Matt Chandler (pastor)

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Matt Chandler
Born (1974-06-20) June 20, 1974 (age 40)
Seattle, Washington
Occupation President of the Acts 29 Network, Pastor, Author
Years active 1992-present
Notable work The Explicit Gospel, Creature of the Word
Spouse(s) Lauren
Children Audrey, Reid, Norah
Theological work
Era Late 20th and Early 21st centuries
Tradition or movement Evangelical, Calvinist, Southern Baptist
Notable ideas Complementarianism, Reformed Soteriology

Matt Chandler (born June 20, 1974) is the lead pastor of teaching at The Village Church, a Southern Baptist[1] church in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and the President of the Acts 29 Network.[2] As of October 2012, Chandler is in the top five of the leading podcasts on iTunes. Chandler's first book, The Explicit Gospel, was released in 2012 and co-authored by Jared Wilson. In it he explains what the Gospel is and how it has been misunderstood.


Chandler was born in Seattle, Washington. His father was in the military, causing him to move multiple times. He ventured to Olympia, Washington; Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; Alameda, California and Galveston, Texas.[2] There, the 6' 5" Chandler was a member of the high school football team. He often mentions that at the age of 17, one of his football teammates shared the gospel with him.

Following high school, Chandler acquired his first job, as a janitor at Pine Drive Christian School in Dickinson, Texas. Chandler first spoke in front of a crowd when he was asked to share his testimony at a high school chapel. After sharing his testimony, he was offered a job as a youth minister at a small Baptist church in La Marque, Texas at the age of 18.[3] Chandler then moved to Abilene, Texas where he attended Hardin-Simmons University. While there, Chandler then began leading the weekly Grace Bible Study at the Paramount Theater in that grew from a couple hundred attendees to a couple thousand. Chandler earned a Bible degree from Hardin-Simmons University. In 1996, Chandler was hired on Beltway Park Baptist Church staff where under pastor David McQueen's leadership his value for the local church was restored.[4] In 1999, Chandler started a non-profit called Waiting Room Ministries with close friend Shane Barnard, who would eventually form the Christian musical group Shane & Shane.[5] Chandler has twice started seminary classes but has dropped out both times.[6] He married his wife, Lauren, on July 31, 1999, and they have three children: Audrey, Reid and Norah.[7]

A woman on the board of his non-profit organization asked Chandler to put in a résumé at Highland Village First Baptist Church. Chandler claims he did not expect to get the job due to conflicts in beliefs.[8] Despite this, he was offered the job, and in 2002 he accepted the position. The church at that point had an attendance of 160 people and has since grown to over 10,000 attendees.[3] Chandler says his character was partially shaped by John Piper.[8]

On Thanksgiving morning in 2009, Chandler had a seizure at his home[9] and was later diagnosed with anaplastic oligodendroglioma, a malignant brain tumor.[10] Chandler commented in June 2010 that he believed that God healed his cancer.[11] Chandler received treatment at Baylor University Medical Center and was given a clean bill of health in September 2010.

In March 2012, Chandler was named president of Acts 29 Network, succeeding Mark Driscoll, who had helped found the network of church planters. Acts 29 Network is a partnership of church plants that has grown to over 400 churches in the United States and abroad.[12]

Theological views[edit]

Distinction between Israel and the Church[edit]

Chandler makes a distinction between Israel and the church, as two different bodies that God created at different points in history. Chandler sees the church as being created by God through Christ's preaching, "God created the Church through the proclaimed gospel of the revealed Word, Jesus Christ." [13]

Christian hedonism[edit]

Christian hedonism, a phrase coined by John Piper, teaches that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him" and that God's highest pursuit ("his glory") and man's deepest and most durable joy come together in one pursuit—namely, the pursuit of satisfaction in God.[4]

Gender roles[edit]

Chandler holds to a complementarian view of gender roles. This view states that man and woman are absolutely equal in essence, value and dignity, but that they were created and called by God for distinct roles within the home and church. A husband is charged to humbly and lovingly lead, protect and provide for his wife and family, while the wife should joyfully and intelligently affirm and submit to her husband's leadership. Men are also to bear the primary responsibility of leading the local church; therefore, the office of pastor/elder is restricted to men. Chandler believes that men are supposed to be the primary breadwinners and that they were designed to be "cultivators, growers, nurturers, and builders".[4][14][15]

Calvinistic Soteriology[edit]

Chandler’s soteriology is Calvinistic.[16] This view states that man’s “response to the gospel is rooted and grounded in the free and unconditional election of God for His own pleasure and glory.” [17]

Spiritual gifts[edit]

Regarding spiritual gifts, Chandler is a continuationist. [4] [18] He believes that supernatural gifts such as prophecy, miracles, healings and speaking in tongues have not ceased and should be eagerly desired and exercised within the church under the authoritative parameters that Scripture provides.

