Welcome to St Matt’s
Thank you for expressing an interest to join the adventure at St Matt’s. If you are brand new to church please fill in a ‘Join the Adventure’ card and someone will contact you with further information. The best way to get plugged into the life of the church is to come on an Alpha course or join one of our Connect Groups. We hope that in this pack you will find out what we are about and where we are going. But most of all, we hope you will take the next step in your journey of faith to discover and grow a life-giving relationship with Jesus that will make a difference in your life and the world around you.
Lots of love,
Allen & Karen Bower
Tipton is an urban area of opportunities and challenges. Parts of Tipton have the highest areas of deprivation within the whole of Lichfield Diocese. Tipton has a population of 45,000 people - less than 2% attend a church
In 2014 Allen & Karen Bower, who were part of the HTB network and serving in St Mark’s Kensal Rise, London, were invited by the patrons of St Matt’s Tipton to view the vacancy at St Matt’s. They found a congregation brimming with hope, with an openness to the power of the Spirit, receptive to change and a desire to transform their community with the love of God.
As Allen prayed about the vacancy he was drawn to a verse from the bible - “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19). After Allen & Karen arrived at St Matt’s a number of the congregation shared with them this very same verse. We know this is God’s will for Tipton today; He is doing something new. We believe God’s will is to see addictions broken, relationships restored, the sick healed, the lost rescued and our community transformed. This is the adventure that God is calling us to.
Everything we do at St Matt’s is gathered around the statement ‘TO KNOW CHRIST AND MAKE HIM KNOWN’ The six areas we do this through are PRAYER, MISSION, COMMUNITY, DISCIPLESHIP, THE SUPERNATURAL and WORSHIP.
HOW WE DO IT
‘Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matthew 18:3)
We want to keep church as simple as possible so that anyone and everyone can engage as quickly as possible. We have four key areas that we focus on - our Personal Journeys, Sunday Gatherings, Connect Groups, and Teams.
1. A Personal Journey
‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ (Galatians 2:20)
We want everyone at St Matt’s to have a vibrant and growing personal relationship with Jesus. We want everyone to...
i. Come to faith – ‘Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Giving every opportunity to accept Jesus’ invitation to enter into a new life, with new hope and new purpose, with Him.
ii. Sustain their faith—‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ (Matthew 4:4). Enthusing and equipping everyone to invest in their own relationship with God through prayer, bible study and other spiritual disciplines.
iii. Share their faith — ‘Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!’ (Psalm 66:5). Raising-up followers of Jesus who are able to share their faith in normal, natural and appropriate ways, ready to offer prayer to friends, family and strangers.
iv. Live their faith — ‘Whatever you do... do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’ (Colossians 3:17). Envisioning everyone to see their daily work station (whether office, college or home) as their God-given place of worship.
2. A Sunday Journey
‘I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.’ (Psalm 122:1)
God created us for community. We would love those involved with St Matt’s to gather every Sunday for celebration, preparation and inspiration. Our morning and evening gatherings are 10:30am & 6:30pm. We want our gatherings to be…
i. Big on welcome — ‘Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.’ (Romans 15:7) Treating those we meet outside and inside the church building in a way that reflects God’s generous acceptance of us.
ii. Lively in worship— ‘Shout to the Lord, all the earth break out in praise and sing for joy!’ (Psalm 98:4) Giving God our very best praise in a way that engages with as many people in contemporary culture as possible.
iii. Fed by Jesus — ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’ (John 6:35) Building-up the church family with bread and wine and with relevant, Spirit inspired, life-transforming, bible-centred talks.
iv. Bold in prayer — ‘The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.’ (James 5:16) Getting everyone in our services actively and creatively involved in praying for each other and asking God to impact our society and change the world around us.
