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Matthew Kratz
Pastor

I was raised in a fine home. Both my mother and father were and are practicing Roman Catholics. As a boy, I attended the Roman Catholic Church with my parents every Sunday. I was educated in a Roman Catholic school, was an altar boy, and observed the sacraments. Very early on in my childhood, through the Godly counsel of my parents and others, God enabled me to realize that I am a sinner, separated from God because of my sin, with no standing before him, needing the finished work of Christ,  reconciliation with the Father, and God enabled me to repent of my sin and trust Him.

 

Through God working in my heart as a young child I loved Him and realized that ritual was not enough. I realized that I needed to be obedient to Jesus in attitude, words and actions. Unfortunately, the sum of my understating of God and His expectations was limited in parable form: through stories and general principles. I still lacked a concept of what a Christian life was. I knew it meant more than works but no one around me ever discipled me in faith nor ever taught me any type of a systematic theology, how to read the Scriptures, or even appeared interested in anything the Bible said for that matter. My theological understanding as a child and many years after that was extremely limited. I cannot put a date to my conversion, for I don’t recall hearing the words salvation, conversion or born again. Looking back I realize that I acknowledged the facts of the Bible as true, understood that they presented the only hope for eternal standing with God (salvation) and I put my trust in Christ and Him alone for eternal life.

 

My realization of a truly changed life came when my parents recognized me as an adult and gave me the choice on how or even to worship. I realized that I need to worship God and give Him constant thanks. I needed to serve Him out of love and thanks. My wife has been a tremendous blessing to me. God providently brought her into my life, showing me a godly example of surrendered submission and love. Through her example and godly family, they have been instrumental in moulding me to what I am today. Since I was baptized as an infant, I made the public declaration of my belief on July 18, 1993 through believers baptism by immersion.

 

As I continued to minister in the “secular” workforce, it was frequently suggested to me to consider pastoral ministry. I found many excuses to avoid doing this but God continued to work through His saints and prayer for me to pursue this path. I began seminary and started teaching in my local church. I came to see that God has given me gifts and talents that allow me to minister to His people in love. I have realized and it has been confirmed through feedback from respondents, that God has given me the spiritual gifts of the ability to give wise advise (wisdom), faith, discernment (1 Cor. 12:8-10) teaching, helps (1 Cor. 12:28), encouragement, leadership (Rom. 12:1-8) evangelism and shepherding (Eph. 4:16). I cannot neglect the gifts with which he has blessed me with (1 Tim. 4:14) and cannot but speak and serve (Acts 4:20).

 

Through the affirmation of others (Acts 13:3; 14:23; 1 Tim. 4:14) and fruit (Mt. 7:16-20) evident in their lives, I find great joy in God using me to equip His saints for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:12). Careful examination by myself and others have confirmed the moral qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 for pastoral ministry. I have no greater desire that to glorify Him by being His instrument in pastoral ministry (1 Tim. 3:1). 

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