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Matthew Fretwell Photo Credit: Urban Church Planting

Matthew Fretwell
Photo Credit: Urban Church Planting

Paul’s life was filled with great accomplishments for God, despite high costs.

Every single day was filled with a tenacious drive to honor God.  He planted churches, ran businesses, ministered to people, managed a church planting network, kept up with the churches, taught the churches, and persevered through great trials.

I had the opportunity to interview a church leader named Matthew Fretwell, out of Richmond, Virginia.

As I got to speaking with Matthew, I began to realize just how much he had accomplished in his life to bring glory to God.  It seemed as though every second, Matthew was looking for ways to serve Christ.

Now, I understand that there is a place in our daily lives to honor God through rest.  I’m not saying we need to ignore that.

But I wanted to write about my friend, Matthew, so that you all would be able to understand just how significant your life can be as God works through you in the world.

The message is simple to your readers:  Accomplish great things for God, even at great cost.

Accomplish great things for #God, even at great cost. Click To Tweet

An Entrepreneur, like Paul

Paul ran businesses making tents and working leather in the different places he went.

My friend Matthew has been able to become a successful entrepreneur at different times in his life, as well.

For a while, he was an executive Chef and restaurant owner and was actually featured on the Food Network.  At another time, he ran a consulting business in which he helped small businesses ramp up their profits.

A Church Planter, like Paul

paul church planter man gazeObviously, Paul planted churches.  It was his bread and butter.

Matthew had worked with the Acts 29 network to plant a Calvary Chapel church.  His passion has been to go into areas where no one wants to go – areas filled with low-income, crime, prostitution, and the like – and plant churches.

Now he actually trains church planters, especially in the area of assessing the cultural landscape of their location.

Matthew has this to say about church planting:

“For someone who is churched:  They need to understand the power of the gospel.  It’s not up to them to convert people.  The Holy Spirit is already at work in them.  He wants to reach a people who are lost, destined to hell.  That should compel the church to get off the pew and work

“For someone who is unchurched:  They must understand what their heart yearns for.  What they’re seeking, is already there.  It’s Christ right in front of them.”

A City Benefactor, like Paul

As stated above, Matthew targeted the bad areas of the city so that he could bring the light of Christ and new life to those places.

But he also spends a lot of time working for minorities and immigrants (what he calls the Diaspora), and islamic peoples.

A Leader of a Church Planting Network, like Paul

Matthew is the Director of Operations at New Breed Church Planting.

The website describes itself this way, “The New Breed Network exists to train, equip, and support tomorrow’s leaders to rapidly spread the gospel, leaving reproducing churches in their wake.”

He also co-founded Planting RVA, which is a church planting network in Richmond, VA.

A Leader of a Multi-Ethnic Church, like Paul

paul church planter multi ethnic culturalIn Acts 13:1-3, the names of the other leaders alongside Paul at the church Antioch indicate that it was a multi-ethnic church.

Matthew said this, “When people say they want an ethnically diverse church, what they really mean is that they want other ethnicities to worship in an anglo-saxon way.”

Matthew understands that multi-ethnic churches must be multi-cultural.  And he understands that race and heritage are an extremely important thing in the lives of believers, as he leads Oak Hall Baptist Church.

A Writer, like Paul

Matthew has written 3 books –

  1. Denied Desires – about Job 31, which list 10 character traits which are so important to the lives of believers.
  2. Identity Theft – About overcoming addictions and stronghold and sin.
  3. Sanctificagious – About the sanctifying, contagious fire of Scripture, and how it can change your life.

He also writes regularly for different blogs and websites.  He runs his own blog called Urban Church Planting.

A Student, like Paul

Matthew is a doctoral student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He says it is the hardest, but most rewarding work he has ever done.  This education is where he has learned more than ever about the effect that immigration has on the city and on urban church planting itself.

Allow the #HolySpirit to work through you in powerful ways. Click To Tweet

A Visionary, like Paul

Paul church planter obstacles climbing a mountainListen to a few of these quotes that Matthew had said concerning the future of the church in America, and try to tell me that he’s not a forward-focused visionary:

“We know for a fact that in the urban areas, we’re going to have to expand through smaller, authentic communities.”

“This generation is moving away from big box door, big corporate.  They want smaller, they want relational.  They’re leaving Walmart and looking for mom-and-pops”

“The churches are going to lose tax-exempt status.  So the mega churches are going to lose out.”

“Planters will become bi-vocational.”

We are no longer the moral majority.  We are now the missional minority.” (Actual quote by Russell Moore, but Matthew reiterated it in my interview with him.”

An Inspiration, like Paul

The Apostle Paul said this,

“…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:12-14

As I spoke with Matthew, I realized that his accomplishments were nothing short of an inspiration.  He has allowed the Holy Spirit to work through him in powerful ways.

For all of us, we must open ourselves to God’s direction, and allow our physical bodies to strained as we use every ounce of our being to serve Him.

No doubt, it has been a difficult road for Matthew.  He shared some of his struggles with me and I could see that he, like many of us, have been through a lot.  But we must all overcome our trials.  We must persevere.

We must accomplish great things for God, even at great cost.


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Also published on Medium.