Matt Henslee: We need these small church pastors in leadership roles, because they do know what they're doing. They are doing incredible work. They're great preachers. They just are kind of out of the limelight.
Karl Vaters: Hi, I'm Karl Vaters and I'm a small church pastor. And welcome to Can This Work in a Small Church?
My guest today is Matt Henslee and the subject is small churches in denominational leadership.
Matt has written or co-written several books, including Jonah over Coffee and Replanting Rural Churches. Until very recently, he was the pastor of May Hill Baptist Church in May Hill, New York. And then he had a recent change of roles, which is what we'll be talking about in the conversation today. He's been recently appointed to denominational leadership on both the regional and national level, and it really made headlines recently.
So we talk about that and specifically about how he came to this position because of his small church. And don't forget to stick around when the interview is done, I'll come back with an overview of the content and an answer to the question, “can this work in a small church?”
Well, Matt, so grateful that you are with us today on Can This Work in a Small Church?
You have recently, or you are currently, in the process of transition from having pastored a small church for several years, and now you're heading into a position for your denomination, the Southern Baptist convention. It’s a position that has usually been—at least in my history and my understanding of it for most denominations—these kinds of positions are usually pastors of big churches or denominational executives. But here you are as a small church pastor.
So could you describe to us—particularly for those of us, like me, who are not Southern Baptists, who don't understand the environment that you're in—where are you coming from? Where are you stepping into? And how did that all come about?
MH: Yeah, sure. So, I'm coming from May Hill, New Mexico—May Hill Baptist Church—where I've been serving for the last four-and-a-half years here in rural, Southern New Mexico. We're a town of about 56 people, and in the mountains.
KV: Hang on, hang on. Did you just say a town of 56 people?
MH: Yes, sir.
KV: Okay. I just wanted to be sure I got that right.
MH: And, and so we're in the mountains. We've got elk and deer and all of that kind of stuff around us and just a great church that is growing in loving others and, and sharing the gospel as we go.