3. A Shared Journey
‘Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together... but encouraging one another.’ (Hebrews 10:24-25)
St Matt’s is not a church with small groups but a church of small groups. Getting plugged into a Connect Group is the best way at St Matt’s to really grow in the Christian life and make friends. They also provide safe places to develop deeper friendships and create environments to pray for, support and encourage each other through life’s ups and downs. We’d encourage everyone to join a Connect Group where they can share life and grow in faith. We want our Connect Groups to be…
i. Passion-Led — ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’. (Luke 10:27). Meeting for a range of activities, life courses, and studies that help us grow in our relationship with God.
ii. Address real life—‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ (John 10:10). Ensuring Connect Groups help equip us to live out our faith in the world and address real issues (for example) family life, finances, addiction, bereavement, and newcomers to Christianity.
iii. Developing spiritual gifts— ‘The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others.’ (1 Corinthians 12:7). Space to discover, grow and exercise the gifts of the Spirit
4. A Team Journey
‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ (Ephesians 2:10)
We would love everyone at St Matt’s to find a way to join the adventure, grow in their gifts and fulfil God’s calling on their lives. To enable this to happen we offer...
i. A range of teams — ‘You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.’ (1 Corinthians 12:4-5, 27). Helping people experience the fulfilment and community that comes from serving one another with one another.
ii. Calling and gift discovery — ‘There are different kinds of gifts...there are different kinds of service... and in everyone it is the same God at work.’ (1 Corinthians 12:4-5). Understanding our uniqueness and creating pathways for each person to explore their purpose in life.
iii. Training for ministry — ‘and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’ (Matthew 28:20). Enabling everyone on a team to fulfil their potential through regular prayer, training, relevant courses and encouragement.
iv. The opportunity to give — ‘For God loves a cheerful giver.’ (2 Corinthians 9:7). As well as taking ownership of the church’s vision by giving their time and talents, encouraging every person at St Matt’s to give financially as part of their worship of God.
YOUR NEXT STEPS
‘Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.’
As you consider investing your heart, time, family, and finances into the life of the church, it’s important you feel confident in its leadership and governance. St Matt’s is...
Guided by a Staff Team - The Staff Team is led by our Vicar, Allen. The Staff Team is made up of various people who oversee the day-to-day ministry and operations of the church, primarily by investing in, training up and releasing Teams.
Governed by the Church Council - Our Church Council is made up of ex-officio and elected members from the church who oversee the spiritual and practical life of the church. There is also a Leadership Team that helps enable the mission of the church and church wardens who offer wise oversight.
Strengthened by our Networks - St Matt’s is part of a number of Networks including HTB, New Wine, and other like-minded churches with a vision to play their part in the renewal of the church and the transformation of society.
Overseen by our Diocese - St Matt’s is part of the Church of England in the Diocese of Lichfield (lichfield.anglican.org). We are accountable to our Bishops who provide wisdom, support and encouragement. The Church of England (churchofengland.org) has a Christian presence in every community providing spiritual and practical support to people at every stage of life and from every background.
‘Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God.’ (1 Peter 2:17)
We believe in honouring God and each other and taking responsibility for our personal life and behaviour. We’d love every member of St Matt’s to confidently say...
Story & Purpose - With God’s help, I will endeavour to play my part in fulfilling the church’s vision.
Grace - I agree that no Christian or church is perfect — we’re all on a journey — therefore I will be quick to forgive and will be proactive in maintaining relationships rather than harbouring resentments.
Honour - I agree that whilst no Christian is perfect, I will try my hardest, with God’s help, to take responsibility for my faith and exhibit mature Christian behaviour and refrain from things that might cause Jesus to grieve and others to stumble. If I’m struggling with (for example): drunkenness, anger, gambling, dishonest gain, swearing, gossip and sexual immorality, I understand that certain areas of service and leadership might not be appropriate for a season, and I will seek help from my church family and any professionals that may be required.
Example - I understand that I am a vital part of the body of the church, so when I find myself in positions of responsibility I will be reliable, punctual, prepared and will choose to take on an attitude of joyful service and enthusiasm.
Safeguarding – ‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill top cannot be hidden’. (Matthew 5:14) The safeguarding of children and adults is fundamental to all activities at St Matt’s ensuring a whole-hearted commitment to the wellbeing and protection of all those who are vulnerable or at risk. We have strict safeguarding policies and procedures in place to ensure St Matt’s is a safe place for all. This includes providing secure venues for our children’s work and ensuring that those working with children and young people are properly trained and have necessary DBS clearance. Contact our Safeguarding Officers for further details on our Safeguarding Policy or if you have any concerns about a child or adult at risk.
Now that you’ve heard a bit about the story of St Matt’s and the vision of the church, we’d love for you to consider joining the adventure.
When you feel ready, please fill in a ‘Join the Adventure’ card and hand it to one of the Hospitality Team.