By Stephen Cauchi
2 January 2022
AN ARCHITECTURE firm collapse is a bad sign on several levels. But if it hadn’t been for this, Benjamin Clements may never have found his calling in ministry.
Now he is set to be ordained a deacon in February.
A lifelong Christian, Mr Clements was feeling weary in his work. He felt like he was giving God his second best at the end of every working week, and wanted to give him more.
The overnight collapse of his employer helped to spark action.
He was left wondering what he had done wrong. But God proved faithful at his time of need. Around the same time as this, the campus director of RMIT Christian Union invited him to try a ministry apprenticeship.
“Looking back on it I can really see [events] were in God’s hand. God provided just the right opportunities – well-timed text messages and phone calls from people,” Mr Clements said.
“In faith I took those little steps even though I couldn’t see the whole staircase.
“Little by little God was providing for me on this journey of exploring towards working for gospel work in a full-time capacity.”
That journey will reach a major milestone on 5 February when Mr Clements will ordained as deacon at St Paul’s Cathedral, among about 15 others.
It’s full circle from his start at Christian Union, when he was very unsure whether a career in ministry was for him.
His two-year stint answered that question.
“I came on board at RMIT Christian Union with a mindset towards discernment,” he said.
At the end of his time, Mr Clements’ supervisor and he were both sure God was leading him towards ministry. The success of his mentoring and discipling was a clear pointer to what he wanted to do.
“It was a wonderful couple of years,” Mr Clements said.
“There were all sorts of challenges along the way but the biggest encouragement for me was seeing the growth, the Christian growth, in other people who I’d been influential with.”
Mr Clements came to faith growing up in a Christian family, never knowing a time when he didn’t trust Jesus.
But was also a bit of a perfectionist. Everything in his life was about connecting his sense of value and worth with how well he could do something. If he didn’t do as well as he would have liked, his sense of worth was dashed.
Mr Clements approached his relationship with God in the same way. He said he felt like he needed to keep on proving himself in order to feel loved and valued by God.
His moment of transformation came when he grasped the meaning of the gospel.
“I learnt that the gospel was actually God coming to us and that Jesus was the perfect person – that I didn’t have to prove myself to God,” he said.
“I needed to trust in what God says about my worth and value.”
Born in Tasmania, Mr Clements came to Melbourne when he was three. His family started attending what was St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church in Ferntree Gully where he met wife Emily. They now have three daughters.
After working at RMIT Christian Union, Mr Clements decided to concentrate his ministry career on the local church. A friend invited him to join the year of discernment within the Anglican Church, and after that he enrolled in a Master of Divinity and Graduate Certificate of Divinity at Ridley College.
He finished up at Ridley in early December. While studying he completed three student placements: at St Mark’s Forest Hill, in the parish of Gisborne, and at Epiphany Anglican Church at Hoppers Crossing
His previous work as an architect has also made him a valuable asset to church property committees.
“God’s been able to use my knowledge of building things and of design to actively be an assistant on different (church) building projects,” he said.
He has found architecture’s “problem-solving analytical mindset” also a helpful complement to the people-focused work of ministry.
After being ordained, Mr Clements will work at Deep Creek Anglican church in Doncaster East.