They’re a great bunch…
A group of people who love God, love people and want to further the gospel through teaching it to the Christian leaders of tomorrow. They’re a great bunch, we’re sure you’ll love them!
Ben Pfahlert – MTS National Director
Ben did not come from a Christian family. God saved him through very simple means. A bloke called Rhys read one chapter of Mark’s Gospel each week with him during 1988.
Ben became a Christian in 1989 and is very committed to the ‘invest deeply in a few’ model of discipleship. Jesus did it. Paul did it and Rhys did it.
Ben worked as a Civil Engineer in Melbourne for three years. He did an MTS Apprenticeship alongside his wife under Gordon and Fiona Cheng, through AFES at RMIT University 1992-1993. Ben and Emma both studied at Moore Theological College (Sydney) before returning to Melbourne in 2001. Ben wore three hats between 2001 and 2006: he was an AFES University Minister, the Pastor of the evening congregation of Scots Presbyterian Church and the MTS Network Coordinator for Victoria. Ben was appointed MTS National Director in 2007 and is thoroughly committed to MTS’ Vision ‘to win the world for Christ by multiplying Gospel workers through ministry apprenticeships.’
Ben and Emma have 4 adult/high school age children. Ben loves ordinary family dinners, chatting with the kids, triathlons, upside down fires and watching a good TV show with Emma (eg. “Alone” on SBS). Ben also loves seeing (+ supporting) grass roots MTS movements all around the world.
Ben also believes that ‘2 minutes in glory will be far more satisfying than 80 years of the best pleasures this world has to offer.’
Russell Smidt – Director of Training
Russ joined the MTS Staff in May 2022, but has been connected to MTS since attending Club 5 Conferences in the late 90s. He did an apprenticeship at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Carlingford (2003-04), then after 4 years at bible college recruited and trained apprentices as a pastor in NSW/ACT Presbyterian churches.
Russ grew up in Grafton (NSW), where he did his first ‘apprenticeship’ as a scaffolder/dogman in the family business before moving to the ‘big smoke’ to study Civil Engineering at University of Sydney. He worked as a Geotechnical Engineer in Sydney and has served as a pastor in Sydney (Epping Presbyterian Church, 2009-13) and Canberra (New Life Presbyterian Church, Gungahlin, 2014-22).
With his wife and 4 sons, Russ lives in Canberra. He carves out time to umpire community AFL, watch his sons play AFL, kayak the rapids of the Murrumbidgee River and play tenor horn in the Canberra Brass Band.
Since being knocked over by God’s grace and becoming a Christian in 1996, nothing has been more important to him than making Jesus known and helping others to receive God’s grace.
Brett Douglas – Director of Operations & Pastoral Development
Brett joined MTS in May 2018 and was blessed to come to know the Lord Jesus through a Christian family home, and became a Christian as a teenager in Wollongong.
After serving in the Royal Australian Navy for 11 years, Brett subsequently worked in a variety of logistics, service, and business improvement roles. He first came into contact with MTS when he moved to Sydney in the early 1990s, and since then has shared the MTS vision to raise up future gospel workers.
Brett is excited to see how God will use his professional skills to help multiply gospel workers through MTS apprenticeships.
Brett is married to Cathrein and they have three children. Outside work he loves spending time with his family, teaching SRE, cycling with friends, and enjoying a good coffee.
Lee Murray – Director of Partnerships
Lee grew up in Northern Ireland and became a Christian just before his 18th Birthday which he states “was, and still is the best news he has ever heard”.
Before embarking in vocational ministry, Lee was an Intensive Care and Emergency Nurse and thought that God would use that to embark on a more traditional “missionary” path when he set out for Australia in 2005 with his wife Cathra. However, since then God captured Lee’s heart for the many people in Australia who are lost outside of Jesus and the need to train and equip an army of disciples to be missionaries to reach the people around them.
That led Lee to take up a role as a Youth & Young adults Pastor for 6 years while he completed his Advanced Diploma of Theology and Youth Ministry at Youthworks College, and then his Bachelor of Divinity at Moore Theological College. Following this, Lee became a Church Planter with Geneva Push and Lead Pastor of that church up until he joined the team here at MTS.
Lee and Cathra have 5 Children between them, and he loves adventures, creating, exploring, music, and football (“real football” aka Soccer), and working out ways to have his and Cathra’s home as a place of mission and connection.
