When Matt Chandler was younger he never wanted to be the pastor of 11 000 people. Having grown up with an abusive father and a legalistic approach to religion, Matt had a confusing and muddled view of God and Christianity. However, it wasn’t until one of his colleagues broached the topic of Jesus that Matt started on his rocky road to ministry.
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It took over a year of exploration and questioning before Matt decided to become a Christian. His first role as student minister came after he gave his testimony at the chapel service at Pine Drive Christian School, where he was the janitor. It was through this job that Matt learned about church programs, the history of church and how uncomfortable people are with change. The tumultuous beginning to Matt’s ministry career, made him abandon his job as he set his sights on a Law degree. Again, unforseen by Matt, he began to teach a bible study at his university which grew so rapidly that he found himself in itinerate ministry once again. Later, whilst working in a non-profit organisation, Matt was given an unexpected opportunity to become a minister at a small church in Dallas. Still not interested in ministry but feeling pressured by the gracious offer, he went through the interview process. It became clear to Matt that God was fully invested in him becoming the Pastor of this church as despite his disinterest, he got the role as pastor.
On a more personal note, Matt’s marriage and health caused more bumps in his road to ministry. In the early years Matt and his wife struggled in their marriage. Thankfully, they were counselled in the power of the covenant of marriage and with the help of counselling and the Holy Spirit, were able to work through it. Later, Matt was diagnosed with brain cancer and given three years to live. Through this unexpected and difficult season of Matt’s life, the Lord gave him many insights on suffering and grief that he would later pass on to his church.
Looking back on his life, Matt believes that rather than shaking his fists at the darkness and despair of the world, he would rather ignite little lights of the gospel and show someone looking into the darkness there is light with God.