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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Helen on the importance of Friends and what God has to say about them in the Bible.
Andrew on evangelism, how we are all evangelists whether we like it or not, and how to evangelise easily.
Dawne on the parable of the lost sheep and the lessons we can take from it as followers of Jesus and members of His flock.
Yvonne on loss and how God has helped her deal with the loss of her mum and the impending departure of her eldest son to his first job
Nicki on serving at Newday and the impact it has had on all three Frodsham children and many, many others
Simon on the frustrations of not being able to get to sleep properly, and the Bible verses that help him stand firm against sleeplessness.
Gerry on how easy it is to be drawn into gossip. “If you can’t say anything positive, don’t say anything at all” isn’t just good advice, it’s Biblical wisdom.
Sylvia on being an encourager: “God knows our troubles. When we open up to Him, He’ll use other people to encourage us through His word.”
Lynne on doing what God wants us to do even when we really don’t want to do it – and why it’s important
Chris on the power of our words and how having a relationship with Jesus can give us the power of the right word at the right time.
Helen on why Psalms have taken the place of Proverbs as her favourite book of the Bible
Andrew Greenhalgh on being much better at giving advice than at taking it – and what happens as a result.
Chantal Robertson on how God and the gospel of Christ has never changed over time – even though the way we package it has.
Nicki on how she was planning to work in the marketing and advertising industry until God led her in a different direction.
Dawne challenges us to look at life with the enthusiasm, joy and exuberance of her Macedonian dog Floki and find joy in the everyday.
Jen on how taking the Alpha Course because she had nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternoon led to a life-changing wheelchair for her daughter Daisy and many others.
Gerry on how her ideas of what love truly is have changed over the years, and how love can be so much more than a feeling.
Matt Wilson on how God is weaving a tapestry – and knows what that looks like. He can see the big picture. Our part is to trust him with the threads he has given us.
Denise Griffiths on resolutions and why she has resolved not to make the usual New Year’s resolutions such as giving up chocolate, eating healthier or doing more exercise!
Vernon on the transience of life, and how, through all suffering, God’s steadfast love has the capacity to satisfy us every morning.
Andrew Greenhalgh on how he ended up going to church on Christmas morning for the first time at the age of 11 – and what it has taught him.
Helen on how preparations for Christmas vary from family to family and country to country. And what happened to Helen’s Lindt advent chocolates?