Matthew Fitter’s testimony
By Paul Warwick
BEFORE Matthew Fitter became a Christian, he was very much into Karate and martial arts.
But he let go of this sport, shortly after he gave his life to the Lord. This was because Karate
and Christianity didn’t seem compatible to him. The mind set of martial arts caused him to
have a feeling of controlled aggression and feel ready at a moments notice to defend
himself and be violent to any attacker. Whereas being a Christian evoked in him a feeling of
having gentle peace and faith, and for Matthew the two extremes didn’t gel.
After Matthew became a Christian he became a police officer for seven years, starting as
a beat bobby, then working his way up to C.I.D and becoming a detective. When Matthew
became a policeman he initially felt unease, wondering if it was ok to be a policeman while
being a Christian, because he was arresting people who ultimately were punished by the
However, after a period of soul searching for about 18 months, he came to the
conclusion that it was ok to be a Christian police officer, and that ultimately being a
Christian made him a better policeman. For one, being a Christian meant that he was an
honest cop, who told the truth and didn’t break the rules. And two, Matthew got a chance
to share his faith with some of the people he arrested and people that came through his
police station and the court where he sometimes worked.
There was one guy that Matthew met who’d been sentenced for fraud, and Matthew was
able to have a one to one half hour chat in a cell, and Matthew then led the person to the
Lord. And Matthew says, “Actually, he sent me a letter from prison some months later,
saying just how much Jesus had changed his life.”
When Matthew worked in charge of court cells he would leave Christian Journey into Life
booklets in the bare cells. A couple of prisoners had got angry and ripped the booklets to
pieces, but other prisoners who enquired if Matt had put them there, would then have
conversations about God with him, and Matt knew that he was sowing seeds that would
later bare fruit.
Matthew had been attending church since he was very young. Before he could walk he
was pushed to church in a pram. By the age of eight he joined the church choir, though only
because he’d been told that at each wedding he sang at, he’d be paid a pound. The down
side of being in the choir though was the fact that he had to attend three church services
every Sunday. By the age of 18 he’d heard more than 1500 sermons, but despite this he
only half believed in God, and though he was committed to attending church regularly, he
wasn’t committed to living as a true believing Christian.
When Matt left home and went to college at the age of 18, he met some committed
Christians there and suddenly he realised that God wanted a personal relationship with him,
but for two years he kept God at arms length, as he wanted to live his life his own way, and
not live in a way that was pleasing to God. After hearing a sermon though his eyes were
finally unveiled and the penny dropped when he realised that Jesus had died on a cross for
him, rose again, and that by becoming a Christian Matt would be saved and would have
eternal life in heaven, and Matthew gave his life to the Lord when people were invited to
come forward for prayer.
When Matthew walked home that night after becoming a Christian, he felt an
overwhelming sense of God’s love and felt that Jesus was now living inside of him, and he
felt clean and free.
Years later, after Matthew had been in the police force, stationed in Guilford for about
seven years, him and his wife Guen, who he has two sons with, started asking God what he
wanted them to do in the future, and after a few months they felt that it was
overwhelmingly clear that God wanted them to leave their jobs and become missionary
They both joined an organisation called Youth with a mission, and after a period of
training went to Scotland and went to work in a Glasgow area called Possil Park. It was a
rough area, with a lot of crime and lots of people addicted to drugs, particularly heroin. At
the time they had an old Ford Capri, which regularly had windows smashed when petty
thieves broke into it.
On one occasion Matthew had been due to preach somewhere and stepped out of his
home to discover that his Capri had been stolen. Ironically, one of the local drug dealers
who like Matthew, said, “Don’t worry Maffew, I’ll find out who done it.” And a month later
he shouted through Matthews letter box at midnight, “Maffew. Maffew, I’ve found yer
He then took Matthew on a short drive to where Matthews Capri was and said, “I told
you I’d find out who done it. I only had to hit him once before he told me where the car
Matthew and Guen spent six years as missionaries in Glasgow, then felt it was time to
move on. Matthew then spent two years at Trinity college in Bristol and continued to work
for Youth with a mission.
Matthew has now been in ministry for 29 years and has been a pastor for 15 years. And
for the past seven and a half years he’s been the pastor at Christ Church Anerley, in South
East London, and his wife Guen is one of the worship leaders there, and one of their sons
Jonny also does a lot of work for the church.
Matthew loves being a pastor, but said that the most difficult part of this is that its not a
9 to 5 job, but more like a 24/7 occupation. Sometimes he’ll get calls from people in crisis
very late at night and in the early hours of the morning. And he’ll then need to minister and
pray for these people. People also sometimes turn up on his doorstep with problems at any
time, and sometimes people can be quite troublesome. I’e, people with addictions
desperate for money, who see Christians as a soft touch. But despite this, Matthew never
really feels on edge. As a policeman many years before, he’d had to deal with a lot of heavy
and serious stuff, including disarming knife wielding criminals. He’d also worked on serious
crime and murder investigations, and after being trained for this kind of thing, there’s not a
lot now that fazes him, so he feels that having been a policeman has helped him become a
better and stronger pastor.
Being a pastor though can be stressful at times and one thing Matt does to relax is take
part in sport. He plays football, cricket and badminton. And he enjoys watching sport on
the telly and is a big football fan of Leeds United and Crystal Palace.
Matthew says, “The best thing about being a pastor for me, is whenever I have an
opportunity, if I’m preaching or on a one to one, is actually leading someone into a
relationship with Jesus. Because I know how much Jesus changed my life, and when I see
someone give their life to Jesus, that is the most wonderful thing and privilege to be part
Matt also loves baptising people. He’s also been invited to Pakistan a couple of times to
preach and teach, and hopes to go back to Pakistan again in the future.
When I asked Matt if there was a final thing he’d like to say to anyone reading this article,
he replied, “Jesus is the one person who can totally change anybody’s life, because he really
is God, who came from heaven and for 33 years lived on earth, preached, healed the sick,
delivered people from demons, died on a cross to forgive everyone for our sins, and he’s the
one that set me free totally. And if Jesus sets you free, you’ll be free indeed.”