Hannah Waters is an MTS Apprentice at Hunter Bible Church in Newcastle, after feeling convicted to do work that has an eternal impact, she hit pause on her career in nursing to try working in ministry.
Being convicted and shaped by the grace of the gospel
Although she grew up in a Christian family, attending church and learning about Jesus, Hannah felt ashamed of Christianity because it was ‘uncool’ and she wanted to fit in. She would read her bible out of obligation and a desire to be ‘good’, but to her peers, she never labelled herself Christian.
At the age of 15, Hannah attended KYCK at Katoomba Convention Centre where she heard the gospel. Although it wasn’t the first time she heard it, it was the time God revealed its mystery to her. Hannah shares, “ I feel like it was the first time that I really understood the gospel and the fact that Jesus died on the cross and what that actually means. The pain and the suffering and the humiliation of that. It just kind of blew my mind, the fact that I could be ashamed of a man who died for me.”
This changed Hannah’s life, and after KYCK, she came back to her church, Maitland Evangelical Church, wanting to know Jesus and live her life as his disciple.
Later after leaving school, Hannah started attending university at The University of Newcastle, and she joined UniChurch (from Hunter Bible Church) there, and was further grown in her faith. She says, “Being surrounded by people who also believe in Jesus and who live that out practically through serving and different things like that. It was a huge growth opportunity again.”
Hannah studied nursing at uni, and after finishing her degree in 2020, went on to work as a nurse in 2021. Through her work, God prompted her compassion and pointed her to MTS.
She shares, “I worked as a nurse last year and just seeing so much suffering and pain convicted me. Nursing is really good because you get to help people but it’s only their physical health that you’re actually helping. Whereas I wanted to help them spiritually because that’s what actually has eternal value.”
With this desire to serve God more and to help people spiritually, Hannah started an MTS apprenticeship at Hunter Bible Church.
Learning ministry skills with the support of her trainer
Hannah’s trainer is Jenny Jefferys, and along with fellow Apprentice Caleb, she is a ‘Membership Champ’. Hannah describes it as, “we kind of look after the culture of people feeling like part of the body. So that looks like running the setup and pack up team and running the events team and things like that.”
In addition to these tasks, Hannah also oversees a kids ministry that enables mothers to study the bible together, and she is a ‘Mission Champ’ for their morning congregation. Hannah says, “Being a ‘Mission Champ’ means I oversee mission and try and help promote a culture where people are actively sharing Jesus and praying for him.”
Before she started her apprenticeship, Hannah didn’t have much (if any) experience in these areas of ministry. She shares, “I just got thrown into it. It’s really the way of the apprenticeship. It’s so overwhelming, to be honest, and challenging, but, it is really growing me. How good!”
Her week starts with a big staff day on Monday, where all of the MTS apprentices get together and do some training after breakfast. Then all the staff do a devotion and have an all-day session together. Monday evenings Hannah is involved in ‘Hub Sessions’, which are about training people up with practical skills. Currently, she is part of running one called Evangelism, where they train people how to use two ways to live.
On Tuesday Hannah goes to growth group with women from the morning service, meets with other leaders from the Membership team and uses some time for admin! She also co-leads a UniChurch bible study on Tuesday nights.
Wednesdays involve a UniChurch Membership meeting and spending the afternoon with her trainer Jenny. Hannah says, “We meet up for a couple of hours and read the Bible together and I can ask any ministry question, which is super helpful cause there is normally a pastoral issue or something I want to discuss.”
Thursday starts with a flexible morning, where Hannah does one-to-ones or other meetings before doing walk-up evangelism at the University of Newcastle with other MTS apprentices and members of UniChurch. She shares, “We’ve just started doing a stall which has been pretty good. We’re giving away free toasties, and so it forces people to wait for us to slowly cook them, we can chat to them about Jesus. It’s actually been really good.”
Thanks to God for his work through us
Hannah is extremely grateful to be doing an MTS apprenticeship and has been so encouraged by how God is working through her and her fellow apprentices. She reflects, “It’s such a privilege to just get to sit in the front seat and watch God at work. Every time something cool or amazing happens, it’s always been when I have not done a very good job. But God uses it.”
One particular encouragement for Hannah was how God used her imperfect conversation and invitation, to bring someone along to church. She shares, “During walkup, I walked up to this guy and told him I was a Christian and I went to Uni church and invited him along, but stumbled my way through – so in my head I thought, ‘There’s no way this guy’s coming.’ But I messaged him and invited him and he came that Sunday. And it was just really encouraging, seeing the congregation just getting around him and welcoming him. He’s part of my bible study group now, like, yeah, and he’s just such an encouragement.”
Before doing MTS herself, Hannah had a perception that MTS apprentices were ‘perfect’. She recalls, “I feel like it’s kind of just a culture that people see MTSers as these perfect Christians that are like gurus and just know a bunch of stuff about God. But that is totally not the case. Once I actually got to know [MTS apprentices] and became close friends with them, it actually gave me insight into how they’re people who are just as reliant on God as I am.”