Matt began as the new pastor at Westbury in April, moving from Shepparton Victoria when Tasmania called him back!
From TAS to NSW
I was born in Burnie, and lived there until I was about four and a half. Burnie was a wonderful place to live. I loved living on a hill and seeing the beach every time we went into town. It’s so good that I have many great and funny memories of life in Burnie.
My dad trained for, and began ministry, as a Baptist Pastor in NSW, so I began and completed my primary school life there . This let me experience a wonderful mix of city life and outback living, as life as a pastor’s kid moved us around. I didn’t enjoy the busy city life, but I loved the life in the outback and all the adventures that came with it.
My dad was my inspiration for becoming a Christian. In his early life, my dad had been a chronic alcoholic. He didn’t have much education, and couldn’t really read or write, only enough basics to get through everyday life. He gave his life to Christ after marrying my mum.
During my early years he felt called to ministry and accepted God’s call. I watched my dad grow in faith, and I watched God give him the abilities to study and complete his college work. Seeing God at work in dad, I wanted to know and have this God in my life. One night as dad was heading out for street mission, I decided this was it. I grabbed him by the leg and told him I wouldn’t let go until I had Jesus in my life.
And from VIC to TAS!
My wife Lacey, my son Larry, and I moved to Tasmania in April this year. I had wanted to move back to Tasmania for some time. Lacey and I had a belated honeymoon in Tasmania, and she expressed how good it would be to live here one day. After God heard our hearts and with much discernment, God opened an opportunity to come to Tassie. We moved over to Westbury after being called to pastor Westbury Baptist.
I enjoy how beautiful Tasmania and Westbury are. After living in such a flat part of Victoria, I love the mountains and the nature around us. I am excited to find time to get out and explore it. I also love the people. People here are so friendly and engaging. I am excited to get to know my local community.
The way I spend my time is constantly changing. It is a mixture of preparing for Sunday worship service, engaging with the local community, meetings, coffee meet ups, appointments, and time with family. What I should to say is Loving God, loving family, and Loving others.
Connection and challenge
I am privileged to be the Pastor at Westbury Baptist church. My role is to nurture and grow believers in their faith and to engage with the local community to make Christ known and grow his kingdom. I love connecting with people and discovering people’s journeys. It is such a privilege to be let into other people’s lives, to journey with them, and share Christ with them. What excites me most is seeing God at work in people’s lives and situations, especially people finding Christ for the first time.
There are many challenges in ministry and everyday life. There is time management, making time for church, community engagement, appointments, most importantly God and family. As a newcomer to town, there are challenges as I seek to engage with the community. Finding where and how to connect in the community. Many people have been hurt by churches in the past and this presents challenges on connecting with them now and then there is the constant spiritual battle that goes on daily as I seek to gain ground for God.
Praying for Matt and Lacey
I would really appreciate if you would pray for us. Pray that God will open doors to reach into the community of Westbury and the surrounding area. That God would give discernment on how to manage time to be effective, that my heart and focus is on Jesus and the people he wants me to engage with. And finally, that I would see and overcome the spiritual battles waged against us as we seek to do God’s will.
The best advice I have had is to “give God your availability and he will give you the ability to do what he calls you to do.” It is only through Christ, his strength and empowering that we can step into the calling on our lives and carry out his will.
I am looking forward to … exploring Tassie with my family, including my mother-in-law who I hadn’t met until recently because she lives in Georgia USA!
I am worried about … homelessness and housing shortage and the wider unseen implications. It is very concerning.
I am confident that … we are where God wants us, and God will use us. My aim is to always be seeking God’s will.
I am joyful about … serving God and spending time with my family.
I would like to change ... church from being comfortable inside to going beyond the walls to the people and places that God calls us.
I am at my best when … close to God and functioning in God’s strength.
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