Meet Pastor Jonathan Tyson'15
Jonathan Tyson never thought that there would ever be a pathway for him to receive a theological education. Upon moving to the United States 18 ½ years ago to pursue such an education, it began to seem as though that were a reality. Jonathan dropped out of five educational institutions in pursuit of that goal. The words of the man who continuously discipled Jonathan, before embarking for the States, carried special weight with him: “There are a lot of people who go to college; there are a lot of people who go to seminary… [but] having a piece of paper doesn’t mean God can use you. It’s important, but it’s not required.” Those words combined with the track record of the institutions Jonathan attended allowed for the ever-important meeting between Mr. Tyson and Tommy Kiedis, senior pastor at Spanish River Church. Tommy’s simple answer to Jonathan started it all. It was at that point that Jonathan realized how beneficial a degree in Church Planting could be for him, considering the fact that he was planting churches in New York City.
Jonathan had grown up in Australia, and when he was 16 years old he dropped out of high school to work in a meat factory in one of the worst neighborhoods in Australia. He accepted Christ at 17 years old and fell in love with the Word of God and decided at the age of 20 to do something about that. When he began to attend Lancaster Bible College’s Church Planting program, his mentor’s words echoed again: “If you do one thing right while you’re getting your educational degree, walk with God. Walk with God. Your walk with God shouldn’t cost you that degree. That degree should help with your walk with God.”
It is witin the heart of New York City that a movement has been established – Trinity Grace Church is a new idea in the world of church planting. They reside in the thick of the Big Apple and operate with a “city parish” model which involves different locations throughout the city that operate as smaller, more “outreach-minded” locations of a larger, city-wide, unified church body. Since the city is divided up by neighborhood, and it is that very division which allows easy navigation throughout, it only makes sense for them to create a system of church plants that mirrors the existing pattern of living in the city today.
Jonathan has five hopes for Trinity Grace Church and its parish churches within: (1) to serve Jesus faithfully, (2) to be a blessing to their neighbors, (3) to love one another well, (4) to become a counterculture for the common good, and (5) to illustrate what a community looks like when Jesus is Lord over that community. The aforementioned community is quite a body at that, with 11 parishes throughout New York City stretching from Park Slope and Tribeca all the way north to their Westside parish. Trinity Grace is creating a tremendous community and atmosphere for Christ with the help of Jonathan Tyson in one of his many roles as lead pastor of the Midtown parish.
From working in a meat factory in the extreme rough of Australia to helping a New York City church plant throughout the city for God’s Glory, Jonathan Tyson is an amazing example of the usefulness that is found in us by God and a testament to the blessings which LBC has received and continues to use to educate Christian students to think and live a biblical worldview and to proclaim Christ by serving Him in the Church and society.