Rev. Matthew's church

Church at the Mission, Yonge Street Mission
Toronto, Ontario M5A 2G4

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, the late Dr. Rick Tobias, former President and CEO of Yonge Street Mission and current Mission Community Advocate, had a long and positive 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. We have two grandsons as well from Elia, Stephen Jr. and Matthew.
  • 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 and songwriter, 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

  • The Meaning Of Pentecost

    Contributed on May 21, 2024

    This is a message for Pentecost Sunday that teaches about the person of the Holy Spirit, the liturgical calendar and year, the fruit and gifts of the third Person of the Trinity.

    Sermon for Pentecost Sunday - May 19, 2024 Today is Pentecost Sunday. That might mean a lot to you, or not much at all. If you come from a mainline church background, Anglican or Catholic for example, there was more than likely some celebration of Pentecost Sunday as an important part of the more

  • Leading And Loving Like Jesus

    Contributed on May 15, 2024

    This message was given to a leadership team (manager and senior level) at the mission that I serve at. It is about serving well, like Jesus.

    We gather here, as we always do at the mission, in the name of Jesus Christ seeking to know his heart, seeking to know and discern his mind, seeking to hear from the Holy Spirit as he speaks to us through each other. And today we’re continuing to talk about the general reality of our need for more

  • Grieving With Hope

    Contributed on May 7, 2024

    This brief homily was written for a non-church going woman who was a believer.

    Homily for Elaine Beardsley Memorial Service - May 6, 2024 1 Thes 4:13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe more

  • One In Heart And Mind

    Contributed on Apr 6, 2024

    This is a message on the unity of the body of Christ in worship, life and mission.

    A while back there was a fellow who regularly came to our church. He went through a number of legal and then medical problems, and then 2 people from this church were preparing to go to see him at home to provide moral support, prayer, and other help from the church as needed. Then we learned more

  • The Garden Of Your Soul

    Contributed on Mar 19, 2024

    This series, Trauma and Transformation Level 2, includes short homilies/talks to a class at the Yonge Street Mission called Trauma and Transformation, Level 2.

    *This series, Trauma and Transformation Level 2, includes short homilies/talks to a class at the Yonge Street Mission called Trauma and Transformation, Level 2. The messages are aimed at a mixed audience, some with no faith, some with Christian faith, some with other faiths. The mission serves all 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