This morning I was blessed to publicly announce what we believe is God's call on the life of Brother Matt Rodgers to join our pastoral staff as our new children's pastor. Matt is no stranger to EBC. He was raised here, saved here, baptized here, and called to the ministry here. He met his wife Jif here at EBC.
After leaving EBC for vocational ministry, Matt served as the youth pastor at Patterson Baptist Church for several years. For the last 5+ years he has been the minister of youth and children at Jefferson Street Baptist Church in Dublin, GA. As Matt prepares to come preach in view of our church's affirmation, let me share a few reasons I am so excited.
1. Matt loves Jesus.
I sense a love for Christ every time I get around Matt. He is a man of honesty, transparency, and integrity. Those traits are all born out of a vibrant relationship with the Lord Jesus.
2. Matt loves his wife.
OK, the Ridgeway clan is the best thing to ever happen to Rhon and Matt. They both (like their pastor) married up! Of course those girls didn't do too bad either :) But in these days of immorality running rampant, it's nice to have a guy who still gets watery eyes when he talks about his beloved bride.
3. Matt loves his kids.
I confess I am partial toward adoptive parents...especially those who got a "blessed surprise" after they adopted. I can hardly wait to really get to know Matthew and Grayson.
4. Matt loves the Bible.
He understands that the only thing that will make a lasting difference in the lives of our children and their families is to be saturated in the Word of God. There will be plenty of room for "play time" in children's ministry but only subordinate to the declaration, memorization, and application of the Bible.
5. Matt loves our staff.
One benefit of calling a "home-grown" staff member is that we already know, love, and respect each other. Our staff enjoys wonderful relationships together and Matt will be a welcome addition to our team. We've already enjoyed some really sweet fellowship together and I look forward to much more.
6. Matt loves the church.
How could a person not have a special place for the church where they were saved, baptized, and called to the ministry? But Matt not only loves our church. He loves the church. He loves the organized, visible, tangible expression of the work of God in the world today.
7. Matt loves the gospel.
Much of what is labeled as "children's ministry" is nothing more or less than the sounding of a strange trumpet. What our kids need is to be taught that they are sinners apart from God and they must repent and believe. Not merely raise a hand, pray a prayer, and walk an aisle.
For these reasons and many more, I am thrilled that Matt accepted the leadership's invitation to join our pastoral staff. We will seek the church's affirmation immediately following the evening service on August 1st.