About Compass

Compass Foundation is a division of Christian Schools Australia, focussing on serving students across the broader Christian schools sector.

Compass hosts places of intensive formation where God’s vision for life is explored. The mantra of Compass is simple, but profoundly important in the work of formation: 

Know the Gospel;  Know Culture;  Translate

More than teaching Christian worldview, Compass seeks to create environments that encourage a maturing embodiment of the gospel of the Kingdom. Environments where we might ‘be transformed by the renewing of our minds’. This renewing demands that we interrogate the stories which are at work in our prevailing culture and also in our hearts. These heart-stories come to us in the form of culture, relationships and experience, and while not always explicit, it is in these stories that we find identity, purpose, passion, reason, love and desire.

Compass believes the Bible is this kind of story. It is a story that engages the deepest questions of life: 

  • Who am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • What am I supposed to do?
  • How am I to live?

Our Team

Compass is led by Mark Ryan, who has a background in both education and theology, and has worked with Christian schools for more than 20 years. 

Mark Ryan

Mark Ryan
Executive Officer, Christian Schools Australia

Mark has a background in both education and theology and has a passion for exploring the intersection of faith and culture. After beginning his career as a PE teacher, he went on to study theology and ministry at Morling College in Sydney and has since completed a Master of Educational Leadership. Mark lives in Adelaide with his wife and three children, loves all things sport, and cycling through the beautiful Adelaide hills. Mark has worked as a pastor, teacher, and Assistant Principal, and is currently an Executive Officer for Christian Schools Australia. At a national level, he is invested in the formation of students and staff in CSA schools. Mark has been involved with the work of Compass for the last 15 years, and he loves to see student leaders gather each year, explore the Biblical story, and be inspired to lead according to the pattern of Jesus – living as God’s image for the sake of others and for the whole of God’s creation.


Mark is supported by a passionate and experienced teaching faculty that generously give up their time to contribute to Compass conferences. Our teaching faculty includes: 

Teaching Faculty

Dr Graham Stanton
Lecturer, Ridley College

Graham is a Lecturer in Practical Theology at Ridley College, Melbourne, and the Director of the Ridley Centre for Children’s and Youth Ministry. His latest research is exploring how young Australians experience and understand God and the stories of how those beliefs have been formed. Graham lives in Melbourne with his wife and three young adult children. Graham enjoys long distance running in order to compensate for his hobby of enjoying cooking good food or eating good food that other people have cooked. Apart from Jesus, his personal heroes include Bruce Springsteen and Leslie Knope.

Sophie Gerrie
Lecturer, Tabor College

Sophie is the Head of Undergraduate Studies for the Faculty of Ministry Practice at Tabor, lecturing in Biblical Studies and Practical Theology. Sophie has previously completed a Bachelor of Social Science with a focus on youth work, as well as a Master of Divinity. She has been working in the church and Christian NGO space for the last ten years in the areas of children, youth, young adults, justice, and pastoral ministry. Sophie loves learning new ideas and skills, reading non-fiction, listening to podcasts, collecting indoor plants, and drinking coffee. Sophie is passionate about the interplay between what we learn about who Jesus is through the Word and the way it shapes how we live. Her particular interests are in the biblical ideas of kingdom, justice and shalom. She is currently studying both Greek and Hebrew, with the view of starting doctoral studies very soon!

Jeff Nagle
Director, Heritage Leaders; Coast Community Church

Jeff heads up leader-formation consultancy, Heritage Leaders and is also campus pastor at Coast Community Church on the NSW Central Coast. Prior to this, Jeff served as CEO of the Compass Foundation from 2017- 2019 and was co-founder of ethical supply-chain analytics firm, FairSupply. Jeff has worked for nearly two decades in the international development sector, serving as COO with Compassion Australia, CEO of International Justice Mission Australia and currently serves as Chairman of MAF Australia. Jeff’s area of interest is the formation of leaders and teams in difficult contexts. Jeff has qualifications in visual arts and media, education and business, and holds a Masters Degree in Global Leadership through Fuller Seminary. Jeff lives on the NSW Central Coast with wife, Shelley, and two teenage children. He still thinks he’s a surfer.

Travis Johnson
Founder, Access the Story

Trav is a husband to Pixi, and a Dad to four great boys – he likes green curry, a good game of football, and listening to David Bowie. He is passionate about seeing people experience God and become life-long followers of Jesus. Since 2008 he has had a particular focus on facilitating opportunities for people to discover God for themselves through the Bible story. After 12 years as a pastor in WA, Qld, and SA, then 5 as a missionary with Youth Ministries Australia, Trav founded the organisation AccessTheStory in 2014 as an initiative to see story-formed discipleship spread throughout Australia and beyond. Since then, AccessTheStory has enjoyed providing group story experiences and equipping for leaders across four states in Australia, and has begun supporting some mission activity in the Philippines. Trav leads AccessTheStory from a small chapel under the shadow of the bank of Happy Valley Reservoir.

Matt Stackhouse
Heritage Leaders; St. Phillips Christian College

Originating from Canada, Matt moved to Australia and then the US and then back and forth a bunch of times growing up, which explains his weird accent. He loves teenagers most of the time, which has helped him teach year 7-12 for 20 years. He's married to Natalie, who has been lovingly patient with him for nearly 25 years (hard to believe he’s that old!), they have three spirited girls who keep them on their toes. He’s worked as a Chaplain, helping young people explore and deepen their faith and had some pretty incredible experiences leading teams of students to Manila, Darwin and Nepal as a Missions Coordinator. Matt has degrees in Business and Theology and a Master’s in Education…but he doesn’t have a PHD like Graham and he probably won’t ever get one. Currently, he directs an entrepreneurship program that trains, equips and develops student entrepreneurs. He also sometimes gets to do some coaching and consulting with Jeff at Heritage Leaders, he absolutely loves that. As much as possible, he tries to get in the ocean, have meaningful conversations with friends, be with his family and help people gain a deeper understanding of their identity, purpose and vocation.

Compass Student Leaders' Conference

Inspiration for Yr 12 students to think deeply about the big questions of life

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Compass exists to assist in the formation of student leaders. Please get in touch if we can assist you in this important work

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Know the Gospel, Know Culture; Translate

Student Leaders' Conference