COVID-19 Response: SMBC is monitoring the coronavirus situation closely and taking advice from the relevant authorities. More info


7 April 2020

A Message from the SMBC Acting Principal

Warm greetings from all of us here at SMBC.

It’s been quite a journey for us over the last couple of months – as I’m sure it has been for you too.  The purpose of writing to you today is to update you on what’s been happening at the College.

It almost feels like we’ve been turned upside down, as we carefully put in place the necessary measures to help stop the spread of this virus. However, despite the challenges and uncertainty, we are acutely aware and thankful that he who watches over us neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps 121).  

Three years after Rev Benson Barnett founded SMBC, the Spanish flu hit Sydney, Australia and the world. There was much prayer about whether to close the College, thereby closing its mission to prepare people for cross-cultural gospel work. It remained open. Fast forward 101 years to COVID-19. Again, there has been much prayer; and with great thanks to God, and the technology he has provided, we are very much open and continuing to prepare people for cross-cultural gospel work.   

Lectures, fellowship groups, prayer groups, chapel (Principal’s Hour) and the weekly mission spots (Ministry Matters) are being delivered in an online Zoom or equivalent format. Most residential students are temporarily living off campus. Nearly all staff are working from home including our registrars, our IT and admin teams. Never in our wildest dreams in January would we have thought campus life would look like this! But praise be to God who has equipped SMBC with a brilliant staff and student body who have responded to the disruption with such grace and patience. 

The academic support of our students’ learning is continuing unabated: while the library is closed, the library staff are providing enhanced online services and the lecturers are in regular contact with their students. 

It’s a unique time in the history of the College, as it is across the world. 

We’d greatly value your prayers. Our monthly Prayer Diary, on the resources section of the website, provides a few short prayer points for each day of the month.

We’re very grateful to you for your support and encouragement. Just last week we received a letter from a supporter with a cheque enclosed. It came from a gentleman, who, missing his beloved wife, commented that ‘if she’d still been with us, she would have had this cheque out earlier, but here it is, better late than never.’ A taste of God's abundant mercy and goodness...delivered with a good dose of wry Aussie humour!

These are anxious and uncertain times for many people. However, our God does not change, and is eternally faithful, good and true. Trusting the Lord is a great comfort in such uncertain and worrying times. (Ps 36:5). The main weekly chapel service, Principal’s Hour, goes on and will continue to be uploaded to the resources section on our website - we hope this will be an encouragement for you.  

Since 1916, students have come to SMBC to go. And they go to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and to bring him glory. The harvest is large, and the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to continue sending workers into his harvest field.

‘For the sake of my holy name’ 
Ezekiel 36:22

United in Christ,

Rev Mark Adams, Acting Principal

25 September 2019

Announcement of the new SMBC Principal

We're delighted to inform you today that the SMBC Board has appointed a new Principal.

After a lengthy recruitment process, attracting outstanding local, interstate and overseas candidates, we can today announce that the new Principal of Sydney Missionary and Bible College will be Derek Brotherson.

Derek will commence on 1 July 2020.

He is a committed man of God who for nearly ten years has been developing theological education in a cross-cultural context in Asia. 

After completing an honours law degree, Derek worked for a number of years with the Australian government in Canberra. He completed his Master of Divinity at SMBC before leaving Australia for gospel ministry in Asia. While teaching in Asia, Derek’s doctoral studies have allowed him to focus on his deep interests in contextualisation, hermeneutics and application, including the application of biblical theology to missiological issues.

Derek is unwavering in his commitment to the central place of the Bible in theological and cross-cultural training and development, and in Christian life and community.

He has proven skills in motivating and enabling people, balanced with strong academic, missiological and pastoral skills to lead SMBC into its second century of service—continuing the work of our founder, Rev Benson Barnett and succeeding principals. He is also an outstanding thinker with sound experience in analysis, strategic thinking, and decision making.

His passion to prepare students from all walks of life for local and world-wide sacrificial gospel and preaching ministries is a great encouragement to the Board.

He has clearly demonstrated the value he places in preparing harvest workers - the next generation of missionaries, pastors, church and lay workers – for service both here in the western post-Christian world, and globally amongst the lost, unreached and unengaged.

Derek and his wife Anna, also an SMBC graduate, have three young children and are very much looking forward to joining and pastoring the team at SMBC.

