BlogsThoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral
Matt Wilson’s baptism testimony
By Matt Wilson, youth leader, Jubilee Church Wirral
The message I want to get across is about trust, faithfulness and obedience.
Habakkuk 2:3: This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
My parents took me to church at St Mary’s in Upton from being very young, so God’s existence was never a question to me, I always believed that He was there looking after me.
When I was about 9 or 10, the Children’s Christian Crusade (CCC) came to St Mary’s and did a big outreach. At the end of one of the meetings I went to one of the leaders there and made my own decision to give my life to Jesus.
I remember praying with the leader and at home with my dad afterwards; it was something natural that I had grown up with and had decided to take on for myself.
What followed that was five years of secondary school, which was pretty awful. It was a period of bullying and so on, and I remember praying at home, thinking “I don’t want to be here”. I never told my parents! That was a real testing of my faith after committing my life to Jesus.
When I was 15 I joined a youth group at St Mary’s and met some friends who I’m still very close to after 30+ years, many of whom I meet up with regularly, others who I chat with over WhatsApp because they’re on the other side of the world.
Through that youth group, my faith really started to grow.
During my time at secondary school, one thing I knew was that I never wanted to be a teacher. I’d seen teachers be locked in cupboards, and have things thrown at them!
I decided I wanted to be an accountant or something like that, so when I was in the sixth form I applied to do a business degree at Birmingham University and that’s what I was going to do.
Then one night in one of the youth meetings, we had a band and a visiting speaker come. They spoke to us all after the meeting and spoke a few verses which really hit me, from Romans 12:6-8.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
Those verses came out of that meeting and the speaker pointed at me and said “you will lead one day”. It really challenged me so after the meeting, I went and spoke to one of the youth leaders and it became clear that God really did want me to go into teaching.
I said to God: “If that’s what you want, then I’ll try it.”
I rang Birmingham University and asked if I could change the course. They said that moving onto the teacher training course wouldn’t be a problem.
They had two teacher training colleges and initially me into the Catholic one which was a bit of a concrete jungle! I asked if I could go to the other one because was all green and leafy! They said that was fine, and that was all part of God’s plan because it was there that I met my wife Julie.
After qualifying I taught in a primary school for five years until I really felt God calling on me to try secondary teaching, which was really getting out of my comfort zone!
I decided to face my fears and got a job at a secondary school. My first year was a pretty tough year and I kept wondering “Why have I done this?”
Then at the end of this first year a job was advertised at Kingsmead, a Christian school in Hoylake.
I applied, went for interview and they wanted someone who had primary and secondary experience. So it turned out that had I not done that one hard year in a secondary school, I wouldn’t have got the job at Kingsmead.
I then spent 18 years there, teaching maths, games and all sorts of different things and then, in 2012, I took over as the head of pastoral care which was a huge thing after not wanting to be involved in the discipline side of teaching especially.
Then, in 2016, I met a guy who was part of a charity called TLG – Transforming Lives for Good. They work with children who are struggling in mainstream education.
Again, I felt that God was guiding me to work in a TLG centre. That started a journey which culminated in October this year when I was appointed to be head of a new centre, which will be opening in January 2022 in Hope Church, Hoylake.
Along that journey I really felt that God was calling me to work in the church but I never knew how that could happen – I didn’t think I was going to be a pastor or a vicar – but now I feel like this is a fulfilment of that, being a teacher and a leader and in a church. I feel that this is where He has led me to.
It’s been a 30-year journey from that first night in the church youth group, so although I’d been baptised as a baby, I felt God prompting me to come and forward and be baptised. Not just to thank God for His blessing on my life over those 30 years, but also to say “Do you know what? I need you now more than ever. Please continue to fill me up and continue to work in me as I go forward into this new role.”
It is about obedience and trusting God, about being faithful. There are two verses I’d like to end with:
Proverbs 19:21: Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
What I would encourage you all to do is ask God where He wants you to be, ask Him what He wants you to do, and try to be obedient. You’ll make mistakes along the way but if you ask Him to lead you, He will do.
This final verse is from Philippians 4:13, and I can’t tell you how many times this has come up over the years.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Matt Wilson, youth leader and teacher
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