New Associate Minister at First Ballymena – Matthew Boyd

Matthew Boyd will be ordained and inducted as the Associate Minister at First Ballymena Presbyterian Church on Friday 26th October 2018.

Native to Glenarm, Matthew attended the primary school there before transferring to Ballymena Academy.
He had the privilege of growing up in a Christian home where his saved parents sent him along to Church and Sunday School from a young age.
He recalls; “I always had a childlike faith. I remember being out on the farm with my dad one day as a four-year-old. We were out in the fields when I said to him that I would like to have Jesus in my life. It has always been a part of me.”

“I suppose, like a lot of people, I drifted a little in my teenage years. It wasn’t that I did anything overtly rebellious, I just questioned a lot. It was during my Upper Sixth year that one of my teachers invited me to get involved in Portballantrae CSSM. That summer, being involved in CSSM and being at Capenwray Bible College had a big impact on me. I have described it to some people in these terms – before that summer my faith was black and white and then all of a sudden, the colour was introduced. Instead of just having a head knowledge of God I had an experience of Him and I knew the reality of God being in my life”, Matthew explains.

Matthew was Director of Youth Ministries in High Kirk Church, Ballymena

Looking back, Matthew has fond memories of High Kirk, the Church where he grew up and served as Director of Youth Ministries for seven years.
He says; “I felt very supported and encouraged by the people there. They allowed me the space to mature in my faith and in Christian leadership. I was given the freedom to try things, to make mistakes and learn from them. It was a real time of growth for me and provided a good opportunity to explore my sense of calling into ministry and discover what that might look like. I had the example of other leaders who modelled Jesus to me along with people who trusted me with responsibility and gave me opportunities to have a go. So I am very grateful for my time in High Kirk.”

Talking about his ministry journey, Matthew went on to say: “I grew up wanting to be a footballer and then a P.E teacher however when I was about 20-21, I went up to New Horizon where Alistair Begg was preaching. I don’t remember much of what he said but one phrase he used was, that it was a privilege to communicate the Word of God to people. Those words unsettled me in a good way. I remember finishing off my placement year in Michelin and being offered a full-time job there. I told my boss at the time that I appreciated the offer, however I needed to pursue this sense of calling into the Church. At that stage, I didn’t know what it would look like or where I was going to end up but it is just something I had to pursue. In terms of becoming a Presbyterian Minister, I feel as though I have ended up here, more by God’s leading and directing rather than my own human ambition. God has provided opportunities for me to develop my gifts and has opened doors for me that I wouldn’t have gone through otherwise.”

Matthew loved his time at Connor Presbyterian.

Studying at Union Theological College gave Matthew wonderful opportunities to learn, develop friendships and prepare for ministry.
He also said: “Laura and I were placed in Connor Presbyterian Church for the part-time phase of my assistantship while I was finishing my studies. I was there for just over a year spending around six hours a week with the congregation. I really appreciated having the opportunity to work with Rev. Richard Murray out there and learn from him. The congregation were great; they made us feel so welcome and at home very early on. We loved it in Connor and were sorry when we had to move on from there.”

Hard as it was for Matthew and his wife, Laura to leave Connor, their experiences in First Ballymena have been equally fulfilling.
The 34-year-old remarks: “I have been very fortunate to have been welcomed into each congregation in which I have served. The members of First Ballymena embraced both Laura and myself from day one, and we settled quickly in the family there. I appreciate the fact that they have allowed me to be myself and I have learned a lot from the congregation as I have tried to serve them. I am also extremely grateful for each of the ministers I have served under, beginning with Norman Cameron in High Kirk, Richard Murray in Connor and now William Sinclair in First Ballymena. They have all been different in their style yet each one has invested in me and helped equip and prepare me for full-time ministry.”

Matthew and Laura are looking forward to continuing their ministry in First Ballymena.

Both Matthew and his wife, Laura are looking forward to continuing their ministry in First Ballymena, where he will be ordained on Friday 26th October 2018.
“As I prepare to begin as Associate Minister in First Ballymena, I am excited about having the opportunity to continue to develop some of the areas I have been working on over the past 2 years. As I was coming to the end of my Assistantship in First and praying about what was next, I kept having a strong sense that God wanted me to stay here and that He still had a role for me in this congregation. It was lovely that the congregation affirmed my sense of call and I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds.
My primary focus will be on Mission and Discipleship and it has been encouraging to see how God has been working in a number of people’s lives. As a church, we have been going “over the wall” and engaging with people who don’t yet know Jesus and it is my prayer that God might continue to use us to reach out and point others to Jesus. I am aware there will be challenges and difficulties, but my overriding feeling is one of excitement and anticipation.”

Outside Church, Matthew plays football for Ahoghill Thistle FC. He also enjoys rowing at a local Gladiator gym as well as the occasional board game. He and Laura are expecting their first child on 19th November 2018.

To discover more about First Ballymena Presbyterian Church, visit their website here. You can also find them on Facebook here.