May we encourage the Christian community to join us in enthusiastic prayer for Derek and Anna as they prepare to serve God in this strategic leadership role? Additionally, we value your ongoing prayers for the work and ministry of SMBC in preparing students to make the love of Christ known throughout the world.

‘For the sake of my holy name’
Ezekiel 36:22

Derek Brotherson - SMBC Incoming Principal

Derek Brotherson Profile

BA/LLB (Hons) (ANU), MDiv (SMBC/ACT), PhD (candidate) (SMBC/ACT)

Prior to SMBC:
Derek studied Arts/Law at the Australian National University and worked as a lawyer for the Australian Government Solicitor in Canberra for a number of years.  He and his wife, Anna, then moved to Sydney to study at SMBC.  After that, they moved to Southeast Asia with OMF, where they served in a variety of settings, including a Bible college, a missionary training school and a women’s refuge.


  • ‘Terang untuk Bangsa-Bangsa: Pelajaran dari Perjanjian Lama untuk Misi Holistik’, Te Deum 2.1 (2012): 215-234
  • ‘Discipling Through Worldview-Changing Bible Study’, Mission Round Table 9.2 (2014): 22-24
  • ‘Does Over-Contextualisation Result in a Distortion of the Gospel?’ Mission Round Table 14.3 (2019): forthcoming

Speaking ministry:

  • OMF mission consultation 2019
  • OMF 150th anniversary celebrations
  • AFES conferences
  • Various churches and conferences in Southeast Asia
  • Mission events and seminars in Southeast Asia and Australia

Academic interests:

  • Contextualisation and syncretism
  • Hermeneutics and application
  • The application of biblical theology to missiological issues

Derek is married to Anna.  Along with their three children, they are looking forward to moving to Sydney in 2020.  As a family they enjoy hiking in the Southeast Asian jungle, swimming in volcanic hot springs, and eating spicy food.  They can’t wait to find out what their new hobbies will be when they move to Australia.

Geoff Dean (SMBC Board Chairman), Derek Brotherson (Incoming SMBC Principal) and Stuart Coulton (Outgoing SMBC Principal)

1 MAY 2019

SMBC Principal Rev. Stuart Coulton—Retirement

Geoff Deane, SMBC Chairman has announced the retirement from SMBC of Rev. Stuart Coulton, Principal, effective January 2020, following over 30 years of service at SMBC with the last eight years as Principal.

In an era of immense change in digital technology and online communities, Stuart as Principal has relentlessly pursued the priorities of gospel proclamation and spiritual formation in SMBC students. Under his leadership, as with his predecessors, Stuart has ensured SMBC maintains its strong reputation for being a Bible-centred, cross-culturally mission-focussed and prayerful College as did the Rev Benson Barnett did from its opening in 1916.  

Under God, Stuart’s contribution to the development of SMBC has had a wide influence. His leadership has seen the commencement of overseas biblical and mission study tours, a flourishing 100 for 100 program, and the new online Master of Intercultural Studies has become a reality. The Bridge (SMBC’s mission-focussed gap year program, for 18 to 21s), commenced, and a new Associates program was initiated.

Students regularly comment on the strength of the diverse community and the teaching they receive at SMBC.   

Stuart said, ‘I love SMBC and it has been such a joy and privilege to serve God in various capacities within the College over all these years. Throughout my time at SMBC, it has been the contact with students and graduates of the College that has brought me great delight, encouraged me to persevere as a disciple of the Lord Jesus, and enriched my life in countless ways.’

Stuart also expressed his immense thanks to the prayer and financial supporters who contribute so essentially to the work and ministry of SMBC.  

When Stuart approached the College Board late last year, advising his intended retirement, The Board expressed their enormous gratitude to him and Pauline for their considerable contribution, wise leadership and service.

Geoff Deane has advised that the Board has already prayerfully commenced the process towards the appointment of a new Principal.

The Board, faculty and staff are strongly committed to a smooth transition of leadership, and, importantly, the ongoing work of the College through its Bible-centred training in an interdenominational and missional community.

 Download Press Release (91KB PDF)

SMBC, PO Box 83
43 Badminton Road, Croydon NSW 2132
T +61 2 9747 4780
Sydney Missionary and Bible College is an affiliated college with the Australian College of Theology
ACT Cricos Code Provider: 02650E
ABN: 11 000 047 950