Matt Chandler (pastor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Matt Chandler
Born (1974-06-20) June 20, 1974 (age 48)
Occupation(s)Executive director of the board of the Acts 29 Network, Pastor, Author
Years active1992-present
Notable workThe Explicit Gospel, Creature of the Word
Theological work
EraLate 20th and Early 21st centuries
Tradition or movementEvangelical, Calvinist, Southern Baptist

Matt Chandler (born June 20, 1974) is the lead pastor of teaching at the Village Church, a Southern Baptist[1][2] church in Flower Mound, Texas, and the executive director of the board of the Acts 29 Network.

Early life[edit]

Chandler was born in Seattle, Washington. His father was in the military, causing him to move multiple times. They lived in Olympia, Washington; Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; Alameda, California, and Galveston, Texas.[3] In Texas, the 6' 5" Chandler was a member of the high school football team. He often refers to the fact that Jeff Faircloth, a football teammate, was quick to share the good news of Jesus with him in a way that intrigued Chandler. Over the course of two years, Chandler attended church gatherings, opposed the beliefs, raised questions, and doubts against Christianity before deciding to accept the teaching of Christianity.[4]

Education and career[edit]

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. He was then offered a job as a youth minister at a small Baptist church in La Marque, Texas, at the age of 18.[5] Chandler moved to Abilene, Texas, where he attended Hardin-Simmons University. While there, Chandler began leading the weekly Grace Bible Study at the Paramount Theater. Chandler earned a Bible degree from Hardin-Simmons University. In 1996, Chandler was hired by Beltway Park Baptist Church under pastor David McQueen.[6] In 1999, Chandler started a non-profit called Waiting Room Ministries with close friend Shane Barnard.[7] Chandler twice started seminary classes but dropped out both times because he felt that he had acquired the tools he was learning from seminary back in bible school.[8] He married his wife, Lauren, on July 31, 1999, and they have three children: Audrey, Reid and Norah.[9]

The Village Church and Acts 29 Network[edit]

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.[10] 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. Now known as The Village Church, it has since become a multi-site megachurch with over 14,000 attendees.[5] Chandler says his character was partially shaped by John Piper.[10]

In March 2012, Chandler was named president of Acts 29 Network, succeeding Mark Driscoll who had helped found the network of church planters but was later removed for a pattern of "ungodly and disqualifying behavior".[11] Acts 29 Network is a partnership of church plants that has grown to over 400 churches in the United States and around the world.[12]

Chandler is an elder and the lead pastor of teaching at The Village Church, which is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and consists of a single campus called Flower Mound.[13] [14] 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.[15] The church has an average growth rate of over one thousand people per year. Chandler believes the growth after his arrival helped him to make many changes, including switching to all male eldership.[10]

Theological views[edit]

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."[16]

Christian hedonism[edit]

Chandler believes in 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.[6]

Historic Creationism[edit]

Regarding creationism, Chandler refers to himself as a "historic creationist", taking the view presented by Old Testament professor Dr. John Sailhamer in his book Genesis Unbound.[17][18] Chandler describes the view, in his words, that God created the universe "in the early stages of an unknowable period of time" and that the days of creation were when "God groom[ed] a section of land that was uninhabitable… and prepare[ed] it for Adam and Eve and plac[ed] them in the garden and g[ave] them the cultural mandate, 'Go and make the rest of the world look like this. You're going to need a lot of help. Have a lot of babies.'" He affirms that the creation of the universe took place before the biblical Creation Week.[19]


Chandler holds to a complementarian view of gender roles. This view states that man and woman are equal in essence, value and dignity, but were created and called by God for distinct roles within the home and church. Husbands are charged to lead, protect and provide for their wives and families and wives to affirm and submit to their husbands' 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 were designed to be "cultivators, growers, nurturers, and builders".[6][20][21]


Chandler's soteriology is Calvinistic.[22] This view states that a person's “response to the gospel is rooted and grounded in the free and unconditional election of God for His own pleasure and glory.” [23]


Regarding spiritual gifts, Chandler is a continuationist.[6][24] He believes that supernatural gifts such as prophecy, miracles, healings and speaking in tongues have not ceased and should be exercised within the church under the authoritative parameters that Scripture provides.


