Different perspectives are one of the cornerstones of Downtown Faith. In partnership with New Church located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Pastor Matt Richardson of that congregation will be the guest speaker on Sunday, July 26.
Matt will speak about the concept of wonder, an overview of his five-part series he recently completed at New Church.
“I was inspired by my children, to take on a child-like faith with a sense of wonder and amazement while being awestruck,” he explains. “Jesus does not want our faith to be boring or mundane. We need to get caught up in the wonder of who our God is to us.”
Matt will speak about the parents who tried to bring their children before Jesus, only be scolded by the disciples. Jesus admonished his disciples about innocence and faith, as demonstrated by children.
As a child, Matt grew up in a home where the family loved Jesus and focused on their church home.
“However, it is both a blessing and a curse, growing up in the Midwest in the Bible belt of America. Jesus is a household name, but it can become almost numbing. I attended church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Tuesday night, and Wednesday night. As I got older, Jesus became a hobby as someone in my life but almost like a genie in the bottle,” explains Matt.
He had his own plans for his life and was looking forward to doing many things and accomplishing goals. Matt wanted to live the most comfortable lifestyle possible.
Then, during his senior year in high school…
“Jesus got a hold of my heart and worked inside me. He made it very clear that He was calling me to do more than what I had planned.”
At age 18, Matt committed to enter the ministry, even though many people tried to dissuade him from his choice, implying that he would be wasting his God-given talents.
“I knew to ignore His to call would have been complete disobedience on my part,” he says. “I continued in His ministry.”
Matt obtained his degree from Cincinnati Christian University, served in student ministry for 12 years, and then a church-planning residency.
In March of this year, he accepted the lead pastor position at New Church in North Carolina. His timeline was that his family arrived in North Carolina on March 2, he officially took over the duties of the lead pastor on March 8, and his family was quarantined on March 9. All of his services have been virtual until July 12, and Matt had only walked into his church once in four month before live services began again in July.
While some might view moving and serving during the pandemic a hardship, Matt sees it as a blessing. It allowed him connect with his family since all of their friends and family live outside the state. Matt could really help his wife adjust and be a stay-at-home dad to his 5-year-old and 2-year-old due to circumstances.
“All of the staff at New Church has grown close due to Covid-19. Anytime people go through a traumatic experience together, they can get close very quickly,” laughs Matt. “We create a unified bond, and look forward to working together in the future.”
Matt is excited about speaking for Downtown Faith and looks forward to visiting one day.
You can watch Matt’s talk and discuss with friends and/or family this Sunday, July 26th or next, August 2nd.
Interview & Article by: Debbie Hall