Rev Tim Costello AO
Previous Chief Executive of World Vision Australia
Reverend Tim Costello AO is one of Australia’s most respected community leaders, renowned for ensuring the challenges of global poverty are firmly and consistently on the national agenda.
The director of Ethical Voice, and Executive Director of Micah Australia, Tim was Chief Executive of World Vision Australia (WVA) for 13 years until October 2016, after which he became WVA’s Chief Advocate for two years. Other positions Tim holds are Senior Advisor for the Centre for Public Christianity, Chair of the Community Council of Australia; Chief Advocate of the Thriving Communities Partnership. Tim is a spokesperson for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, which advocates for law reform to prevent harm from poker machine gambling.
Tim Costello is a sought after voice on social justice issues, leadership and ethics. Every year he addresses tens of thousands of people from the public and private sector, and the wider community.
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Tim first studied law and education at Monash University, before studying theology at the International Baptist Seminary Rueschlikon, Switzerland, and undertaking a Masters in Theology at the Melbourne College of Divinity.
After ordination as a Baptist Minister in 1984, Tim established a vibrant and socially active ministry at St Kilda Baptist Church between 1986 and 1994. In 1993 he demonstrated his commitment to serving the community by successfully running for Mayor of St Kilda, a position he held until the State Government disbanded councils shortly afterwards.
From 1995 to 2004 he was Minister at Collins Street Baptist Church and Executive Director of Urban Seed, a not-for-profit Christian outreach service that he founded for the urban poor. Between 1999 and 2002 Tim was also the National President of the Baptist Union of Australia.
As CEO of World Vision Australia from 2003 –2016, Tim led an organisation of about 560 staff, with an annual income of about $350 million, and 400,000 children overseas sponsored by Australians. In this role, Tim witnessed the worst of humanitarian disasters and saw the most inspiring human responses to suffering. After the Asian Tsunami of Boxing Day 2004, Tim travelled immediately to the disaster area, and his presence and media profile added significant weight to the World Vision appeal, which ultimately raised more than 100 million dollars. At the conclusion of his appointment as CEO, he was appointed WVA’s Chief Advocate for two years.
In 1997 Tim Costello was named as one of Australia’s 100 National Living Treasures. In July 2004, he was named 2004 Victorian of the Year in recognition of his years of public and community service. In June 2005 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for “service to the community through contributions to social justice, health and welfare issues, international development assistance, and to the Baptist Church”. In November of the same year, Tim was awarded the Victorian Division winner of the Australian of the Year. In 2006 Tim was named Victoria’s Australian of the Year.
From 2022 Tim Costello has been Chair of Monash University’s Peninsula Campus Community Advisory Council (PCCAC).
Tim Costello has written several books including: A Lot with a Little (2019), Faith (2016), Hope (2012), Another Way to Love (co-edited with Rod Yule); Streets of Hope: Finding God in St Kilda; Tips from a Travelling Soul Searcher; and Wanna Bet? Winners and Losers in Gambling’s Luck Myth (co-written with Royce Millar).
Tim Costello and his wife Merridie, have three adult children, Claire, Elliot and Martin.