I used to hate church. I hated going through the motions. I hated announcements that would last a third of the service. I hated pot-luck dinners. I hated that I was part of a church that did nothing to help those around me or make the world a better place. I hated that the church did a better job of pushing people away from Jesus than drawing people toward Him. And more than anything, I hated that I hated church.
I wanted to love church. More than that, I dreamt of loving church. I dreamt of experiencing Christ’s presence in worship and then leaving there to change the world through His Spirit. I dreamt of hearing music in worship that inspired me to be the person God wanted me to be. I dreamt of being a small part of a church that would stand with the lost, least, and hurting. I dreamt of a church that wouldn’t water down the Bible yet preached the simple truths that Christ loves us unconditionally without judgment, guilt, or shame. I dreamt of being part of something that was bigger than me. I dreamt about a place that would help my kids fall head-over-feels in love with the Lord. I dreamt of a place that people actually looked forward to attending and serving. I dreamt of a place without a steeple, where the people truly were the church.
I dreamt of a place that didn’t create spiritual zombies but the people God has originally called us to be. I dreamt of a place that could use my odd sense of humor. I dreamt of a place where I could talk about my love for Jesus and college sports in the same conversation. I dreamt of a place where my wife, Carey, and two kids, Noah and Hannah, weren’t known as being the pastor’s family as much as friends. I dreamt of a place that would take me, and anyone else, as we are and help us grow to greater heights as we serve the Lord and world with our unique gifts.
In November of 2007, my dream came true when God began Greater Heights UMC. As I look back, I realize that those dreams are just the beginning of a beautiful story that is still being written. Many wonderful chapters lie ahead, and I am more excited than ever to see what wonderful things God will do through Greater Heights UMC!
~Matt Evans, Lead Pastor