Chandler's first book is titled The Explicit Gospel.[25] The book was published by Crossway Books in 2012, and was written with the help of Jared Wilson. Relevant explained that the purpose of the book was to clarify the gospel and its implications.[26] The book is divided into three main sections: The Gospel on the Ground, The Gospel in the Air and Implications and Applications.[27] His second book is titled Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church,[28] and was written with fellow Village pastor Josh Patterson and LifeWay Vice-President Eric Geiger. His latest book, Take Heart: Christian Courage in the Age of Unbelief was published in 2018 by The Good Book Company.[citation needed]


Handling of child molestation allegation[edit]

In June 2019, The New York Times reported that in 2015, Village Church and Chandler had placed Karen Hinkley under church discipline when she began annulment proceedings for her marriage to a man who admitted having an addiction to child pornography.[29] After initially being unable to have a face to face discussion with Chandler,[29] she later discussed the incident with Chandler, with Chandler apologizing and Hinkley accepting the apology.[30] The allegation was included in a report where Christi Bragg, a member of the church, "said that Mr. Chandler and church leaders failed to provide her family with sufficient answers and support after her family told them that her daughter had been molested." Bragg's daughter sued the church, alleging gross negligence and seeking damages. During a sermon, Chandler disagreed that the church had mishandled the case and stated that he had met with the family, which the family said was not true.[31][32] The church settled the case in 2022.[33]

Leave of absence[edit]

In August 2022, Chandler took a leave of absence from the Village Church after reportedly exchanging multiple Instagram direct messages with a woman who was not his wife.[33] The church hired boutique law firm Castañeda and Heidelman to conduct an investigation, with the church declining to share the report, stating they wanted "to honor the request of the woman Matt was messaging with not to be in the spotlight".[33] Chandler called the exchange "unguarded and unwise",[34] with church elders describing the leave of absence was "both disciplinary and developmental."[35] The church also states that the messages "were not sexual or romantic".

On December 4 of the same year, Chandler returned to preaching at the church. Chandler became the executive chairman of the board during his leave of absence, with the presidency being taken over by the previous executive director, Brian Howard.[36][37]

Personal life[edit]

Chandler married his wife Lauren in 1999. They have three children.[38]

