Tell us briefly about yourself, what your program is at ADC, and where you are located now.
My name is Matthew Thomas, and I’m from East Preston, Nova Scotia. I’m 28 years old. I have a beautiful wife, Alyssa, and together we have 2 children, Ava who is 7 and Parker who is 22 months. We’re expecting another child in November. I’m currently in the Master of Divinity program at ADC, and I travel once a week to ADC from Cole Harbour where I currently reside.
What is your training and previous work experience?
Prior to attending ADC and pursing my call to ministry, I worked in the justice system with the Community Justice Society. I was the casework coordinator for the Restorative Justice Program in the Halifax region. Prior to this, I completed my undergraduate studies at Saint Mary’s University, receiving my BA in criminology.
Tell us about your call to ministry.
My call to ministry can be best described as a puzzle. I’ve accumulated many pieces as I’ve gone through life, and I still have many more pieces to gather before my puzzle is complete. I’ll briefly provide a few pieces which have landed me where I currently am.
In 2012 I rededicated my life to Christ. Prior to this, I backslid and drifted away from God and the church. But upon my re-dedication, God highlighted some circumstances over my life that directed me to pastoral ministry. I had a conversation with my pastor who had just begun his tenure at my church. In our conversation, I mentioned that I felt like I’m being called to ministry. He suggested that I look into ADC and apply. I did apply, and I was accepted. This was the final confirmation for me to realize I was in the right place. I eventually started the youth ministry at my church. Then in August 2013, I resigned from my full-time job to become the first youth pastor at New Beginnings Ministries in Dartmouth.
This is only a short synopsis of my calling; I have many more details to share so if you see me on campus we can chat more about it. But I do want to share this last thought. I now know that my calling is bigger than just ministry in the church. I believe that God’s calling on our lives is not relegated to church ministry. Rather, He wants us to use our calling in everything we do. For example, I know that my calling, my purpose on this earth, is for the betterment of all young people, not just Christian youth but all young people. Therefore, everything I do in the church or in community is ministry.
Tell us about your current ministry and responsibilities.
I’m currently the youth pastor at New Beginnings Ministries. I oversee children and youth ministry, which consists of our youth group, Youth Growing in Christ (YGC) and our children’s church (Genesis). Also I oversee our lunch program where students from the local Junior High School come to the church to hang out and have lunch. I also play an executive role in the church and preach on a monthly basis. I’m a guest speaker at various youth events across Nova Scotia throughout the year. Lastly, I help organize a crime prevention program in the community. This program is an initiative of 4 churches in our convention which offers a Rites of Passage mentorship program for children and youth.
What challenges and opportunities are you facing in ministry right now?
We are in a season of transition in youth ministry. We have youth going off to university, a significant number of youth heading to high school in September, and younger youth moving up to youth ministry. These changes bring new dynamics, and our ministry is ready to respond in a way that meets their current needs. Also training and developing youth leaders and recruiting new ones are always challenges and opportunities in ministry. Lastly, our church is in the process of planting a new church in a nearby community. The youth and I will be heavily involved in this project over the summer and into the fall.
A number of current and prospective ADC students will be reading this. What advice would you give them?
ADC is a fantastic school and learning environment. It’s truly a blessing to study at this institution. As for advice, pace yourself and study at a pace that works for you. Seminary education has a demanding course load, and in most cases students are active in ministry and have families. Therefore, time management is crucial and finding a way to balance all your responsibilities is beneficial. Also, because school requires so much doing and studying, remember to take time to replenish, refuel, and recharge yourself through meditation, prayer, and spending quality time with God and your family. That’s my word!!!!
Lastly, is there anything you would like to share that the ADC community could pray for?
Please pray that I will follow the advice I just gave you in the last question. Pray that I can manage and balance multiple responsibilities, while keeping my family first and doing everything with excellence because God deserves my best in everything I do.
Thank you & Stay Blessed,