Meet Damon Buck, Hillsong College Graduate and Now pioneering Hillsong Israel
Born in South Africa, raised across the globe, studied in America, and graduated from Hillsong College Sydney – you might imagine that moving to another country would be easy for someone like Damon. But we all know that being obedient to the call of God on your life requires sacrifice and moments of discomfort. Damon is an integral part of Hillsong Israel today and is using his breadth of experience to build the Kingdom.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Damon and I’m originally South African, but more what you would call a third culture kid – having lived in 5 other countries since. I’m currently living in Tel Aviv, Israel. I have an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts/ Graphic Design and also spent three of the best years of my life studying Pastoral Leadership at Hillsong College. I’m passionate about people and bringing lasting solution to some of the brokenness in the world. I’m a firm believer in the Church as the answer and get pretty excited about seeing the church extend beyond the four walls of a weekly service in creative and innovative ways.
Tell us about your time at Hillsong College
I graduated from college in July, 2018 and honestly consider these three years to be the most life transforming for me. Being in and out of the church my whole life and not always convinced of it, my time at college gave me new revelation on the power and effectiveness of a flourishing church. I was so impacted by such a strong sense of community at Hillsong Church and College, making some of my best friends and mentors for life. I learned a great deal practically speaking but more so found this time to be formative of my character and foundations in Christ.
What’s something that you’ve learnt in College that is still helping you today?
“It’s not about me.” That’s a pretty classic college term but it’s honestly something that’s helped me the most here. I often have days where I wonder what on earth I’m doing and feel like changing course, but to remember I’m a part of something bigger and get to play a part in seeing people impacted in this city does wonders in helping me keep perspective and stay passionate. Also, learning to develop the disciplines of a strong devotional life – this is pretty much a lifeline for me here.
What are you doing now at Hillsong Israel?
Hillsong Israel is, in a lot of ways, still in the exciting church plant phase, which means most of our incredible team are wearing multiple hats. For myself, I help fill whatever gaps needed with the ultimate goal of building a strong community where people feel known, valued and belong, growing in their love for God and each other. Some of this includes coordinating our creative team, looking after comms, running connect groups, helping build teams, leaders and structure, pastoral care, some event organising and coordinating, running various parts of a service and recently growing in a bit of preaching/teaching too.
What has your experience been like being involved in ministry on the ground in Israel?
Ministry on the ground in Israel has been exciting and challenging. It’s pretty cool to be a part of building the church where it all began, which also means there is a great knowledge and understanding of biblical history and the church amongst the general population – but not always a favourable one. This invites a lot more of a practical approach than an overly strategic or theological one. So far, I’ve found building church effectively here requires patience and consistency at the main thing – simply loving people.
Is there anything else you’d like to share that you believe would encourage someone?
Prioritising the main thing keeps things simple and effective. I remember sitting in an apologetics class in third year learning various academic and scientific ways of proving God, which opened my mind up to a whole lot more of God’s magnitude. But I was more impacted by some of these crazy intellectuals who expressed the single most important approach to their work, being their simple personal devotion to God. I loved that. I truly believe there is so much more to gain, experience, enjoy and give in life when we prioritise our relationship with Him as the foundation we build everything on.