We are thrilled to introduce you to our new NextGen Pastor, Matthew Christy, who has recently joined the team.
We are super excited to work with him and had the privilege to get to know him better and learn more about his vision for our youth ministry.
Q: Tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a NextGen pastor. What inspired you to pursue this path?
It has been quite the journey. Born in Johannesburg but raised in Cape Town in the Northern Suburbs where I went to Kenridge Primary and Fairmont High. During this time I regularly attended Sunday school, and youth group and was active in serving in Kids ministry which in many ways was key foundationally. Whilst at Fairmont, I had to choose subjects for grade 10, thinking they would be part of my future career in either running my own business or working as a chartered accountant. In my mind, that was how I would serve the church in the long term as a financial aid. However, the Lord had a different plan for me and instead of pursuing a career in business, I pursued a path to be a full-time pastor which included a gap year with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) undergraduate theological studies at George Whitefield College and post-graduate studies at the Baptist Theological College.
Q: What do you do for fun?
I have a wide range of things I do for fun. I enjoy running (mainly road, but also the occasional trail), hiking, sports (soccer & rugby especially), enjoying good cups of coffee, reading, movies/series, spending time by the sea, socialising with friends, and especially getting to spend time with my girlfriend.
Q: What's your favorite memory from your own youth group experience or a memorable moment from your ministry so far?
Favourite memories from my own youth group experience always were from Holiday Bible Clubs and camps. At camps, it felt like each time greater bonds were formed and the opportunity to meaningfully connect with the Lord and in many ways do life together with people I saw every Friday and at school every day. Other favourite memories included being a part of the Holiday Bible Clubs at Durbanville Baptist each year, serving out a purpose far bigger than myself in reaching kids with the gospel in whatever area.
Q: If you could describe your youth ministry in three words, what would they be, and why?
I would describe my youth ministry in these three words - Relational, Discipleship and Gospel.
Relational, in that each week either on Friday or Sunday we were seeing each other and forming real authentic bonds with each other. Discipleship, in that our bonds went beyond mere stereotypical friendships in that we wanted to help each other grow in our faiths and become more like Christ and help those coming up as well. Gospel, in that everything was based and would come back to the gospel and the scriptures. It wasn't a social club, but gathering around the scriptures and being exposed to the beauty of the gospel.
Q: What's your go-to Bible verse or inspirational quote that guides your ministry philosophy?
My go-to bible verse is John 3:30 which says, "He must become greater, I must become less." It guides my ministry philosophy as I want people to elevate Christ above themselves. It's not our show, but rather we are pointing people to Christ.
Q: What's your vision for the youth ministry here at PVC?
My vision for the youth ministry is that we are staying in line with the vision of PVC. How that works out is through creating a space where the youth can discover Christ, establish a real discipleship community who make disciples, and see them outwardly live out their faiths in all aspects of society.
Q: In your opinion, what's the most important quality or characteristic a youth leader should have, and why?
I think the most important quality or characteristic that a youth leader should have is humility. Humility is the bedrock that will have a learning spirit and servant-hearted nature. Youth ministry is not about your own glory, it's about serving a bigger purpose of serving the youth with the gospel, helping them grow in their faith & equipping them for the world outside the church.
Q: Tell us something interesting or surprising about yourself that most people may not know.
I used to suffer from Epilepsy, which was caused by a benign tumor from 2007 to 2012 which meant I was taking medication to control the seizures. Had surgery to remove the tumor and has been cleared since 2012 of medication and seizures. All praise be to God.
Q: Youth culture is always changing. How do you stay connected with and relate to today's youth?
I stay connected by just conversing with youth, spending time reading, listening to podcasts, engaging with other people either in similar positions to myself or experts, and partnering with parents. All of this has helped me in my opinion to relate to the youth of today and has given me greater clarity as to how best to serve them.
Q: Finally, if you could offer one piece of advice or encouragement to the young members of our congregation, what would it be?
Simply this: Keep Jesus at the heart of everything you do.
We are excited to have our new NextGen Pastor on board, and look forward to see what God is going to do for our youth ministry under his leadership. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Matthew as he embarks on this new chapter of ministry at Protea Valley Church. If you would like to make contact with Matthew you can email him at email@example.com.