Ron on the Road

Ron On The Road: Australia

We took the long trip to Australia to celebrate our partnership with City on Hill.


Guy and Vanessa Mason planted City on a Hill Melbourne ten years ago. In that period of time they have grown to a network of five churches. Spanish River Church has partnered on two of these plants with hopes of continuing the planting partnership to start many other churches throughout Australia.

Our first stop in Australia was to Brisbane. We were visiting with Dave and Rowena Meirs.

They are celebrating their first year planting City on a Hill Brisbane. This church has already experienced amazing growth, their attendance is at 150 for their Sunday morning worship service. They also have eight gospel communities meeting weekly.

City on a Hill Brisbane is blessed to have some amazing lay leaders in their church. We had the privilege to meet with many of them during our time in Brisbane. On our first night in the city we attended a  meeting called “Introducing Jesus”. This is a gathering for church members to bring their unsaved friends to hear a short message and to ask questions. The meeting was held in a Italian restaurant close to downtown Brisbane, and there were about 30 people in attendance. The next day we visited a gospel community (small group) in downtown Brisbane. Dave’s vision is to start as many of these groups as he is able to raise up leaders.

Our next stop in Australia was in Melbourne.

Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia, but quickly catching up to Sydney. City on a Hill Melbourne is trying to keep pace by planting several churches in the Melbourne area. We arrived on a Saturday morning and went directly to a local park, where the church was celebrating with a family picnic. It was very encouraging to see all the young families and more seasoned members as well.


The celebration service on Sunday was held at the historic Melbourne Town Hall. The Hall was built in 1870 and is located downtown Melbourne. The service opened with several testimonies and the opportunity to celebrate what God has done in the the lives of hundreds of people in the church. Guy Mason preached a powerful message that not only celebrated the last ten years, but gave a great vision for the future of City on a Hill. The service ended with about 25 people getting baptized, including one young lady whose story you can read here.


The rest of the time in Melbourne was spent meeting with the lead pastors of all the congregations, and visiting the location of the newest church plant in East Melbourne.

We are excited to see all that God is doing through City on a Hill. It’s a great privilege to partner with them in their church planting ministry. To learn more about City on a Hill, watch a video of the celebration service here.

Ron On The Road: Lucknow, India

Throughout the year, Ron Tobias travels to meet church planters all over the globe. These trips include opportunities to see how God is working through the churches and to make connections for future partnerships. In March 2017, Ron went to Lucknow, India with John Slavic, Hannah Mezzell and David Slavic.

Lucknow, India Update


Lucknow is located in Utter Pradesh state of India. It is only 1% Christian. The major religion is Hindu, but there are also a large number of Muslims. There are no large Christian churches in this area.

We arrived in Lucknow the morning of March 10th. After a quick nap to recover from the 22 hour flight, we met with 16 Pastors and trainees of the Good News Presbytery. They shared updates from both the churches and the training they are receiving. There are currently two active and thriving churches in this presbytery. Both of them are over 80 in attendance for their Sunday morning worship. Their pastors are training other interns for future church plants in the area. The churches also have a large small group ministry. One of the churches has over 250 people attending their small groups or cell groups has they call them. Transportation is difficult in Lucknow and so the cell groups are the only effective way of reaching many of the members.


On the following day we held a seminar on Reformed theology. All 16 pastors and trainees attended this seminar. It was a long but a productive day for these men. It was the first time some of them had been exposed to Calvinism, so there were lots of questions.

Sunday morning we attended services at both churches. We were able to share with the aid of an interpreter. It was amazing to be able to worship with our brothers and sisters in this beautiful country. Khen Tombing from Manipur state also joined us on Sunday. Khen is the director of the Presbyterian Church in India.


On Monday, we once again spent most of the day at the training center. John Slavic and I trained them in the Gospel Boot Camp. The pastors were eager to learn this material.

Tuesday morning before we left, we spent time discussing the struggles of planting in this region of India. While we were here the people of India elected a new government that is considered to be radical Hindus. This new government will be hostile to the spreading of the Gospel. This will present new challenges in the planting of churches.

The rest of Tuesday and Wednesday were travel days as we made our way to Manipur State. This state is in the northeast of India.

