A man, his dogs, and a lifetime of service in youth ministry


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Sam Thomson is an enigma. A curiosity. A rarity. A gem. Since the mid 1970s, Sam has held the role of Youth Pastor at Blackwood Hills Baptist. While this means that at his next birthday he will enter the league of septuagenarians, he remains the eternal 15-year-old.

I think one of the secrets to Sam’s success and longevity in ministry is simplicity. He knows who he is in Christ, and has many interests, passions, gifts, and talents. Then he invites young people in to explore those interests with him. Simple.

A big part of this is Sam’s love of dogs, and the bush. He thrives on helping farmers to catch feral animals which are destroying the land. So, he takes young people with him to do that exact thing. 

In a sanitised world of phones, social media, and meat that is already sliced and diced, there is a steady stream of young people who can’t wait to join him to run through the bush with the dogs and hunt feral animals. And over the campfire afterwards, he tells them about Jesus. Simple.

Of course, this is not everyone’s cup of tea. But when Paul says to the Corinthians ‘whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’, he means it. And that is the example that Sam brings. Aside from consistently turning up to do Youth Group on a Friday night for over 40 years, he has loved young people and included them into his life.

When I first came to faith in 1986, Sam was my Youth Pastor. In 1992 we became colleagues.  Since 1998 I have been his boss. He remains my hero in the faith and a role model for us all.

Brandon Chaplin
Senior Pastor
Blackwood Hills Baptist

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