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Rock Bridge,

I am writing this to you not only as your Lead Pastor, but also as a member of this amazing body of believers that I love so much. My calling and passion to serve as Lead Pastor of Rock Bridge, faithfully preaching God’s Word and providing strategic vision and leadership remains as strong as ever. I am writing today to share with you a decision and direction the Lord has been leading me towards since January. What began as an impression has now become a God-given conviction about a direction I am supposed to take. Since this will become public soon, I want to first share it with you—my church family.

Since the adoption of our boys, the Lord has deepened my compassion for those in poverty, especially children. In 2012, I began to better understand many of the challenges we face in our communities and how the church should mobilize in response. So our church launched a new initiative—H.O.P.E.—to help address several of these challenges, including poverty and its impact on our children.

Increasingly, I have come to realize that a high-quality education is one of the indispensable ingredients for ensuring children—whether in Ethiopia or Haiti or here at home—have the opportunity to achieve their God-given potential. This opportunity should exist regardless of a child’s zip code, their parents’ income, or their skin color.

This realization has been transformed into a conviction from God that I am to pursue a seat on the Dalton Public Schools Board of Education during the 2017 election. This is the system both of my parents retired from; this is the system Beth and I graduated from, and this is the system where our two boys currently attend school.

Since January, I have prayed, fasted, meditated on Scripture, and pursued godly counsel only to experience God’s providence and to receive greater clarity and a stronger conviction about this direction. Yes, I experienced doubt. But every doubt was followed by reassurances from God, including the affirmation of our Elders and Beth’s strong support. Our elders and my accountability partners see this as an extension of who we are at RBCC—people living sent to bless others in a variety of ways and platforms.

In the past, God has made it abundantly clear that I should attend the Naval Academy, marry Beth, start Rock Bridge, and adopt our boys from Africa. While God’s methods of communication have been different regarding this decision, He has been no less clear. I found the pattern of God’s call described in John Ortberg’s book If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat to be helpful:

  1. There is always a call.
  2. There is always fear.
  3. There is always reassurance.
  4. There is always a decision.
  5. There is always a changed life.

During this process of listening and discerning, my dependence on Him has increased, my prayer life has grown richer, and my commitment to Jesus and the cause of His Kingdom has grown deeper. However, I have had to fight against the fear of losing, the fear of experiencing people’s disapproval of me, and the temptation to put my identity in a position or an outcome, rather than in Christ. But God is faithful, and He has been clear. While I don’t know if it’s God’s will for me to be elected, I do know God is leading me to pursue this seat on the board. If elected, I’ll be driven by what is best for all of our kids, seeking the best possible educational outcomes for them.

As we move forward in this direction, the elders will continue to provide strong accountability, guardrails, and support for me. Furthermore, I will not use the pulpit of this church or any other Rock Bridge platform in the pursuit of this seat on the Board.

As my church family, I would greatly appreciate your prayers:

  • for the Lord’s will to be done
  • for me to represent Jesus in the public arena faithfully by displaying civility and compassion while offering wise, visionary, and strategic leadership
  • for God to use me in the places “He appoints, at the time He chooses, and with the provision He is pleased to make” (Sinclair Ferguson)

Live sent, Rock Bridge!

 

Matt

 

“…seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you …”

Jeremiah 29:7 {ESV}

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