The Village Church[edit]

The Village Church is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex consisting of five campuses: Flower Mound, Dallas Northway, Denton, Fort Worth, and Plano.[19] The Village Church considers itself to be "gospel-centered." Their mission statement reads, "At The Village Church, the means by which we will pursue the glory of God in the making of disciples is four-fold: gospel-centered worship, gospel-centered community, gospel-centered service and gospel-centered multiplication.[20] Chandler is an elder and the lead pastor of Teaching at The Village Church, and he claims the church has an average growth rate of over one thousand people per year. He believes the ensuing growth after his arrival helped him to make many changes, including switching to all male eldership.[8]


Matt Chandler's first book is titled The Explicit Gospel.[21] The book was published by Crossway Books in 2012, and was written with the help of Jared Wilson. RELEVANT Magazine explains that the purpose of the book was to clarify the gospel and its implications.[22] The book is divided into three main sections: The Gospel on the Ground, The Gospel in the Air and Implications and Applications. In the Gospel on the Ground, Chandler focuses on who God is and His holiness, man's role in God's plan, including the fall, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the response man should have to it all. In the Gospel in the Air, he focuses on how the Gospel affects all of creation including the redemption and restoration of creation, making all things new.[23] The last section focuses on why the perfect balance between the first two sections is crucial.

His second book is titled Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church,[24] a book he wrote with fellow Village pastor Josh Patterson and LifeWay Vice-President Eric Geiger. Published by B&H Publishing Group, the book is described this way: "When the gospel is rightly declared and applied to God's people, the church becomes "a creature of the Word." She understands, embraces, and lives out the reality of Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection in more than her doctrinal statement. The gospel impacts all the church is and does."


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Brain Cancer Tests a Young Pastor's Faith", MSN, Associated Press, 31 January 2010, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  3. ^ a b Chandler, Matt, "Matt Chandler - Elder", The Village Church, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  4. ^ a b c d Wishall, Garrett (22 February 2010), "'I am going to keep my face like flint toward the Lord and do what He has called me to do' – Matt Chandler", Towers, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  5. ^ Piper, John, Autobiography, Part 1, desiringGod, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  6. ^ Chandler, Matt (12 February 2009), "Thoughts Concerning Seminary", The Village Blog (The Village Church), retrieved 2012-12-15 
  7. ^ "Matt Chandler", The Resurgence, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  8. ^ a b c Driscoll, Mark, "Interview with Matt Chandler", The Resurgence, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  9. ^ Hansen, Collin (14 December 2009), "When the Pastor Suffers", Christianity Today, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  10. ^ Hodges, Sam (26 November 2010), "Young Pastor Turns Struggle with Cancer into Year of Teachable Moments", The Dallas Morning News, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  11. ^ Olsen, Ted (4 June 2010), "Matt Chandler: 'I Really Do Believe the Lord Has Healed Me'", Christianity Today, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  12. ^ Stetzer, Ed (March 28, 2012). "Matt Chandler Named New President of Acts 29". Christianity Today. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Chandler, Matt (11 August 2007), The Role of Men - Part 1: Defining Masculinity (PDF), retrieved 2012-12-15 
  15. ^ Chandler, Matt (19 August 2007), Role of Men - Part 2: Men as Husbands (PDF), retrieved 2012-12-15 
  16. ^ 'God Saves' – Matt Chandler 
  17. ^ 'What We Believe' – Sovereign Grace Ministries 
  18. ^ Chandler, Matt (2010-05-18). Matt Chandler on being a reformed charismatic. Interview with Adrian Warnock. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 
  19. ^ History of The Village Church, retrieved 2015-02-17 
  20. ^ What We Believe, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  21. ^ Chandler, Matt; Wilson, Jared (20 March 2012), The Explicit Gospel, Wheaton: Crossway, ISBN 978-1-4335-3003-6, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  22. ^ Holland, Adam (3 May 2012), "Review: The Explicit Gospel", RELEVANT magazine, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  23. ^ Chandler, Matt; Wilson, Jared (20 March 2012), The Explicit Gospel, Wheaton: Crossway, p. 90, ISBN 978-1-4335-3003-6, retrieved 2012-12-15 
  24. ^ Chandler, Matt; Patterson, Josh; Geiger, Eric (1 October 2012), Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church, Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, ISBN 978-1-4336-7862-2, retrieved 2012-12-15 

External links[edit]

  • "The Story of Matt Chandler": an audio interview of Matt Chandler by Mark Dever of 9Marks. Matt Chandler personally states some of his theological distinctives 23 minutes into this interview.
  • "John Piper Interviews Matt Chandler":