Ministry Profile: Matty Coppin
The Trip from Plumber to Pastor
Mending broken drains in Melbourne, morphed into mending broken hearts in Alberta. Then the plot thickened as Matty Coppin responded to a call from Burnie Baptist!
But what was an Aussie plumber doing in the wilds of Canada? And how did he end up in Burnie? Read on to find out . . .
Early days and family
I was born in Nambour up on the Sunshine coast, the youngest of four children. We moved to the eastern suburbs of Melbourne when I was three.
I spent my younger years in Box Hill and enjoyed my community. We had a great neighbourhood, and most of my mates were just a walk or bike ride away. We spent a lot of time riding our bikes, playing cricket, and kicking the footy. I loved my AFL footy, and played for both the Surrey Hills Demons, and the Blackburn Panthers.
My oldest brother’s birth father was a drummer for 70’s rock band Hush. The next brother plays drums for the band Antiskeptic. My sister married a scientist. And I am married to Ashley, who was born and raised in Canada. We were married 15 years ago. We have two daughters, Anneliese, 13 and Alyssa, 11. Ashley is trained in Clinical Chaplaincy and is looking forward to exploring opportunities in Tassy.
The restless years
Our family was quite involved in our local church and so I was raised in a Christian environment. But there were some challenges and we ended up moving from my childhood church to another church. That was about the time I started thinking this wasn’t for me.
I spent my teen years not considering God at all. I left school at age 16 and started my plumbing apprenticeship. Toward the end of my apprenticeship, I found myself struggling with meaning and purpose but didn’t know where to turn.
At the age of 20, I completed my apprenticeship, and then invited on a trip to Uluru through a friend of a friend, with a Christian youth and community organisation called Fusion Australia. I thought it was a party bus for adults, and brought a few drinks with me. I was busted drinking on the first night and given an opportunity to step up and make different choices.
Little did I know how much impact that trip would have on my life. It was a truly formative experience. It was confronting. At that time I realised my deeply formed prejudices, and my lack of direction. It was during those months after the trip that I began to press into a relationship with God and He began to set my paths straight.
Moving to Tas – twice!
After that significant trip to Uluru, I felt something in my heart pushing me toward applying to do Fusion’s Certificate IV in Youth and Community, a work course based in Poatina. So, in 2005 I came to Tasmania for the first time, to do a six-month stint. It was there in Poatina that I met Ashley. After marrying in 2008 we moved to Canada.
Living in Canada was a rich and wonderful experience, and it showed me that God is at work on a global scale. My journey via Canada has prepared me for such a time as this.
I love the Australian landscape. I didn’t realise how much the land had formed me until I was living in a foreign place. Tasmania has a beautiful diversity in the landscape which I love and appreciate. I think this is a great place for our Canadian-formed kids to experience Australian living.
This more recent move to Tasmania was the culmination of a discernment journey Ashley and I were on for a number of years. After living in Canada for 15 years, we knew there was a transition coming, and that a move back to Australia was in the mix. It was a big surprise to be asked about the role in Burnie. However we took it seriously, and recognised it was the right move for us.
So I am currently serving full time as the Pastor in Burnie Baptist, and am hopeful to support discipleship initiatives within the denomination. I also love supporting my friends around the world to make a difference in their communities. As well, I love seeing others step into their calling. I love what happens when people make Jesus their King, and I love working in collaboration with others, especially those outside the Church.
Challenges and loves
Creating margin in my work can be a challenge as I straddle the various dimensions of my vocational calling in the Kingdom, which crosses the borders between them. I also feel there are challenges in helping name, and take steps toward, becoming a “community of hope” in this current cultural landscape.
The beach, walking in the bush, watching my Richmond Tigers play and exploring new places with my family are all things I love. I also enjoy music and playing drums, albeit not very well!
I would appreciate prayer for my family as we continue to make the transition into Burnie. Also, please pray for Ashley as she embarks on the journey toward her Permanent Residency application. The best piece of advice I have ever received is that things in the kingdom start with a seed.
Short ‘n’ Sweet
I am looking forward to . . . exploring Tasmania and seeing God at work in Burnie.
I am worried about . . . my family finding their place here.
I am confident that . . . God is already at work in Burnie.
I am joyful about . . . seeing my kids making new mates.
I would like to change . . . my terrible hairstyle.
I am at my best . . . I have had quiet time alone.
Pastor, Burnie Baptist Church
More Ministry Profiles
- Anna-Maree Richardson (Tas Baptists Assistant Admin)
- Michael Henderson (Tas Baptists Mission and Leadership)
- Franz Brosch (Associate Pastor, Wynyard)
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