“6 Questions with…” is an opportunity for women and girls everywhere to share something about their passions and lives. (It’s also a fantastic excuse for me to be really nosey and learn more about the incredible women I admire.)
This week I’m putting Esther from Mat&Est in the hot seat. I came across Esther, and her husband Mat, via their YouTube channel during a moment’s panic of “Ahhhh, all the Christian influencers in my life are American”. (If we’re honest, it was one of many such moments. Anyone else have that problem?) On discovering that there was a British couple creating purposeful Christian content on YouTube, I had to subscribe and watch their videos. It didn’t take many videos before I knew that I wanted Esther on here to talk about creating online content as a Christian, being part of a small church, and doing it all while working full time. But before I spoil the whole post, I’ll let Esther introduce herself…
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you come from. Paint a picture of yourself.
Hello everyone at Finding Chaya! My name is Esther and I’m a 25 year old teacher! My husband is a pastor & together we run a YouTube ministry called Mat&Est. I’m a real girly girl, and I’m passionate about mentoring women, helping them develop an authentic relationship with Jesus.
2) Along with your husband, you host a YouTube channel called Mat&Est. There aren’t many Christian YouTubers based in Britain that are using it as a platform to disciple (or at least that are easy to find, because I’ve looked for them!) What was it that prompted you to start the channel?
We decided to start the YouTube channel a couple of years ago; we had just gotten married and moved area, and Mat had a new job as a youth pastor in Cheshire. We really wanted to find a way to connect with the youth mid week, and so started putting YouTube videos together. We soon discovered a whole community on YouTube and found that there were people all around the world watching our videos and not just the youth in our local area!
3) You made a video in 2019 about the Enneagram personality system, which is really big in America and particularly the southern states but not in Britain. What was it that made you feel that this was something that needed to be discussed?
Well, my teaching specialism is within the Social Sciences, and so I found the whole idea of personality tests really interesting. A couple of Christian-specific Enneagram Instagram pages kept popping up for me and it we felt that the whole idea of using personality tests as a tool to help you learn more about having an individual relationship with God really interesting. So that’s why we decided to discuss it!
4) Along with running your YouTube channel, you have a really busy full-time job. How do you balance making the videos, working, and your other responsibilities so that you have a John 10:10 style full life rather than a stressed out over-full life?
This is definitely something I am working on, and I definitely don’t get the balance right all the time. Being a teacher isn’t one of those jobs you can just ‘leave at work’ there’s always more lessons to plan, marking to do etc. Some things I’ve learned that helps me is to be really intentional with planning your time, so making sure I only spend a certain amount of time marking, a certain amount of time on videos. It is a really busy season for us, especially with Church, and so just making sure we have a couple of times a week just resting/hanging out with each other is what we aim for.
5) You live in a small town in Derbyshire and are part of a small Pentecostal church. What have been the highlights and challenges in helping to build up the church there?
Well, the church we are currently at (where Mat has worked for about 1.5 years since we moved back to Derbyshire from Cheshire) is actually the church where I grew up. So it’s been really amazing to go and be a part of shaping the future there. Highlights have definitely been getting to build church, community & culture together with each other and some amazing friends and family. It’s great to have new people come to Church and get planted. Challenges as a smaller church (we have about 50 people), is that sometimes people come to visit us after having been to much larger congregations and expecting a ‘show’ style service or a finished ‘product’ and being a smaller church we are just not going to have that same level of ‘showiness’ that a large church with multiple volunteer teams will have. But, we are an authentic community of people who love each other, love God, and are seeking to be relevant and modern for the people in our area!
6) At Finding Chaya, we believe wholeheartedly that God wants to see women rise up and take a stand for the Gospel. What have been the challenges for you in standing firm in the Gospel, particularly at a time when society seems to be moving away from it?
I think one of the major challenges most Christians face today is that people have preconceived ideas of what they think Christians ‘should’ be like, or how they expect them to act. They have a certain understanding of Christianity as not being relevant to them or to their lives…so it’s definitely always a challenge to push past peoples perceptions of Christianity so they can see the fullness of life Jesus came to offer each one of us. Another challenge I think especially with social media, maybe especially for women, is the pressure to be ‘perfect’ or look perfect all the time. I think sometimes we can feel the pressure to portray that our lives are always amazing, and that we never have any struggles in our life/faith. I think to truly stand firm for the Gospel we have to be willing to truly share our lives, the ups and the downs!