Matt Christner

Board Member

Matt and his family are members of FBC Wylie. He and his wife, Shelly, have been married for 16 years and are blessed with 3 beautiful children. While Matt is from the Dallas area, he spent much of his childhood and teenage years growing up overseas in the outback of Australia.

This all started with a prayer!
In 2010, as a church body at FBC Wylie, we began praying that God would open a door for us to engage one of the many unreached people groups in the world. Through that process, we were led to China and the Yi People group …

I first met Paul in the lobby of a church that he was once a staff member of, Friendship Baptist Church in Fairview, Texas. It was spring 2013 while Paul was on a short visit home from China. Paul had heard that we (FBC Wylie) had a trip to China planned and he was anxious to talk about what all we had been doing in China up to that point. We (FBC Wylie) were busy preparing our second trip in less than a year to a city in Southern China; we had set up a full week with a local university to conduct an English camp.

After trading a few stories with Paul, we invited him to meet us there and to spend a few days with us translating and observing. It seemed like a great opportunity for him to meet the contacts we had on the ground.

That summer our small team from Texas, along with several others from other parts of the United States, made our way to China. Paul was there at the airport when we arrived! Once we all got checked in and settled, we regrouped for a team dinner and briefing on what the week was going to look like. At that moment, full of excitement and anticipation, we found out that the entire week at the university had been cancelled by one of the head administrators at the school … The English Camp was not going to happen! We drenched the moment and our disappointment in prayer; after all of the effort that had gone into months of planning and preparation we couldn't help but feel disappointed. While at the same time, there was a sense of excitement to see what God had planned for us!

The next day, Paul received an "out of the blue" phone call and found out that one of his best students (a pastor that he trained) had a church in China. Coincidence … I think not! That night we visited the church and by the end of the week, it was perfectly clear that God had a plan and had brought us together. We had prayed for one unreached people group to engage and God ended up providing an avenue to engage four unreached people groups.

After months of prayer and planning, we made a return visit to the church in 2014. What began as an opportunity to engage one unreached group in China and then four unreached groups through the church body, has now turned into an opportunity to reach twenty three unreached people groups through the church and in the surrounding community.

There is absolutely nothing more incredible or awesome than being a vessel for kingdom purposes, being used by God. I am reminded how weak we are and how strong He is as he continues to work through us and around us in this remote part of China. It is truly a blessing to being a tiny instrument in God's mighty arsenal.
From what we have seen so far, the primary need is with equipping the leadership and for discipleship training. From a "quick" 3 day overview in 2012, Paul is now the primary point person on the ground linking this church body in the east with our church body in the west. While there is much to be done, we know that God will continue to guide (Proverbs 3:5-6) and bless (Psalm 119:2) this relationship as we work together for the same common Acts1:8 & Matthew 28:18 goal; to spread God's fame making disciples of all people.


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