I launched a 3 minute promotional DVD on my 'Footplate Padre' ministry to a cross-cultural audience during a Country Town Tour to Melbourne, Victoria a few years back (as I have all over Australia).
It was pleasing to see how astonishingly well it was received by all those who watched. Yes, a steam engine pumping video.
I was a locomotive engineman on the New South Wales Government Railways for 10 years during the last vestiges of steam in the late '60s before going into the Christian ministry in 1977. I was invited in 2007 to become the Footplate Padre for the 'On Track' Railway e-magazine.
Since 1984 I have written 16 books on train drivers' anecdotes. Moreover, served the Australian cricket fraternity as their chaplain since 1984, first as the Australian cricket team chaplain, then moving sideways in 2001 to 'Life After Cricket'.
One of our Well-Being Australia’s ministries over many years are Country Town Tours taking elite athletes and coaches in role-model and mentor roles to rural Australia.
This particular Tour began at a cross cultural outreach function at St Judes Anglican Church in Melbourne city.
One might think that university students (young men and women), many of them Asian, would be the most inappropriate audience possible for the inaugural promotional showing of a 3 minute DVD which included steam engines roaring through the Australian countryside.
My wife, Delma Tronson. had some doubts as to how it might go over, but was delightedly taken aback by their engagement. It was a magnificent hit! They delighted watching those huge wheels and rods of steam locomotion at high speed and the nature of the Footplate Padre's ministry.
It illustrated that ministry is not restricted to the confines of the parish walls.
This opened a whole new ministry door to the role of the Footplate Padre. It is one thing to 'talk' about this ministry but a dramatic short DVD initiating such a presentation brings the subject alive and gives it a whole new meaning.
The effect is remarkable.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 25 books, and enjoys writing. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded ‘The Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/dr-mark-t.html