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7 Questions with Matthew Thompson
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7 Questions with Matthew Thompson
Name: Matthew Thompson
Current title: Pastor
Current organisation: Trinity Lutheran Church
I was born in San Diego, California. My family and I have served the Lord together from coast to coast. We began ministry in a central Minnesota farming community during the 1980s farm crisis. This city-boy learned a great deal from these God-fearing farmers.
We later followed the Lord's lead as He moved us on to establish congregations near Minneapolis and Orlando. Now our children are grown with their own families. Currently, my wife and I are serving a congregation in the Silicon Valley.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
Over the years I have grown to value the art of waiting on the Lord. As a young pastor I would grow frustrated and discouraged when what I thought was God's will didn't happen in the time or manner I had hoped. In time, the Lord taught and enabled me to entrust my plans to Him, be faithful, and wait on Him.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I felt called to it as a child. I attended College (B.A.) then Seminary (M.Div.) and received my first formal call to serve out of the seminary.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Early in the morning my wife and I would spend time together in God's Word and prayer. We would gather for breakfast with the children then I would be off to the church. Once at the office I would work on correspondence, Sermon and Bible Study work, and scheduling. The afternoons I reserved for home visitations and visiting in the community. At nights we would gather for committee and board meetings. Thursdays I reserved for shutting calls. Mondays I slotted for my off day. As a family we would gather for daily devotions before dinner.
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?
Johann Walther's Pastoral. I learned how to apply God's Word in a way that suited the hearer. First, take time to get to know the person, develop trust as you seek to understand them. Then pray. Seek the Lord's wisdom and guidance. Humbly, lovingly, and effectively bring Christ with you into every interaction.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
By God's grace I was able to sit back and let my leaders lead, without micromanaging. It resulted in leaders who grew all the more excited about our work together
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
Stay in touch. Listen. Allow free exchange of ideas. Guard against a culture of fear. Emphasize that with God all things are possible. This is His church. Jesus is our Shepherd. Not even the gates of hell can prevail against that!
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
When I arrived at my first congregation (the country church) I didn't know where anyone lived. So I knew of an older gentleman who had recently lost his wife. We would spend the first months of my ministry driving from home to home throughout the countryside. He would introduce me to each household. We would talk on the way about the wonders I discovered. I learned the difference between a tractor and a combine, a cow and a steer. He vented his grief and we considered the comforts of Jesus's resurrection. This was a wonderful time of bonding with Christ's flock in this small country parish.