I wrote a letter to my family and friends a couple of weeks ago and thought it would be a good start to this site. So here it is:
Dear family, friends and friends of family,
I hope all is well with each of you and pray and trust that you are experiencing Jesus in ways that take you deeper and deeper into relationship with Him. I turned 42 just the other day (May 12) and while I was on a run, God pressed upon my heart again that I should write a letter to all of you to give you an update on the journey that God has had me on for the last 20+ years. I hope it brings you great encouragement.
The greatest decision, the biggest life-changing decision, and the decision that set the course for the rest of my life was a decision I made at 5. It was the decision to turn over my life to Jesus. As a 5 year old that was in the form of a request that went something like this: “Jesus, will you please forgive my sins and will you please come into my heart?” It was real then and it is just as real today. It was a game changer and it still is a game changer. It changed the course of my life and it still changes the course of my life. It transformed me then and it still transforms me now. Why? Because that is what relationship with Jesus, the one true God, does. He is infinite and we are finite and when finite meets infinite finite changes!!! When I was 14 I responded to another invitation of His to me and I told Him that I would follow Him wherever He led and that I would obey Him no matter what the cost. When I was 19 He began to teach me what it meant to be a son of His – to be a child of God (Romans 8:14 – 17). This has been my life-long journey: to know what it is to walk as a son. Also at 19 He invited me into His heart for the world and told me that He would use me to plant churches. It was then that He began to teach me about His love for the church.
At age 24 the second biggest life-changing and best decision was made: I married my Amanda. We have walked this life together for a little over 18 years and we have seen God’s greatness and have experienced His love and faithfulness. It has not always been easy, but He has been good and faithful to us. It has truly been awesome. After seven years of marriage we made the 3rd greatest life-changing decision: we decided to have children. We have 3 amazing children: Hayes who turned 11 in July, Maylin who turned 8 on May, and Teddy, our 6 year old Ethiopian son who we adopted 2 ½ years ago (if you all want to know that story let me know and I will be glad to share). Parenting is probably the hardest thing I do and yet the thing that brings the greatest joy.
At age 19 God invited me into His heart for the world and told me that He would use me to plant churches. Well, let me fill you in on what is going on with that whole journey. In 1999 Amanda and I found ourselves in Omaha working with about 70 young adults traveling all over the world doing mission work. At that time Jesus through the Holy Spirit began to remind me of His call on my life to plant churches. So we began to pursue this. We put together a team (2 doctors, an international lawyer, an administrator and a couple others) who had committed to Amanda and me to go with us wherever we wanted to plant a church. At that time we were praying into 13 underdeveloped cities in our world (all in the 10/40 window). But as we prayed God said to us that if we stayed in Omaha and invested into this generation that He wouldn’t just plant one church but He would plant many churches through us. So we stayed and were asked to start a young adult ministry for a large church. That ministry started with 15 people and grew to over 300 in less than 5 years. The whole ministry was geared to raise up young adults with a passion for Jesus and His purposes in the world and to train them to be church planters. 5 years into this young adult ministry the church came to me and told me that we were not going to plant churches. Two years later they released me with blessing to go and plant a church in Omaha.
In September of 2007 Waypoint Church was birthed with the mission to raise up followers of Jesus Christ and the vision to plant church multiplying movements all over the world. We have been alive and well for 6 years now and in those short years God has grown us to 350+ people with a staff of 10 (4 full-time and 6 part-time) here in Omaha and has allowed us to plant churches in Scotland, Thailand (2 teams), and Sicily (15 missionaries in all). Our Scotland church works among university students and are already in motion to plant a church in China. Our Thailand churches work among those who have been subject to the oppressive trafficking that goes on in many cities of our world and our Sicily team works among refugees of northern Africa. We have two schools that operate within our church: a discipleship school and a church planting school. God is allowing us to see the vision that He has given. But we have just begun. The vision is to be 3,000 in Omaha by 2024 and to have planted 30 churches. We are longing to see the kingdom of God come into places where there is no expression of His kingdom. We are longing for His glory to spread across this earth.
As a local church we are longing to see our city reached and transformed as well. We have been a mobile church for our entire existence meeting in 3 different buildings. But that is about to end. We just bought a building. It was an operational bowling alley up until we closed on it. Therefore we will have to gut it and renovate it. It is located in a part of our city that has great need. We are excited. We believe that God is giving us our place in this city and is inviting us to make a difference. Please pray for us as we move forward. We were able to buy the building with cash but now we will enter into a time of raising money so that we can renovate this building. This potentially is the biggest thing God has asked us to do up to this point. I was spending time with Lord the other day hanging out in 2 Kings 3. In that chapter is a story of Israel and Judah aligning armies to quell a rebellion of the Moabites. They were in the Desert of Edom and had walked 7 days without being able to find the Moabites and they were out of water. They panicked and that is when the prophet Elisha showed up with a word from the Lord. He told them that God was going to give the Moabites into their hands and that “tomorrow morning when you wake up the valley will be filled with water… and the is an easy thing for the Lord.” When I read that I sensed the Holy Spirit say to me, “Matthew, the vision I have given you to plant church multiplying movements all over the world and this capital campaign is an easy thing for me. If you will obey me I will fill the valleys with water.” So, once again I committed to obey Him no matter the cost and He is already beginning to fill the valleys.
The Lord so kindly reminded me of His promise just the other day: “If you will stay in Omaha and invest into this generation I will not only plant one church I will plant a multitude of churches. That is what is beginning to happen and it is good because He is good! Would you please pray for me, for my family and for Waypoint Church? We need your prayers. And would you pray about giving to this ministry? I would also like to invite you to check out our website and listen to my latest message. To do so go to: www.waypointomaha.com > Media > Podcasts > Whole Church for the Whole World (September 15).
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this letter. I hope you are encouraged!
In His love and service,
The building we bought and now will be renovating
We had a bowling night for our church before we started demolition.