7 Questions with Matthew Doty
Name: Matthew Doty
Current title: Visionary Pastor
Current organisation: Melbourne Lights Church
Matt and Elodie lead the eldership team at Melbourne Lights Church. Before taking over the leadership of the church in 2008, they were part of the eldership team for several years. They have ministered in many countries around the world including the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and South Africa. Matt and Elodie are a blessing to other churches and church leaders in the way that they strengthen, support and equip them to do the work of the ministry.
Matt is a confident and secure leader and has a strong preaching gift. He ministers with an apostolic anointing, laying strong Biblical foundations and bringing wise insight. He is a worship leader and he equips and trains others to lead worship in a way that ushers in the presence of God. He has a big vision to see the gospel preached and people discipled locally, nationally and in the nations.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
What I've found most challenging is to continually stay focused on Jesus and help people focus on Jesus despite what's happening around us. Whether people are coming or going, whether it's a season of harvest or a desert season, to stay focused on Jesus and open handed with people.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I grew up in the church and moved internationally 3 times with my parents. My parents were church leaders and we moved to Melbourne to plant Melbourne Lights when I was 16. They were amazing at always involving us as kids in hearing God together as a family. I was always involved in the church and ended up being part of the leadership team at a young age. Before taking over the leadership of the church in 2008, I was part of the eldership team for several years. We were handed the leadership from my parents when they responded to the call of God to plant again. I started leading Melbourne Lights Church at the age of 26.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I tend to look at my whole week and give certain days to certain tasks. For example, Monday is an admin and people day. Tuesday is preparing for leadership meetings throughout the week. Wednesday is my sermon prep day. Thursday is our big office day where we prepare for the weekend meetings. And I try to have Friday as a day off.
I generally wake up between 6 and 7am and spend time with the Lord. Then spend some time working out or running. My mornings are usually spend in administration, phone calls and preparing for meetings. Lunch and afternoons are spend more with people. If we have meetings at night I try and have some down time with my boys from about 4:30-6:30pm before heading out again. If we don't have meetings at night I'll get home about 5:30pm and take the kids to sports training or spend time together as a family.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Early in my leadership life another church leader recommended I read Wiki Church by Steve Murrell. It transformed the way I view leadership and releasing people to what God's called them to. My friend said, "Matt, in everything in life there's an inverse relationship between control and growth. The more you try and control, the less things can grow." Wiki Church helped solidify this truth in my life.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
There are lots of voices who want you as a leader to speak into lots of different issues or things that are happening in the world, but ultimately as a church leader our number one call is to stay focused on Jesus and help people stay focused on Him. If we move away from this, although it might please people, we ultimately lose our call.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
This is one of the big challenges as a leader because we're called to equip saints for works of ministry, but we can only work with the people God has given us. I believe a healthy leadership pipeline comes from spending time with people, giving specific focus to discipling/training around leadership, and then giving people opportunities to lead. We can do all the training in the world, but people learn best when they're doing it.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
I've been leading a church for 12 years and involved in church leadership for 20 years. In that time, as we deal with people, there are many opportunities to be offended, disappointed and closed off to people. It's not usually the one big blow that stops us, it's death by a thousand little cuts. I've seen many of my friends stop leading because of the pain of a thousand little cuts. But as leaders we have to learn to go to Jesus, take our burdens to him, find healing in him, and stay free. We have to stay open handed with people.