My name is Melissa Lipsett and I am the Chief Operating Officer of Bible Society Australia. I love serving in a mission organisation with the international and domestic reach and history of BSA! I’m excited about the future too, as helping people know the love of Jesus is something I’m passionate about. Before Bible Society I served in the local church for 20 years – a large evangelical church on the Gold Coast so I’m a Queenslander through and through. And before that, I was an officer in the Australian military. It’s been a diverse career/vocational life! I’m married – and have been for an awfully long time – we were very young….and we have two – both wonderful but very different – young adult children. I love spending time with them and like nothing better than to gather family and friends around my table for great food, wine and exciting conversation – we’re a bunch with a kaleidoscope of strongly held life views!
I have so many favourite Bible passages it’s hard to pick one….but I adore the Psalms and if I really have to pick one of those I’d go for Psalm 121. ‘I life my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip. He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep……’ I am totally convinced that I need to constantly lift my eyes to God to have any hope of living the life I believe he wants me to and made me for. And I’m so encouraged and comforted to know that no matter what, he watches over me….in good times and bad, whether I’ve remembered to lift my eyes or not, no matter if I feel his presence, both now and forevermore.
Keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus is a constant challenge – I’m a bit of a control freak and I’m prone to trying to power on in my own strength. I’m forgetful about his goodness and faithfulness too…..so maybe that’s why Psalm 121 is my go to Bible passage…it reminds me. I try to spend a few minutes every day in the scriptures just for my own benefit rather than for message writing or work, and I pray a lot – not in any disciplined way but totally randomly as I go about my day. I really believe in gathering together with sisters and brothers in Christ for worship and fellowship so church is a priority and a part of my normal weekly rhythm and routine – I truly believe it’s good for us as well as being pleasing to God. I love to volunteer in a city based ministry – I do believe that we are ‘blessed to be a blessing’ but it’s really good for my soul too!
I would love the next generation of Christian women to know that they are made in the image of God and equally designed to flourish in their gifts and graces alongside men. Unfortunately, while the church should be at the forefront of issues of gender equality, it deeply saddens me that it’s actually behind. When women’s voices are not heard equally and when they are prevented from using their God given gifts, the church suffers, and everyone is poorer.
I do just love the local church – mine and every other where people who love God and love people gather together, to simply bring the two closer together. I love it when the church is inclusive and nonjudgmental – when it has a genuine ‘come as you are’ approach and where love is more important than doctrine.
In a particularly hard time, I learnt to trust God in the mess and uncertainly. Not to trust that he would deliver the outcome I desired (he didn’t ever make that promise) but that even if he didn’t, he would be with me still and that would be enough. I’m still learning this though……
I’m passionate about encouraging women to be the people God has designed and planned for them to be, particularly when it comes to leadership. I deeply regret not speaking into this space sooner – I was just so busy actually trying to do it myself and I guess I thought that if I lead the way, other women would naturally follow. But sadly, they often don’t and there are so many barriers along the way, I don’t blame them. But it’s too important not to be passionate about it and I am determined that encouraging other women to step up will be part of my legacy.
I don’t rest very well….but I love to sleep, eat, cook, walk and hang out with my family….. and I love girlfriend time doing these things too….oh and I adore to travel!