About us

St John’s Presbyterian is a growing multi-ethnic, multi-generational church in the city of Hobart. We are committed to being authentic, thoughtful disciples of Jesus living as his representatives in an increasingly secular and post-Christian society. Our goal is to welcome you into our family and make you feel at ease, no matter what your church or life experiences may be.
Please join us as we gather together each Sunday at 10.00am and 5:00pm. You will find our services to be straightforward and easy to understand, with a mix of the old and the new, and with an emphasis on clear, Christ-exalting preaching from the Bible. 
Rev. Alistair Bain
Senior Minister

Our Mission

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The risen and ruling Lord Jesus has given us the mission of making disciples. We will do that by prayerfully going into all His world, declaring His gospel, in the power of His Spirit, so that we may reach and gather His people. Together, as His church we will lovingly teach one another to obey all of His commands so that we may grow to be more like Him, until His return, to the glory of God the Father.

We commit ourselves as God’s people to Pray, Reach, and Grow.

What we believe

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  1. The Bible is God’s breathed-out word and is without mistake or contradiction. It tells us everything we need to know about God, us, and how we can live to please him.
  1. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  1. The universe and everything in it was made by God from nothing and was originally completely perfect.
  1. The world we live in now is very different to the one God originally made. This is because every human who has ever been born, except for one, has rejected God’s good and perfect rule over them and has chosen self-rule. Consequently, we are all sinners who stand guilty before God (even if we don’t feel guilty); we are alienated from him, and deserve his anger and condemnation, but are powerless to escape it.
  1. Yet, God has not left us without hope. He has lovingly sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save us from the consequences of our guilt and sin.
  1. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of the virgin Mary, and always obeyed his heavenly Father’s good and perfect rule. He lived the perfect life that we, being sinful, are incapable of living.
  1. In the plan of God, Jesus, as our representative and substitute, was crucified on a Roman cross so we might be saved from the guilt, power, and penalty of sin.
  1. Three days after dying, Jesus was physically raised in victory over sin and death, and has ascended to his Father’s right hand from where he now rules the universe.
  1. The work of Jesus is made effectual in the believer when he or she turns in repentance, from self-rule, towards God’s good and perfect rule, and places his or her faith in Jesus.
  1. However, humankind is incapable of turning in repentance toward God and placing their faith in Jesus, unless the Holy Spirit graciously works in them, and brings them from death to life.
  1. Once God has saved a person from the guilt, power, and penalty of sin, he continues to work in their heart by his Spirit so that they grow to become more like Jesus and thus glorify their Father in heaven. This work is done by God in the believer as they join God’s family, the church, and as they pray, read God’s word, hear it preached, and participate in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
  1. A day is coming, known only to God the Father, when the Lord Jesus will personally return to rid the world of sin and death, and to make all things new.

The Church we want to be

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By God’s sovereign purpose, the local church is the primary means by which the Kingdom of Heaven impacts the kingdoms of the world. Through the church, God is powerfully at work, saving people from the kingdom of darkness and bringing them into His kingdom of light. We, the people of St John’s Presbyterian in Hobart, filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit, are called on by God to identify as His people, continuing the ministry of the risen and ascended Lord Jesus.
In the Sermon in the Mount our Lord describes His disciples as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” By this He means we have been given the dual responsibility of preserving our society from decay and death through our Christ-like lives, and bringing the light of the gospel to those living in the darkness of sin. According to Jesus we are a city on a hill who by our good deeds shall cause others to glorify our Father in heaven.
The seven verbs which follow are an expression of what we believe to be important in the family life of St John’s. They are not meant to read as an exhaustive list of everything God is calling us to. Rather, they are a summary of seven distinctive activities we believe we should embody in our church at this time.
They are not laws, but they do remind us of the kind of church we believe Jesus is calling us to be; the kind of church our lost society needs us to be; and the kind of church we believe Jesus is growing us to become.
PrayingWe will prioritise prayerful dependence on God as He grows His church both here in Hobart and all over the world.

Jesus has promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18), and all over the world He is doing just that (Colossians 1:6). He is the Lord of the Harvest and He calls on us to ask Him in prayer to send His gospel workers into His harvest field (Luke 10:2) so that His church will continue to grow.

The book of Acts, and the history of the church, show us that church growth depends on prayer. We will heed the Apostle Paul (Colossians 4: 2 – 4) and be steadfastly praying that God will open doors for his word.

GatheringWe will gather as God’s family each Sunday in corporate worship to listen to His word, to celebrate our unity in Christ, to participate in the sacraments, to pray, to sing, and to be an encouragement to one another.

Regularly gathering together on Sundays is important for every believer (Hebrews 10:25) because God is not merely saving individuals through the gospel, he is saving “a people” (Titus 2:14). Joyfully attending church on Sunday is crucial for personal growth and is an encouragement to others.

The gospel binds us together, and is the declaration that Jesus is the only One who can save us from sin and death (Acts 4:12) and that He alone has the words of eternal life (John 6: 68). The whole bible is about Jesus (Luke 24:27). Preachers are called to preach the whole counsel of God in a way that can be applied to every part of our lives (Acts 20:27).

Therefore, Christ centred sermons at our Sunday gatherings in which the preacher preaches the whole counsel of God (Acts 4:12) will be able to grow Christians in their faith, and be heard and understood by those who are not yet Christians in a way that can bring them to faith.

