If you were to ask Matt to take you to his childhood home, he may be just as likely to drive you to New Heights Central Vancouver as he would the Hazel Dell home his parents still live in. Born and raised in Clark County, Matt was also very much born and raised at New Heights Church. It was the people of this church that first introduced him to Jesus and helped shape his early faith.
After graduating from Columbia River High School, Matt set off for Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. While away at college, the seeds of his faith grew into maturity as did Matt’s love for serving Jesus and His church. Sensing the Lord was calling him into a career of full-time ministry Matt traveled home each summer, serving as an intern at New Heights.
Upon graduation, Matt moved back to Vancouver and dove head first into … everything! Ministry, as the college pastor at New Heights. Marriage, to Melissa, who he first met when they were students in the high school ministry. And Multnomah Biblical Seminary, in pursuit of a Master’s degree.
In many ways, the next 12 years unfolded as one might expect – Matt’s ministry grew, overseeing college students, young adults, young marrieds and serving as Campus Pastor of the Sunday night service. Matt and Melissa’s family grew too, Nolan arrived in 2007, Asher in 2010 and Elsie in 2013. All signs pointed to Matt serving on staff at New Heights for the remainder of his working years.
And then, God called Matt once again. This time it was a step of faith that felt foreign and uncomfortable. Through much prayer, Matt and Melissa believed the Lord was asking them to trust Him with their future and leave the comfort of ministry at New Heights. So, they did.
While that step of faith was uncomfortable, it was fruitful. In the 7 years that followed, Matt and Melissa learned a new level of dependence on God, watching as time and time again He acted – opening doors for Matt and providing for their family. As they settled into this faith walk, Matt continued to serve at New Heights, both as a volunteer teacher and elder, but they came to accept he would never enter back into full time ministry.
Until they heard the familiar call of God’s voice once again. A series of events made it clear that God was inviting Matt back home, to a pastoral role at New Heights. It was with great surprise and joy that he rejoined the staff as Executive Pastor in July of 2022.
As with each season the Lord has led Matt through, unknowns lie ahead. This moment, being named the Lead Pastor candidate, is certainly one of those unknowns Matt never saw coming. But, it’s with that same whole hearted dependence in God that Matt’s embracing this new call and looking to the future of New Heights. He is acutely aware that the legacy of New Heights isn’t leadership, it’s Jesus. It’s in that context, Matt’s eager to continue on in the pursuit of making more and better followers of Jesus, alongside the people of New Heights, trusting God will lead.