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Matt Chandler, the Preacher Stung by Joy
Image: Jesse McKee

A three-day stubble adorns Matt Chandler's handsome, boyish face, belying his booming voice. It's actually "six-day" stubble, says Chandler, 39, laughing. Over lunch, Chandler's metaphor-driven mind is busy condensing big ideas into practical concepts, a trademark of his preaching and writing. As someone who preaches both "the gospel on the ground" (how Christ came to save individual sinners) and "the gospel in the air" (how Christ came to redeem all of creation), he may be well positioned to take a Reformed church-planting movement to new corners of Christendom.

"I think I'm intrinsically gifted when it comes to metaphors," he says. "I am constantly thinking, This resembles that." He tosses humor into sermons and conversations like pitching salt, so fast that listeners may miss words but get the flavor. His energetic preaching makes him a fitting choice to lead one of the fastest-growing international movements of "churches planting churches" today.

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A leader at the Village Church for 12 years, Chandler is entrancing if demanding to hang with. "His intensity is one of the first things you notice," says Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. "Just sharing a meal with him—the man's intense. He's confident but he's ready to learn." "I can be overbearing at times," says Chandler, a trait he says he wants to tamp.

And just as Mohler became president of the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) flagship seminary at the young age of 33, Chandler has now become the president of the Acts 29 Network. The 16-year-old "gospel-centered" band of churches aims ...

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Matt Chandler, the Preacher Stung by Joy
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May 2014

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