In November 2009, Chandler had a seizure at his home[39] and was later diagnosed with anaplastic oligodendroglioma, a malignant brain tumor.[40] Chandler commented in June 2010 that he believed that God healed his cancer.[41] He received treatment at Baylor University Medical Center and was given a clean bill of health in September 2010.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "What is Our Denominational Affiliation?".
  2. ^ "Find a Church".
  3. ^ "Brain Cancer Tests a Young Pastor's Faith", MSN, Associated Press, 31 January 2010, retrieved 2012-12-15
  4. ^ Chandler, Matt, "Staff - The Village Church", The Village Church, retrieved 2015-12-15
  5. ^ a b Chandler, Matt, "Matt Chandler - Elder", The Village Church, retrieved 2012-12-15
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Piper, John (2009-02-04), Autobiography, Part 1, desiringGod, retrieved 2012-12-15
  8. ^ Chandler, Matt (12 February 2009), "Thoughts Concerning Seminary", The Village Blog, The Village Church, retrieved 2012-12-15
  9. ^ "Matt Chandler", The Resurgence, retrieved 2012-12-15
  10. ^ a b c Driscoll, Mark, "Interview with Matt Chandler", The Resurgence, retrieved 2012-12-15
  11. ^ "Mark Driscoll removed from the Acts 29 church planting network he helped found - The Washington Post". The Washington Post. 8 August 2014.
  12. ^ Stetzer, Ed (March 28, 2012). "Matt Chandler Named New President of Acts 29". Christianity Today. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  13. ^ History of The Village Church, retrieved 2015-02-17
  14. ^ Pursuant to a previously announced plan to spin off the non-Flower Mound locations as independent, autonomous congregations, three other prior locations – Denton, Plano, and Dallas Northway (which itself was a prior independent congregation, and at one time launched a mission church which is now the megachurch Prestonwood Baptist Church) – are now independent but still loosely associated with the main location.
  15. ^ What We Believe, retrieved 2012-12-15
  16. ^ "Ecclesiology of the New Calvinism - The Aquila Report". 2 July 2014.
  17. ^ Sailhamer, John (1996). Genesis Unbound: A Provocative New Look at the Creation Account (1st ed.). Multnomah Books. ISBN 978-0-88070868-5.
  18. ^ Sailhamer, John (2011). Genesis Unbound: A Provocative New Look at the Creation Account (2nd ed.). Dawson Media. ISBN 978-1-93565-121-5.
  19. ^ Chandler, Matt (2014). The Explicit Gospel. Crossway. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-1-4335-3003-6.
  20. ^ Chandler, Matt (11 August 2007), The Role of Men - Part 1: Defining Masculinity (PDF), retrieved 2012-12-15
  21. ^ Chandler, Matt (19 August 2007), Role of Men - Part 2: Men as Husbands (PDF), retrieved 2012-12-15
  22. ^ 'God Saves' – Matt Chandler
  23. ^ 'What We Believe' – Sovereign Grace Ministries, archived from the original on 2013-04-22
  24. ^ Chandler, Matt (2010-05-18). "Matt Chandler on being a reformed charismatic" (Interview). Interviewed by Adrian Warnock. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
  25. ^ Chandler, Matt; Wilson, Jared (20 March 2012), The Explicit Gospel, Wheaton: Crossway, ISBN 978-1-4335-3003-6, retrieved 2012-12-15
  26. ^ Holland, Adam (3 May 2012), "Review: The Explicit Gospel", Relevant, retrieved 2012-12-15
  27. ^ Chandler, Matt; Wilson, Jared (20 March 2012), The Explicit Gospel, Wheaton: Crossway, p. 90, ISBN 978-1-4335-3003-6, retrieved 2012-12-15
  28. ^ 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
  29. ^ a b Dias, Elizabeth (10 June 2019). "Her Evangelical Megachurch Was Her World. Then Her Daughter Said She Was Molested by a Minister". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  30. ^ Smietana, Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, Morgan Lee, and Bob (10 June 2015). "Former Member Accepts Acts 29 Megachurch Apology in Church Discipline Case". Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  31. ^ Dias, Elizabeth (12 June 2019). "Southern Baptist Convention Vows to Address Sex Abuse in Its Churches". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  32. ^ Dias, Elizabeth (26 July 2019). "An Evangelical Megachurch Is Sued for More Than $1 Million in Child Sexual Abuse Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  33. ^ a b c Dias, Elizabeth; Graham, Ruth (2022-08-29). "Prominent Evangelical Pastor Tearfully Steps Aside After 'Unwise' Relationship". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-08-30.
  34. ^ Silliman, Daniel. "Matt Chandler Steps Aside After Inappropriate Online Relationship". News & Reporting. Retrieved 2022-08-30.
  35. ^ "Matt Chandler Steps Aside After Admitting Inappropriate Relationship". The Roys Report. 2022-08-29. Retrieved 2022-08-29.
  36. ^ Smith, Mark (5 December 2022). "Matt Chandler returns to Village Church pulpit". Cross Timbers Gazette. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  37. ^ Graham, Ruth (5 December 2022). "Popular Pastor Returns After Absence Over an 'Inappropriate' Online Relationship". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  38. ^ Lenthang, Marlene (30 August 2022). "Texas pastor is placed on leave after online relationship with a woman, who was not his wife, is exposed". NBC News. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  39. ^ Hansen, Collin (14 December 2009), "When the Pastor Suffers", Christianity Today, retrieved 2012-12-15
  40. ^ Hodges, Sam (26 November 2010), "Young Pastor Turns Struggle with Cancer into Year of Teachable Moments", The Dallas Morning News, retrieved 2012-12-15
  41. ^ Olsen, Ted (4 June 2010), "Matt Chandler: 'I Really Do Believe the Lord Has Healed Me'", Christianity Today, retrieved 2012-12-15

External links[edit]