“I remember being a teenager and sneaking out of my parent’s place to go and listen outside of the local church. I had this undeniable feeling that God was in that building. I didn’t think I could go in though – I didn’t have an invitation.”
There are not many financiers around who moonlight as a pastor at their local church, spend their free time as a marriage counsellor on weeknights and drive go-karts on their Saturdays in the Wheatbelt town of Dowerin – but Renae Matich is far from your normal ‘bean counter.’
For Renae, her faith is simple but profound:
“I’ve never wavered from the belief that God is everything. As long as I have God in my life, I’m not missing out on anything.”
Life was not always so absolute for the young girl from Gooseberry Hill, whose first encounter with the gospel was at her local primary school when the teacher told the Year Six class that ‘you can invite Jesus into your heart.’
Despite not coming from a Christian home, Renae held onto that statement and, upon receiving a Gideon’s Bible as a student at Kalamunda Senior High School, she felt convicted that God existed and that she wanted a relationship with her Maker and Creator.
“I remember being a teenager and sneaking out of my parents place to go and listen outside of the local church. I had this undeniable feeling that God was in that building. I didn’t think I could go in though – I didn’t have an invitation.”
Remarkably, Renae chose to join a Christian group while at university despite never having attended a church service. Friends from the group invited her to a nearby church, and she never looked back. Renae met future-husband Phil during those early days, but their fledgling relationship had to endure a year of correspondence (‘snail-mail’) as Renae spent time in the slums of Chicago undertaking mission work with underprivileged youths there.
“I was the only white girl in the neighbourhood. It was certainly an eye-opening year of service. Again, I felt that God was in every situation – no matter where I was or whatever I was challenged with.”
Renae now partners with Phil in running the new KingdomCity Church plant in Midland’s Crooked Spire coffee shop. Despite starting the church just before COVID-19, their numbers are up around 160 per week and pastoral visits can consist of sitting on the front lawn and maintaining a social distance!
“It's certainly a strange way to start a church. But the Lord has blessed us through it all.”
Renae comes from a family of motoring enthusiasts, and her father instilled the entire family with a love of go-kart racing at a very young age. In recent weeks, there have been as many as eight of the extended family riding together – ageing from 7 years of age to Dad, who is more than 70 years of age!
Renae’s infectious Christian spirit has permeated her family too. Her father has come to faith later in life and her brother also attends church regularly with his family. Renae describes herself as ‘the little girl from the Hills who got saved’ and her life is a testimony to the contentment that comes from a saving faith.
“I remember reading my Gideon’s Bible as a teenager and thinking ‘those words are awesome!’ and then I would lose my place or close the book and I would have to read again for ages to find where I was at! It was God’s way of getting me to read my Bible more and more.”
Renae is the Assistant Finance Manager at SCEA Head Office.