In a similar way, the songs we sing will express the truths of the gospel in ways that can be understood and sung by everyone, they will be both old and new in composition, and they will be diverse in musical style.

Times will be set apart for corporate prayer, and opportunities will be given to connect further with one another following the gathering.

ReachingWe will look for creative, respectful, and loving ways to restore our neighbours to God by reaching them with the gospel of Jesus.

Through personal relationships and hospitality, we will seek to reach our non-believing neighbours, family members, work colleagues, acquaintances, and even strangers, with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We will consider ourselves to be missionaries, sent by the Risen Lord Jesus, and empowered by his Holy Spirit, to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28: 16-20).

ConnectingWe will work hard at sharing our lives and being connected with one another as a family of believers.

Jesus radically re-defines the concept of family in a way that makes every Christians His brother or sister, and also our brother or sister (Matthew 12: 46 – 50).

Paul says that Christians have been adopted by God (Ephesians 1:5) and are connected to one another by the Holy Spirit just as the various parts of our body are connected to one another (1 Corinthians 12:12 – 31).

As brothers and sisters in Christ, and members of the one body, we are part of the one family. This means we will rejoice and mourn with one another, we will love one another, and we will cheerfully offer hospitality to one another, regardless of particular friendships (Romans 12:13-15, John 13:35, 1 Peter 4:9).

GrowingWe will do all we can to help every generation of believers grow in Biblical, Christ-like maturity and wisdom.

As members of the same family we are responsible for one another’s growth into Christlikeness. This growth comes from reading, understanding and obeying God’s word (Psalm 92: 12 – 14; Colossians 2: 6 – 7; 1 Peter 2: 2 – 3), and through the example set by mature believers (1 Corinthians 1:11).

The elders in the church are given the responsibility of teaching God’s word, but they are not the only ones with that responsibility – parents will know and teach God’s word to their children (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Proverbs 1: 8-9; 2 Timothy 3: 14-16), mature believers will know and teach God’s word to the less mature (Titus 2: 4 – 8; Psalm 145:4), and all members will know and teach God’s word to one another (Colossians 3: 16).

WelcomingWe will make sure all people, from all backgrounds, nationalities, ages, and beliefs feel welcomed at our Sunday gatherings.

Christ came into the world to save people of all ages from every nation, people group, socio-economic background, tribe, and religion (Revelation 7:9).  The book of Acts describes how the Holy Spirit drove the gospel out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). In Christ we are all one (Galatians 3:28).

The welcome we give to visitors on Sunday, at the front door, and during and after the service, will be the responsibility of the whole church and will reflect the welcome Christ gives to the whole world.

This means we will have a diversity of welcomers at the door each Sunday, the bulletin and welcome booklet will be attractive, clear and informative, we will deliberately use language that is accessible to all (1 Corinthians 14:9), songs will be easily learnt, understood, and explained when necessary, and morning tea and supper will be served after the service to encourage conversation and friendship.

CaringWe will seek out ways to love the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable in the church and in the world.

God cares for the poor, the weak, the refugee, the widow, the orphaned, and the vulnerable (Deuteronomy 10: 17-18, 27:19; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 7: 10-11; Psalm 146:7-9) and he calls on us to care for them (Luke 14: 12-13, 10: 25 – 37). In fact, the gospel is the story of how Jesus cared for us in our spiritual poverty and, emptied himself of his wealth and glory so that, through the gift of his Holy Spirit, we may become spiritually rich (Philippians 2: 6-8; 2 Corinthians 8:9).

The early church was a family in which everyone was cared for and in which the wealthy distributed their wealth to the poor (Acts 2: 42 – 47, 4: 34-35).

With God’s Spirit at work in us we will be a family, with our Deacons leading the way (Acts 6), who are constantly and creatively looking to distribute our wealth and give our time and resources to the poor, the weak and the vulnerable both within our own church family, and in the wider world.

Ministry team

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Alistair Bain  Senior Minister

Alistair was born and raised in Launceston and moved to Hobart in 1991 to study an Arts/Law degree. It was while in Hobart, and while attending St Johns, that he began to understand the gospel of Jesus for what seemed like the first time.

After finishing his degree Alistair returned to Launceston and worked for 7 years as a lawyer, mainly in the areas of family and criminal law. In 2005 he, his wife Rachel and their young daughter, moved to Sydney and completed an M.Div at Sydney Missionary and Bible College.  It was while in Sydney that their 2 sons were born.

He started at the Senior Minister at St John’s in 2011, 20 years after he first moved to Hobart as a student.

Alistair was a founding member of The Gospel Coalition Australia, he is the Presbyterian Chaplain at UTAS, and he is the goalkeeper for an over 35 soccer team.

He relaxes by reading, drinking coffee in Hobart’s many fabulous cafes, cooking the occasional curry, going to the movies with Rachel, gardening, and coaching youth soccer teams.

James Ritchie  Assistant Minister

James grew up in Northern NSW and came to know Jesus in his first year of uni. He is married to Jasmin and they have one precious little daughter, Rosie. Fresh out of bible college, they moved from Brisbane in January 2019. They’ve been enjoying the food, beauty and hospitality of Tasmania ever since.

James works closely with Alistair, prayerfully helping the church reach the people of Hobart with the gospel, and grow as disciples of Christ. In his spare time he loves going to the beach with his family (they’ve invested in some thick wetsuits!), watching cricket, exploring new places and reading kids books with his daughter.