Ministers in the Marketplace – Andrew Stoner
My wife Cathy and I are part of Paul and Katrina Humble’s fantastic church, C3 Church Port Macquarie.
We were saved over 20 years ago when I was in a management position in the Federal Government.
We had moved around Queensland with my job, and then around 16 years ago we felt led to take a transfer to Port Macquarie where Cathy’s parents had a holiday property.
It was definitely a God-lead move as we settled quickly into a new church, in which Cathy contributed via the music team and I became a children’s church leader. We were blessed with 3 more beautiful children to join the 3 we had in Queensland.
Life was great, and then God moved again. I was lead to accept a voluntary redundancy from my job and to become involved in local politics. When the opportunity to stand for pre-selection due to the retirement of the sitting MP arose, I actually wrestled with it as I thought I wasn’t up for the challenges such a role would bring.
In the end God won the wrestle and I stood for pre-selection for The Nationals, for the seat of Port Macquarie – and lost!
But God knew what he was doing – around 12 months later the neighbouring seat of Oxley became vacant and equipped with more wisdom and experience, I again stood for pre-selection, won and then won the actual election, becoming a State MP in 1999.
I found out God was right again: I was up for the challenges of the job, becoming a Shadow Minister in 2002, Leader of The NSW Nationals in 2003, and Deputy Premier of NSW and Minister for Trade & Investment and Minister for Regional Infrastructure & Services, in March this year.
God had a plan all along – my ministry is in political life, ranging from helping the constituents in my electorate with the problems of day to day life, to helping the people of this great State with policies and decisions which I hope are based on Godly wisdom.
It is a challenging role which impacts on family life, but we try and lean on God’s and each other’s strength. We also work at communicating daily through phone calls, texting, Skype, whatever.
It’s easy in my workplace to be dragged down to the level of some of the politicians who play the man and not the ball, and to forget about your ministry in the incredible busy-ness of it all, but I try and remember, ‘to whom much is given, much is required’. A weekly Parliamentary prayer fellowship with other Christian MPs is also a big help.
I am blessed to be in a position where I have the opportunity to influence the lives of 7 million people and thank God for the amazing journey on which he has taken us.
The Hon. Andrew Stoner MP
Minister for Trade and Investment
Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services
Member for Oxley