More & Better Day of Giving: Matt Murphy
In 2003, my then-girlfriend (now wife) Becky found a church online and suggested we check it out. We went to the local movie theater and encountered the launch of Common Ground Christian Church in Fredericksburg, VA. This was my first exposure to church planting. I was invigorated by the energy, passion, and mission of the church and Becky and I dove right in. By 2006, I knew I would be invested in and passionate about church planting for the rest of my life. I knew that there is nothing else on the planet with a more important mission, and the purpose, hope, honest faith, and deep community I had found at Common Ground were things that I wanted everyone I came into contact with to experience.
In 2009, Becky and I moved to my hometown, Annapolis, MD, because of a shift in my career. In Annapolis, we met Josh and Sarah Burnett, who had just moved to town to start the process of planting a new church. Becky and I knew we’d found a new home.
In October 2010, I was serving as the part-time worship pastor on launch Sunday of Revolution Annapolis, a safe place to ask the hard questions about God and faith. Revolution had a church planter in residence, Scott Ancarrow, and along with his wife, Amber, they were planning to start yet another church in Baltimore, 26 miles north of Annapolis. In September of 2013, when the Ancarrows launched The Foundry with the absolutely beautiful backdrop of Baltimore’s harbor, I was there helping them as their part-time creative arts pastor (while still serving at Revolution! I REALLY love church planting.)
In July 2014, I joined the Stadia team because I was given an opportunity to be a part of helping start dozens of churches. My dream from back in the days of Common Ground was coming true. Missiologist C. Peter Wagner said, “Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.” I knew this was true because I had seen it in action, and with Stadia, I could help more and more visionary leaders like Josh Burnett and Scott Ancarrow implement the vision God had given them and thrive.
The first time I sat in a room with the whole Stadia team, we were at Verve, a church in Las Vegas. I couldn’t believe I was in the room with this group of church planting veterans and thought leaders. I couldn’t believe I was going to be a part of an organization that had already established a track record of 90% of their church plants still thriving and sharing the Gospel at their fifth birthday. It was appropriate being in Sin City for that meeting, as this was a group of women and men staring Satan in the face and saying, “You can’t stop this.” (More specifically, we said, “You can’t stop this because we won’t stop until every child has a church.”)
I don’t fall in love easily. I’m pragmatic. I think about all the possible outcomes before I abandon myself to that emotion. If you are familiar with the Enneagram, I’m an eight. However, when I fall in love, I fall hard; like all-consuming, never want it to end hard. In middle school, I fell in love with Krist Novelselic’s bass playing on Nirvana’s Nevermind album. In college, I fell in love with Becky Foster and asked her to go out with me weekly, if not daily, from March of my junior year until she finally said, “Okay,” in October of my senior year. Fortunately, she said, “Yes,” the first time I asked her to marry me. I fell in love with church planting like that, too.
When I’m in love, I want to know everything there is to be known about the thing I’m in love with. Want to know about any number of famous bassists (yes, that’s a thing) from the last 40 years? I can probably help. In that room in Las Vegas, I found myself in the same room as many of the people I have been reading about and learning from. They were working with Stadia. Why? Because Stadia is committed to planting more and better churches, and we are aggressively answering God’s call to serve churches and leaders. We need experienced church planters, strategic-thinking project managers, detail-oriented bookkeepers, veteran coaches, people with fresh eyes and sharp minds – and we need people like you who are generous with their finances.
My wife and I give to Stadia, and I hope to continue increasing that amount for the rest of my life. We give because we know first-hand as both church planters and Stadia employees that what Stadia does for leaders will help them thrive and fulfill the mission of sharing the Gospel with their communities. Stadia comes alongside leaders and equips them, supports them, consoles them, and celebrates with them as they strive to change their towns by loving like Jesus loved and serving like Jesus served.
At the very outset of 2019, Stadia announced that we would be providing church planters with our services free of charge and with no strings attached. That has led to an explosion of new partnerships with other organizations with a vision to see communities transformed by new churches. It has led to an influx of new potential church planters the likes of which we have not previously seen. This year, we will plant more churches in the US than we ever have, and next year, we are gearing up to try to double this year’s number.
How many children will grow up with a church home because of these new churches? How many marriages will be saved? How many hungry people will get meals? How many tutors and mentors will be deployed into local schools? How many more times will we be able to cheer together because someone says, “I believe” for the first time?
If that isn’t something worth investing in, then I don’t know what is! I can’t wait to see the baptism pictures, the silhouetted shots of hands in the air as people sing praises together in a room that the previous year had only been thought of as an elementary school cafeteria.
Will you join Becky and I in generously supporting the starting of new churches by investing in Stadia? Join us on Stadia’s first-ever More and Better Day of Giving, September 25, 2019.
Since 2003, Matt has been involved as a volunteer leader and/or staff member in the early stages of four church plants. Two of these churches benefited from Stadia, so he has experienced first-hand how partnering with Stadia benefits churches. Matt has his MBA and has worked in project management in the medical research and development field. Previously Matt has served Stadia as the Director of Global Church Planting and Operations Executive. His passion is to maximize church planting through leadership and bringing clarity to the leaders he serves