He is the new president of the Acts 29 Network, he just released his first book, and today he kicks off a seven-city book tour. Matt Chandler is a busy man. Now serving in his tenth year as the lead pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, Matt recently took a moment to talk ministry with us.
Matt, thanks for your time. You recently assumed responsibilities as the new president of Acts 29. Leading a network of churches like Acts 29 is no small task. What excites you about taking on this role?
I'm excited about planting churches that love Jesus and the scriptures, churches that engage the communities around them with the gospel. I've been a part of the network for almost seven years now, and we've planted several churches out of The Village through Acts 29. Those churches have gone on to plant churches that have planted churches. To give more of my life and breath to see that kind of exponential growth in the Kingdom seemed like a no brainer as we worked through the organizational needs of the network.
What do you foresee will be some of your biggest challenges in this new role?
Acts 29 has grown rather large as a network with over 400 churches on six continents. The biggest issues facing us now are organizational issues. We need to empower, and pass out power, to guys in the network who can help shepherd other men who desire and feel called by God to preach, pastor, and lead His bride.
In late May you'll be teaching at the Next Conference in Orlando on "The Church and Culture: Reaching out Without Selling Out." What are a few ways the church does sell out when reaching out?
The tendency historically has been to soften the message so that people might believe the message. The temptation is to give Jesus a makeover so that he might be more appealing to our time and place. The problem with that is that once you change who Jesus is, you've changed who people are asking to be their savior. A make-believe Jesus, the one that's not the biblical Jesus but your version of Jesus, doesn't have the power to save you. I earnestly believe that the solution is to "preach the full counsel of God" in a way that's winsome and straightforward. We must explain from the scriptures why God's way is better than ours, and then call for confession and repentance.
Finally, there have been a bushel of books on the gospel published in the past five years or so — which is great. What is the main contribution you hope Explicit Gospel makes in the Church?
My earnest hope in writing the book, and I think you can tell this from the title, was to try and make it clear that the gospel needs to be explicit and not assumed. I also wanted to encourage any group that might want to reduce the gospel to trust the Scriptures and to use history as a guide for where historic errors have been made as opposed to an authority on how to do ministry.
Matt, thank you for this update.