Greg Matte of Breakaway Ministries Called to Pastor Houston Church

( [email protected] ) Apr 24, 2004 07:36 AM EDT

After 15 years of leading Breakaway Ministries, a popular Bible group at University of Texas A&M, Greg Matte is now being called to be pastor of a 22,000-member church in Houston.

“ I am excited about the opportunities for the increased impact I’ll be able to have and humbled by the responsibility of it all,” said Matte, a few after accepting the offer given to him on Easter.

He feels that he is following the Will of God by becoming the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Houston.

“This is the will of God for me,” Matte told students during Tuesday’s Breakaway, which sees up to 5,000 students at times.

Breakaway Ministries was founded by Matte while he was still attending college at A&M. Around 12 people gathered at an apartment to study the Bible and play music.

During his announcement for departure, he also reassured the students that Breakaway would not easily dissipate. He called the period after his decision, chapter 2 of Breakaway and urged students to continue walking, despite changes, following God’s unchanging message of faith.

“God is just changing the chapter and changing the messenger but God is not changing the message. God is not changing the vision,” said Matte on April 13.

“It is really a time of mixed emotions. I feel like it’s the right thing to do, but we sure love College Station,” he said.

Matte’s love for the ministry and students really shows. He has decided to remain until the end of the spring semester as director of Breakaway before heading to Houston with his wife Kelly and 2 ½-year-old son Greyson in August, after which he will stay involves as a member of the board.

“ He is taking care of everything, making sure Breakaway will continue just fine after he goes,” said Cathy Jackson, a board member for the past year.

What Breakaway may continue is hosting large numbers of students who are thirsting for the Word of God. In 1998, as many as 3,500 college students attended Breakaway weekly, then held at Central Baptist Church. By 1999, the meeting was moved to Reed Arena at Texas A&M University to accommodate students who didn’t have transportation.

Matte’s assumption of role as senior pastor comes at an appropriate time since First Baptist was searching for a person to fill the position that was left vacant by the retired Rev. John Bisagno for four years. An 11-member search committee from the church reviewed 265 candidates from 33 states and four other countries. When Matte was a guest speaker for the first time at the church several weeks ago, everything worked out.

“ They weren’t planning on having anybody who was a guest speaker be the next pastor, so it really wasn’t set up to be like an audition — but it kind of turned out that way,” said Rev. David Self, associate pastor.

Then again on Easter Sunday, Matte preached during both morning worship services. Ballots casted by church members revealed 96.5 percent favored Matte.

“ He is such a visionary, and he is extremely organized and extremely focused,” testified Jackson. “God has truly gifted him with being able to communicate the word and being able to address all ages.”

Matte graduated from A&M and went on to earn a master’s degree in Christian education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He wrote “The Highest Education: Becoming a Godly Man” and frequently is invited to speak at retreats and conferences across the country.

Before a new director is found, Breakaway will host guest speakers giving two to four-part lecture series.

However, