Matthew Harris grew up in the country, attending a church where his dad was the pastor before moving to Sydney to study at university. It was at university that Matthew felt himself really take ownership of his faith and take it seriously. Towards the end of his first year at uni, he realised that his life was actually God’s and he had paid a huge price for Matthew. This made him want to serve God throughout his whole life.
After Matthew finished his primary teaching degree at Macquarie University, he moved to Dubbo to teach. He quickly got involved at Dubbo Presbyterian across various ministries including youth group and growth group leading, in which he said everyone was very encouraging.
Matthew explained that he really loves that his church is very Bible based, and does everything with clear thought out reason and purpose. “It’s very intentional, driven and focused. There’s a real desire from the staff and the congregations to be reaching people and to be growing people as followers of Jesus,” he said.
As he took on more ministries and got more involved, he started to consider undertaking an MTS METRO apprenticeship at the church. He finished up teaching in 2022 after working for four years, and began his apprenticeship in 2023. Matthew says he appreciates that he now has more time to dedicate to the ministries he’s involved in at church.
“It’s really exciting to not be compromising my time. I had to step back from leading at youth group in my last year of teaching because I was too exhausted. Being able to not have work slowing my down, or impeding ministry opportunities is great.”
Helping young people engage with the Bible
Matthew shared that there are three main ministries at Dubbo Presbyterian that are helping young people engage with the Bible.
“Playtime is the birth to school age ministry that aims to be quite evangelistic and outreach-y. Kids church is preschool to year six on a Sunday during the church service and Mob is our youth group that meets on a Friday night which has about 70-100 kids. A smaller group also meets on Sunday afternoons to dig deeper into the Bible than on Friday night,” he shared.
“We’ve put a lot of effort into crafting a clear teaching program for the kids program. At the you group we have games, a Bible talk and Bible study each week, and for those committed, we try to involve the youth in serving at church as soon as we can, to try and get them to put their faith in practice. We’re trying to give them chances to teach the Bible to others or to help others with their faith to try and give them that drive, enthusiasm and passion for the Bible,” Matthew continued.
Something else that Matthew has experienced since beginning his apprenticeship is the willingness of the church to test and try out new ideas. “No one is set to a rigid thing, especially in the staff team. Everyone’s very flexible and willing to try anything. Everyone wants to see the ministries grow and improve and be better, so they’ve got the mindset of experimentation and innovation,” he said.
Recently, Matthew spoke with Dave Phillips”, General Manager of PYNSW, to discuss youth and kids ministry. Matthew noted that their ministries are “Very much a work in progress, it’s very stretched and needs a lot of love and support”.
“But even in the vast weaknesses of it, it’s simply the Bible being taught and people responding. It’s very exciting to see where it could go, but also just exciting each week to see how God works in both the big and small ways”, he shared.
Pray for Matthew and the team at Dubbo Presbyterian as they continue to care for and teach young people about the difference that Jesus makes in their lives.