Rev. Matthew's church

Church at the Mission, Yonge Street Mission
Toronto, *Province/Other M5A 2G7

About Rev. Matthew
  • Education: I studied Jazz at Humber College in Toronto and I have a degree in music (classical flute performance) from Toronto’s York University. I also have a Masters of Theological Studies from Wycliffe College/Toronto School of Theology/University of Toronto.
  • Experience: I have been a pastor since 1994, serving first as Assistant Pastor at Church on the Street, a church planted for Street youth in Toronto, and then as Associate Pastor from 1996 to 2007 at Church at the Mission, a branch of Yonge Street Mission in downtown Toronto. Since 2007 I have served as the Lead Pastor/Director of Church at the Mission, The Yonge Street Mission.
  • Comment to those looking at my sermons: You are brave. I hope they are a blessing to you.
  • Sermon or series that made a difference: The biggest influence on my life in terms of preaching was Rev. Dr. Winston Nunes who pastored in downtown Toronto until his death in 1999. As well, Dr. Rick Tobias, former President and CEO of Yonge Street Mission and current Mission Community Advocate, has had quite an impact on my understanding of Scripture as relates to ministry to the poor.
  • Family: I come from a long line of atheists and horse-thieves. Although raised an atheist, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour on the ides of March in the year of our Lord 1980. I am married to a beautiful and talented woman who I met at Yonge Street Mission in 1986, Barbara Parker. We have two remarkable children: Jared Lemuel Lewis born 1991 and Elia Margaret Ruth Parker, born 1993.
  • What my parents think of my sermons: My parents, although atheist/agnostic, were always supportive of my ministry, I think in part because it is to the poor in the inner city. Although miffed by my worldview that differed so much from their own, they were quite remarkably invested in what I do. I miss them dearly.
  • What my spouse (really) thinks of my sermons: Barbara is very supportive as is the congregation.
  • Best advice given to me about preaching: Preach Christ! Always ask the question when preparing a sermon: 1. What? 2. So What? 3. Now What? 1. What? What’s the issue. Demonstrate that there’s some value in staying awake for the sermon. 2. So what? How does this issue matter to the congregation. 3. Now What? If I’ve convinced you that the issue is important, that it is relevant, what clear direction can we now undertake to apply what we’ve learned.
  • Books that have had an impact: Tim Keller, C.S Lewis and Henri Nouwen have impacted my thinking most deeply in matters of faith and ministry.
  • Hobbies: I am a jazz musician, multi-instrumentalist (I'm always learning a new instrument) and avid spender of time with my wife.
  • What I want on my tombstone: I told you I was sick.
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Newest Sermons

  • Drawing Near To God During Lent

    Contributed on Mar 15, 2021

    During Lent we look at our hearts and ask God to cleanse and refresh us in our walk with Him. As we do so, God speaks to us and draws us near to Him. What was on Jesus' mind as he drew near to the cross?

    March 14, 2021 Sermon - John 10:27-39 We are drawing nearer each week to the cross. We’ve been on this Lenten journey together since Ash Wednesday, and many of us have been connecting each day through our Daily Lenten Devotional videos. If you’ve joined us for those daily reflections you have more

  • How To Be A New Wineskin

    Contributed on Feb 7, 2021

    God is at work in your life, wanting to bless you and more importantly to bless others through you. How do you become responsive to the Spirit of God as He leads you? How do you continue being a 'new wineskin' for God to pour new joy into? This sermon addresses those questions.

    February 7/21 Sermon - Luke 5:33-39 (36-39) The live version of this sermon is here, current as of February 7, 2021: Today’s message will include a few practical tips on prayer and spiritual formation near the end, so you might want to grab a pen or have your more

  • Don't Let Your Heart Be Troubled - A Funeral Sermon

    Contributed on Nov 6, 2020

    This is a homily for the memorial service of a woman of faith in the community of the Yonge Street Mission in downtown Toronto

    Funeral Homily - John 14: 1 - 9 It is a deeply painful thing to lose someone you love. It is a deeply painful thing to have to adjust to life without that person being here for you and for the community. All of us are here because we want to, we need to, say goodbye to Theresa. And we want to do more

  • How Prepared Are We, Really?

    Contributed on Oct 24, 2020

    In the parable of the 10 virgins, the whole point is being ready - truly ready - for coming face to face with Jesus - either when He returns or when we go to Him. This message, which relies heavily on William Barclay for context and content in the first part, explores this theme.

    How Prepared Are We For Jesus? If we look at this parable with western eyes, it may seem an unnatural and a "made-up" story. But it actually telt tells a story that could have happened at any time in a Palestinian village and which could still happen today. A wedding was a great more

  • God's Grace In A Wage-Based World

    Contributed on Oct 2, 2020

    Most of us are use to earning stuff. Or to trading one thing for another. That's how the world works. That's not how God works. This sermon explores the grace of God through a familiar and wonderful parable of Jesus

    God’s Grace in a Wage-Based World – Sermon for CATM –October 3, 2020 We are continuing to explore the Parables of Jesus both in our Sunday online services, and then also in our Thursday Fireside Bible chat, where we look at the scripture passage that we talked about on Sunday, in greater depth, more

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Newest Sermon Series

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Newest Sermon Illustrations

  • What's Wrong With Slandering Someone?

    Contributed on Aug 29, 2014

    I was speaking with someone this past week who has spent a great deal of his life travelling around the world, much of it for a mission agency. He spoke of a time when he visited an extremely remote, forested part of India where people live very primitively. He stayed there for a while. This fellow more

  • Joy In The Midst Of Rough Waters

    Contributed on Feb 13, 2011

    JOY IN THE MIDST OF ROUGH WATERS I’ve spent a fair bit of time in recent weeks doing funeral pre-planning for my parents. Making decisions about final disposition of the remains of people you have loved all your life is not any fun at all. It can be overwhelmingly sad. After spending hours more

  • Then We Have The Symbol Of Being Under Water. I ...

    Contributed on May 23, 2010

    Then we have the symbol of being under water. I tell some of the baptismal candidates when meeting with them ahead of time that once they are under the water, the congregation votes how long they should stay under water. The voting process more

  • My Daughter Elia Has Given Me Permission To Tell ...

    Contributed on Jan 11, 2009

    My daughter Elia has given me permission to tell this story. Elia faced a huge dilemma in high school when her best friends from junior high days started hanging out with a rough crowd, starting smoking and crossing all sorts of boundaries. In order to keep the friendships she would have to start more

  • A Friend Of Mine Pastors In The Bloor West ...

    Contributed on Nov 2, 2008
    based on 2 ratings

    A friend of mine pastors in the Bloor West village in Toronto and runs a "God at the Pub" where he holds open discussions on the Christian faith in a bar setting. He told me the other day that he has all sorts of people there who are not people of faith, but who have told him they want to model more