Murray Wale – Registrar
Murray commenced working for MTS at the end of 2011 as the registrar. He provides support to apprentices, trainers and churches in a variety of ways, including pastoral care, helping churches to begin training apprentices, guiding people through Pathways and the MTS curriculum, as well as providing advice on compliance.
When he is not at work, Murray enjoys spending time with his family, sci-fi, wi-fi and cryptic crosswords (which he never manages to finish!).
Carmel Vincent – Events Coordinator
Carmel joined MTS in December 2021 as the Events Coordinator. She is passionate about seeing people come to know Jesus and grow in their love and knowledge of God and his word. She loves organising events that bring like-minded Christians together to raise up gospel workers for the glory of God.
After working in banking and finance for many years, Carmel moved to the St George area and dedicated herself to serving in both children’s and women’s ministry at her church, St George North Anglican, while also working for the church in administrative and finance roles. During this time she also completed a Graduate Diploma of Divinity at SMBC.
Carmel is married to Neil and they have two young adult sons. Outside work she loves settling down with a good book, listening to music, spending time with her family and going for long walks along the beach with Neil and their dog Archie (preferably with take-away coffees).
Elisabeth Carter – Communications Coordinator
Elisabeth (Liz) joined MTS in July 2020. She is responsible for managing MTS’ communications to apprentices, trainers, potential future apprentices and trainers, and partners.
Liz also works with a number of other organisations in communications and fundraising, helping them to tell their stories, raise money, encourage prayer and develop great supporter relationships. She has been a Christian for as long as she can remember and is most passionate about telling the greatest story of all: the Gospel.
When not working, Liz loves spending time with her husband Ryan (a former MTS apprentice), playing with their two cats Benny and Bea, doing reformer Pilates classes and listening to podcasts. She attends Macquarie Anglican in Eastwood where she is part of the leadership team for the 6pm service.
James Hoey – MTS Victorian Partnership Developer
James joined MTS at the start of 2021 and is based in Victoria. He has the great joy and privilege of working with Victorian ministry leaders and potential apprentices and helping them keep their eyes on God’s harvest field.
James previously worked as a Podiatrist in private practice, community health, correctional facilities and as a National Clinical Manager. He did an MTS Apprenticeship at Grace Christian Community in Melbourne after which he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney from 2017-2020.
James is married to Melody and they have the joy of being parents to Levi.
Jodi Brooker – MTS Operations & Support Administrator
Jodi started with the MTS Team in May 2022. She is from Newcastle, and graduated with a Business Degree from The University of Newcastle at the end of 2021.
Jodi grew up in church and always knew of God, but took her faith seriously at the age of 16 after seeing a powerful testimony from a guest at a youth group event. She considers accepting Jesus into her heart one of the best decisions she’s ever made.
Prior to MTS, Jodi gained experience in both hospitality and retail, and is very excited to now be working in a gospel-minded organisation. In her spare time, Jodi likes to catch up with friends, exercise both at the gym and outdoors, and watch documentaries. Her Siamese cat Coco is very special to her.
Tamara Robson – Personal Assistant to Ben Pfahlert
Tamara joined MTS at the end of 2022 as Ben’s executive assistant through Virtual Church Assist. Her role is to assist Ben in his work by helping to manage communications, calendars & commitments. She loves seeing what happens when administrative work is able to support ministry work, and the ways in which ministry is able to grow through that faithful work.
When she is not working for MTS, she is working in similar roles at other organisations or as a school counsellor. In her free time, she loves to spend time on her stand up paddleboard, or curl up at home with a good book (sometimes theology, sometimes fantasy, sometimes fluff). She lives with her delightful husband James, and their two dogs, two cats and little flock of chickens.
Rebecca Cockroft – Ministry Administrator
Rebecca joined MTS in May 2023. She came to faith through watching her parents as they faithfully and prayerfully worked as missionaries in Nepal. Rebecca is passionate about the change that Christ makes in a person’s life, moving people from death to life!
After completing a Bachelor of Music (Performance) and running a music tutoring business, Rebecca completed an MTS apprenticeship in 2017-18 and was given the opportunity of learning and supporting the work of Ministry at Vine Church, Surry Hills. She then went on to work for the Salvation Army as a Community Caseworker in work that gave her the opportunity to share her faith as and practically support those who are extremely disadvantaged in the community.
Rebecca is married to Isaac, and they have 2 children. Outside work, she loves playing with her young children, long walks and conversations with friends and any musical/concert/gig she can get to.