Matt Some of you know that my son Matthew is a church planter in Streamwood, Illinois. This past Lord's Day I had my first opportunity to preach for Matt, who is away on vacation with his family. I will preach for him again next Sunday, May 17, the day after he returns. This means that we will share ministry together in this public way for the first time ever. I can't begin to describe what a joy and honor this will be for me as his father.

I was introduced last Sunday (May 10) by Matt's father-in-law, Ed Vega. Ed shared how he knew me and then when and how he met Matt for the first time. He said, after first meeting Matt, "I would love to see my daughter marry a young man like Matt." When I first heard about Adriana Vega I called her pastor and said, "Tell me about this young woman." My friend said, "John, she is as good as it gets. She would make a great wife for the right man." Well, Matt and Adriana have shared thirteen years together and they are a great couple and have a great ministry with people, both of them.

I spent some time sharing personally with one of the newer converts at New Hope Community. This brother is 66 years old. He was a life long Roman Catholic who had never understood the need for saving, personal faith in Christ alone. He has not become an anti-Catholic at all but he is now alive in Christ. And he is so moved by what God has done in his life now that he is a "new" creation in the most magnificent way. We talked about how his wider family cannot understand what has happened to him. I was encouraged that he is not judgmental toward them but open and prayerful. I often meet new converts who easily despise their Catholic family and their Catholic training and past. Thankfully this brother has not been taught this way and is part of the larger missional effort that New Hope is a part of in Streamwood. This expression of Christ;s kingdom includes the local Roman Catholic Church, which meets next door to the park district building where New Hope gathers each Lord's Day morning.One of Matt's very good friends is a deacon there.

Someone asked me today, "What exactly do you (i.e. me and ACT 3) do?" I answered, "I attempt to equip leaders to experience unity in Christ's mission." They said, "What does that look like?" I answered, not pridefully I hope, "Just like Matt Armstrong and New Hope." Matt expresses a deep ancient-future faith in a missional context with a profound commitment to Christian unity among all the churches in his community. He has deep friendships with the leaders of all the churches (save one fundamentalist church that fellowships with no other local church in Streamwood) and is involved in seeking to transform the city for Christ. I could not have a better son!

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  1. Gene Redlin May 12, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Sounds like Matt is avoiding a trap that many fall into as things are changing. I heard this about that today, it’s worth repeating:
    “The people of God who are not at all moving through this transition cannot possibly understand what is going on and will turn to their previous teaching and understanding and reject much of what God is doing in changing His people. They can quickly become affected by a critical spirit and fight against what God is doing while thinking they are protecting the pure doctrines of the church”. Ron McGatlin

  2. Dave Moorhead May 14, 2009 at 1:29 am

    I’m so glad you had a chance to minister at Matt’s church! That makes two New Hope Community Churches you’ve preached in in the last few months! Come back to the Valley soon!

  3. P. Andrew Sandlin May 15, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    John, what a great blessing and what a great son you have!

  4. Nick Morgan May 16, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    that’s a great blessing and privilege to have Matt following in your footsteps and convictions as well. I was glad to hear about the brother who is attending New Hope that has the Roman Catholic background and has come to a living faith in Christ. It is sad that he couldn’t find that in the Roman Catholic Church. Praise God for the renewal we are experiencing in the RCC! I’m grateful that he is not hostile to the RCC. My biggest concern for the former Catholics I know is that they are usually angry and hostile toward the RCC; and it is almost always based on misunderstanding and faulty teaching about the Catholic Church.
    I will pray that God will continually pour out His blessing on the ministry He has given Matt.
    God bless!

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