About Tom Shaw

The Shaw Family - Tom, Poppy, Daisy, Josie & Lily

I was born and raised by supportive and loving Christian parents, but in my teenage years, I realised I did not "believe in Jesus". Following a few years of confident atheism, I ended up attending a local church in Canterbury, whilst at University. Although full of cynicism, over those first few months, bit by bit, I found a strange thing starting to occur. Confidence in Christianity and the belief that Jesus was actually alive, started to become a felt reality. Eventually, on the 20th June 1997, whilst at home for the summer break, I knelt on the ground along with my parents and effectively said "God, if you're there then I give you 6 months. I don't feel like a sinner. But I can admit I'm not entirely perfect. So, there you go." Probably the most arrogant 'sinner's prayer' that has ever been uttered. And yet God, in His wonderful kindness, took me at my word.

Since that time, The City Church became my spiritual home. The City Church is part of the family of churches called Newfrontiers (a global movement of around 2,000 churches) and has particular connection with the Relational Mission "family within a family". God was so kind to use me to help establish the University student work amongst the 3 universities in Canterbury and maintaining the profile of student work to the wider Newfrontiers family, partly through leading Mobilise, their student and twenties conference, which at its peak gathered over 1500 delegates. Its aim was to partner with God in seeing a generation emerge in the UK, and across the world, whose passion for Jesus would find expression in the planting of churches all across the world; not just 'another bless me conference' but an urgent rallying cry to 'come and die' so that His Kingdom would advance. 

Soon after becoming an elder in 2003, I then was blessed to receive the second greatest gift (aside from Jesus): my wife Josie! We had been friends through church, and after several years of that foundation, fell in love and were married in 2004. We now have three very loved daughters, Daisy, Lily and Poppy.

I led the eldership team at The City Church for 10 years, and through that time God blessed the church community with much fruitfulness. Over the past few years, a single community in one hall has become a two-sited church, as well as having seen a significant number of church plants begun through the sending of many previous members to locals such as, Lille, Helsinki and Colchester.

In 2017 I joined the staff at Radiant Church, Visalia CA. My role involved preaching and leadership development, while I continued to serve more widely, beyond the local church with other plants and leaders. After two amazing years in Visalia, God called me to San Francisco where I am planting Sanctuary Church through the continued partnership of Radiant Church and the Confluence family of churches.

Alongside a deep passion to see 'word and spirit' churches started and strengthened all over the world, I am almost as passionate about curry: by far my favourite meal, there are few things I like more. Yes, my other passions include squash (the game that is, not the drink), good coffee, single malt whisky, walks on rainy days in wax jacket, sleep, jazz and Alan Partridge, but none come close to the joy of a good lamb danksak.

I remain genuinely amazed at how much God has been able to do through someone as selfish, cowardly, and limited in gift as I am. But as a result, my confidence in God's ability to use anyone to do anything, propels me onwards.