidan’s Hurstville Grove and St Andrew’s Roseville. He was ordained in December 1970, and worked at St Matthew’s Manly from 1971-1972. The following two years he worked with John Chapman for Evangelism Ministries (then called the Department of Evangelism).
From that time to today, Phillip’s main work has been his regular exposition of the scriptures. Be it at the university at lunch times, on the weekend in church, or more lately at the Cathedral lunch time ministry and weekend preaching, Phillip has devoted himself to preaching Christ by consistently expounding the Bible. His pastoral counselling, evangelistic ministries, polemical and apologetic forays, itinerant preaching, and initiatives in founding new ministries, organizations and media have all taken place in the context of this basic work of teaching the scriptures week by week.
In 1974, he joined the Katoomba Christian Convention Council. He was Chairman of the Katoomba Youth Convention from 1974-1991 and became Chairman of the Convention Council in 1983, a position he held for eight years until he retired from the Council in 1991.
From 1975–2005 Phillip was the Chaplain at the University of New South Wales, pastor of the University Church and set up Campus Bible Study. In 1976 he launched the annual Mid Year Conference (MYC), a week-long training intensive which was adopted by and still continues in many Christian university groups across Australia.
Phillip became the rector of St Matthias Centennial Park in 1978, a congregation which grew from around 30 to well over 1000 by the mid 1990s. During these years hundreds of St Matthias members left to serve Christ in full time ministry both in Australia and overseas as missionaries. It was here he started training ministry apprentices and soon developed a program which coached hundreds of ministry trainees and became the Ministry Training Strategy (MTS). Today MTS is a system of apprenticeship training widely used across Australia and in many parts of the world. Graduates of the University of New South Wales MTS serve Christ in churches, Bible colleges, schools and universities both in Australia and overseas.
In 1978 he also wrote the gospel outline Two Ways to Live and a set of Bible studies for new Christians called Just for Starters. Since then, these resources have been printed in many editions and are widely used around the world. In 1987 he founded Matthias Media, the publishing arm of the ministries at St Matthias. The Briefing, an evangelical magazine with worldwide distribution, was also launched that year.
1983 saw the first of many church plants originating from the university church of St Matthias, including the Greek Bible Fellowship, and the Korean Bible Fellowship. By 2003 Unichurch had grown into the largest Anglican church in Australia with 16 congregations ministering to a variety of ethnic groups such as Indonesians, Greeks, Koreans, Cantonese, Mandarin, Australian Born Chinese, as well as different sociological groupings such as families, students, youth and workers.
Recognising the key evangelistic imperative regarding church planting, Phillip initiated in the mid 1990’s a number of church plants around Australia. These grew into a partnership between like-minded church planters to see churches planted in key parts of Sydney and Australia The formal association of independent churches took place in 2004 as the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC).
Whilst ministering as Chaplain at the University and leading the University Church and St Matthias’ group of churches, Phillip was freed by the parish council to undertake a regular itinerant speaking ministry. This has included university missions, clergy conferences, student training conferences and church planting conferences both nationally and internationally. He was particularly used by God in the early days of the establishment in England of the Evangelical Ministers Assembly, the Proclamation Trust, and the London Men’s Convention.
After over 30 years in student ministry, he resigned as Chaplain for the University of New South Wales in 2005. He continues his involvement with university student work by speaking at student training conferences and university missions around Australia, encouraging and challenging each generation of students to a complete life commitment to Christ.
In 2003 Phillip became the Dean* of Sydney at St Andrew’s Cathedral and Director of the Sydney Diocesan Ministry Training and Development (MT&D). As Dean he guided the Cathedral in its development as a thriving city church with the gospel clearly proclaimed as the Bible was taught. He planted congregations to connect with the city dwellers, workers and players. He was Director of MT&D from 2003 – 2012 where he continued his lifelong passion for training people in ministry as he led the department in providing ongoing training for ministers in the Sydney Diocese.
In December 2014 Phillip resigned from parish ministry to commence work with Two Ways Ministries, recruiting and training ministry workers in preaching the gospel by teaching the Bible. He currently accepts many invitations to preach on Sundays and to speak at national and international conferences where he continues to model preaching the gospel by teaching the Bible.
*A Dean is “The First of Ten” i.e. the head of a college, university or faculty. Cathedrals are led by Deans as they have always been places of what we call today ‘team ministry’ with the Dean as the ‘Senior Minister’.