Matt Stones has left behind his role as a draftsman at Stripes Engineering Services to take up a ministry traineeship through Gunnedah Anglican Church.
The 25-year-old has signed up to two years with Ministry Training Strategy (MTS) after receiving an invitation from the Anglican Church’s senior minister Scott Dunlop.
“[My wife] Dee and I were considering how we could serve God with our lives as Christians and we decided full-time ministry was the way in which we could do that best,” Matt said.
“An MTS traineeship is basically a chance to try out full-time ministry for two years with both hands-on experience and an element of formal training as well.
“MTS has a particular curriculum for myself to follow and that involves a whole lot of reading and discussions with my trainers [Scott Dunlop and Aiden Sibrava].
“It’s equal time spent preparing as it is doing.”
Matt will be working six days a week with a full schedule including theological study, youth ministry, coordinating school holiday programs, teaching scripture classes at Gunnedah South Public School, taking on more responsibility in church services, mentoring, and leading a young adults Bible study group.
He will be particularly active at Gunnedah High School where he will become involved in the scripture seminars once a term, and team up with school chaplain Sue Ortiger for the Chips and Chat initiative at lunchtime on Thursday’s.
Matt isn’t completely new to ministry, with almost ten years experience up his sleeve in youth ministry at the church. It was during his younger years that one of the church’s former ministers David Swan encouraged him to think about pursuing ministry further.
“Choosing MTS was a big step. [Dee and I] were just about to put a deposit on a house last year and do more training for work,” he said.
Matt said he was looking forward to “challenging” himself by getting involved in new ministries and expanding his knowledge of the Bible.
“Being able to stretch my thinking in terms of personal conviction and theology,” he said.
Matt said Deanna would be a support to him during his traineeship and when he completes it, he will receive an Academic Studies in Theology Certificate.
It will be a big year for the couple who are expecting a baby in May.
“I'm excited for the year ahead. It’s a big change for me and it will definitely be a challenge, especially after first term when Dee has the baby,” he said.
“It will take a lot of juggling and there will be a lot more of a challenge family-wise.
“Personally, we’re seeking to trust God to use us and equip us in the role we’re undertaking.”