Ron on the Road: Dublin, Ireland

I have spent the last two days in Dublin Ireland, and am impressed with this city's history and beauty. Ireland is know as the "land of saints and scholars" and yet evangelicals make up less than one percent of the population. Dublin is a city with a deep connection to Catholicism, and yet because of the scandals in recent years, and the growing liberalism very few people attend church.I was able to meet with two pastors of two new church plants who are trying to bring the Gospel into this city. Steve Vaughn (pictured here) leads Christ City Church in the Temple bar area of Dublin. They launched this church nine months ago and meet in a film studio on Sunday mornings. Steve is a bi-vocational pastor, he works at a multi-national tech firm as well as leads Christ City Church. The attenders of Christ City Church range in age of 18-25 years old, they are students and young professionals who live in the city of Dublin. Please keep Steve and his family in your prayers as the faithfully serve in this city.

Kieron Lynch
Kieron Lynch

I also met with Kieron Lynch,  Kieron and Mark Smith are planting City Church Dublin. You can learn more about them and their church on this video

It has been both encouraging and exciting to see what God is doing through these church planters. They both shared many stories of people coming to faith, and lives being changed. 

They are also excited to see if their churches can be a catalyst for the beginnings a new church planting movement here in Dublin. 

Ron on the Road - London, England

Ron is on the road again, this time his travels have taken him to the United Kingdom. Here's an update from "Ron on the road""This past weekend I was able to participate in the 25th anniversary of Dundonald Church in London England. This church is the home church for the Co-Mission church planting network. Spanish River partners with this church and network to plant churches in the London area.The senior pastor of the Dundonald Church is Richard Coekin, it is through his leadership and vision that they have been able to plant over 16 churches in London. They also have partnered to plant churches in South Africa and Belarus.On Saturday evening we attended a special dinner to celebrate what God has done, and is doing through the efforts of the Co-Mission network.

On Sunday morning we visited Hope Community Church in Sutton. This church is one of the churches that SRC supports financially. Mark Fossey leads this church and is pictured here along with his family.

On Sunday afternoon we met with Jay Mariner, who is planting a church in the Brixton community of London. Brixton is very diverse community that is dominated by an afro-carribean community. Jay's comes from an interesting background where he became a christian while serving time in prison.He and his wife have six children and plan on launching this new church in September of this year.

Please pray for Richard, Mark and Jay and their families has they serve in London"

Ron On The Road: A Baptism in India

On a recent trip to India, I had the privilege to experience a picture of the Church when it is being a true community. It was near the end of a rather long journey, which took me to England, Scotland and India. It was a 20,500-mile trip that included visits to 11 different airports. On my last Sunday in India, I had the opportunity to preach at a church in which most of the congregation were Hindu converts. The service was held at 1:00pm on a warm day in a very small room. Needless to say it was extremely uncomfortable in the building. After the service the Pastor of the church asked if I would be willing to baptize a new believer in their Church. I agreed without much thought to what that actually meant. The thought of being involved in this young mans baptism was exciting until I realized that Hindu converts would only be baptized by full immersion. I have traveled enough in India to know that the rivers are not exactly the cleanest in the world. We agreed that we would meet the next afternoon, and find a river that be sufficient for this baptism.

That Monday I taught a pastor’s conference in which 415 pastors and leaders of various churches in the area attended. It was an exciting yet exhausting day. After the training, I met the young man and his pastor by the local river. The river was brown, smelly and fortunately way to shallow for a baptism. The pastor suggested we meet early the next morning, and travel up to the mountains where he knew of a stream that would be perfect for a baptism. So, the next morning we drove some 4-wheel drive vehicles up the mountain to search for the river. After getting stuck in the mud a few times, we finally started hiking up the mountain. It was at this time that I started feeling how much effort we were going through to baptize just one man. I was scheduled to leave in few hours and started feeling the pressure of time. I was also concerned that I may not have time to shower and change clothes before boarding a 20 plus hour flight back to the states. As all of these selfish thoughts came to me, I forgot what was really important. When we finally reached a section of the river that was deep enough for a baptism, I was exhausted from climbing the mountain.


The new believer was a young man from Nepal, he was engaged to be married in only a few days. When I asked him his testimony, he spoke very clearly about his faith in Christ. As I was bringing him up out of the river, I heard this loud alleluia coming from the banks of the river. I looked up to see about 25 people that had climbed that mountain to be a part of this young man’s baptism. All those people had been walking up this mountain with us, but I never noticed them. I was too consumed with my own discomfort to notice what God was doing that day. This was a picture of the Church being the Church. These 25 people spent a good part of their day hiking up this mountain to be there with their friend. But, even more important is the fact that they walked back down the mountain with this new believer. They walked back into his life to love and care for him and his new family. This was a great picture of the Church, and something that I needed to see that day.