It's About Equipping
How We Can Help
Conferences & Teaching
It is important for churches and ministries in this day and age to stay within the parameters of Scripture in terms of how we advise or teach others. The teaching of the Word on a Sunday or at conferences is to encourage the people of God to fulfil the Word of God.
The Holy Spirit often brings prophetic declarations when people gather in faith. Proverbs 25:25: 'Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land." If you wish to see a taster of Matthew's preaching, feel free to head over to the "Teaching" page.
Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, not just those who would accept Him but actually for everyone. As Christians, we can so easily become cocooned in our own little world called 'Christendom'. We can easily forget that we are called to do good to all men.
So much of society is dysfunctional and fragile, and the responsibility sits heavily upon the shoulders of local and national leaders in government and businesses. It is time for the believer to rise up, not just in the church but in the community as well and use the gifts that God has given us to make a lasting difference. It is time to be effective, but we need to be equipped first.
We have come across many people young and old (in age and in the Lord) who have hungered for a deeper understanding of Kingdom ministry. It's always exciting when we feel the Holy Spirit leading us into deeper pastures. A good Biblical example of mentorship is with Elijah and Elisha. Elijah had mentored Elisha for many years in Scripture in practicality and in serving as well as spiritual gifting. You can see that this relationship was built on love and a mutual desire for the Kingdom of God.
Jesus also used a similar mentoring style and mentality when it came to His disciples, who had different social backgrounds and levels of understanding. Yet, Jesus was able to equip them all for what would be in store, effectively the birth and survival of Christianity. He displayed a genuine desire to equip them so that they could achieve their calling.
And so we wanted to build something that could help those who felt a calling or desire into ministry and show them the many different aspects and responsibilities, both practically and spiritually, and what that entails.
Equipping Leaders & Churches
The call to ministry is an extremely exciting privilege, to which many of us run into before we are equipped effectively. Whether you are leading a church or ministry, there are fundamental principles we need to put in place, not just for our own sanity but also for the longevity of what God has called us to do. A saying of Matthew's is this: "Leadership can make you want to leave the ship."
Teamwork and relationships are important foundations to build upon. But what are your relationships within your team really like? When you build, build to last. I have learnt that you cannot give people what they want based on their potential; it must be based on fruit. Although the fruit might look ripe, the only way to tell it is by tasting it. That is more than just looks.
As believers, we are responsible for more than those who are on our doorstep as it were. You may have struggled for many years with the burden of hearing of the plight of the disadvantaged and marginalised around the world, managing to put these thoughts to the bottom of the pile on many occasions, telling yourself, 'what could I do?' or, 'I am far too busy.' But it's important that you reach a place of realisation that you don't have to have the answer. All you need is the right heart.
Having made the decision that we would respond to the call of God, doors began to open and the wisdom of God started to flood our hearts. Through the obedience the call of God, we have changed the lives of thousands. So, what could God do through you?
Family & Marriage
There is no such thing as a perfect marriage; it is impossible to have a perfect marriage because marriage is made up of two imperfect and different people. But marriage life should be successful, produce good fruit and create an environment in and through which each partner becomes the best he or she can be for The Lord and each other to the glory of God.
Matthew & Mara have years of experience in teaching a marriage course that is biblical and based on God's principles on and for marriage as found in The Bible. They both became married in 1992, therefore they have many years of personal experience and practice in how to apply these biblical principles for marriage in their own lives. Moreover, they have had the privilege to minister to couples during group seminars, along with one to one sittings.
The Guest Family
Our family is a testimony of God's love, kindness, sovereignty, and power; without His intervention, we would not be a family. Mara, who was born in France and brought up in Spain by her Spanish father and late French mother, arrived in the UK to work as a nurse in 1990. Ten months later, she moved to Chatham to study midwifery, and within a month, she became a disciple of Christ.
Matthew had made a recommitment to The Lord a few months beforehand at the same church Mara had started to attend. It didn't take long before The Lord brought them together and they got married on the 5th September 1992.
Mara had been told in Spain that she would not be able to have any children, which was very painful for both of them, but especially so for Matthew because of the way he came to this world (see his Bio page). Nevertheless, they had faith in God and His promises within His Word. Matthew really believed that just as He had honoured God by obeying Him in marrying Mara knowing that she had been diagnosed as barren, The Lord would honour him and give them children.
Six months into the marriage, they found out that Mara was pregnant, but the first of four miscarriages in three years followed on. Whilst suffering the fourth miscarriage, The Lord revealed to Matthew that a curse was the cause of the miscarriages. The Lord delivered them from the curse and just over a year later their first child, Leah, was born in October 1996 despite many difficulties in the pregnancy and delivery. Nineteen months later - in May 1998 - their son Luke was born, following another difficult pregnancy.
The Lord had been faithful to His promises, but Satan was not throwing in the towel. Not only did Leah stop breathing when she was few months old and she had to be rushed by ambulance to the hospital but two-year-old Luke was diagnosed with severe autism as well; Matthew and Mara were told that Luke would never talk, be independent, form a relationship with them among other problems.
Through years of prayer and faith in The Lord and His promises, The Lord healed Luke little by little until he was given the all clear and he no longer required help even at school and he finished his GCSEs with flying colours.
In the meantime, a battle in prayer was taking place to have their last child, Caleb. A doctor told Mara that it would be impossible for her to have another child due to health problems, but The Lord is the God of the impossible and after two years of prayer, Caleb was born following a perfect pregnancy and birth in June 2003.
Like any family, we have had our ups and downs, but The Lord has brought us through each one of them while teaching us valuable lessons and revealing to us aspects of His character and covenant to us in a deeper way. And for that, we give Him glory and are extremely thankful.
And what do the Guest family like doing? We love spending time together, going to the pictures or watching movies indoors, playing football at the park, playing computer games, discussing The Word and praying together. We also love holidays at CentreParcs, going to London for the day and visiting Mara's family in Spain. We just love being together. We do not take each other for granted. We thank God every day for each other.
Our heart is to see people's calling fulfilled no matter what that calling is; we want to help you maximise your potential in ministry. So many ministries and projects do not achieve what they could and should for many different reasons: lack of knowledge, lack of funds or lack of vision. We are called to help each other, serve each other, equip each other and love each other.
It's not just a matter of helping only struggling projects, but to help good projects become greater and to see ideas become a reality. We also have a desire to bridge the gap between different ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds. As Scripture says, "We are to contend as one man." In doing this, we see the very heart of God manifest within the body of Christ in such a way that the world will truly know Him through our love for one another.
We have been so blessed to see some of the projects we had been involved with reach different countries and cultures over the years. From Nigeria to the Philippines, Ghana, USA, Macedonia, Brazil, South Africa, and India, as well as making an impact in the UK.
Our local communities are just as important: the people in our neighbourhoods, our work colleagues, and our families, those we may not know, that old man and that homeless woman. Also the businessmen and women, those who serve in government and those from all walks of life.
We have a desire to build-up and not burn out. Through first-hand experience, we know the pressures of leadership, having previously served as senior pastors for over 10 years and currently serving as pastors of Effective Life Church, as well as having pioneered a number of projects and having served God for over 20 years in many different capacities. We have had the joy of meeting Prime Ministers, MPs, Local Counsellors and being used to change secular mind-sets.
So why do we have this passion? Because God so loved us that He sent His only Son to die and rise again, so that we may have an eternal relationship with Him. God doesn't simply want you to endure this life on earth, He wants you to enjoy it. You will only become affective when you become effective.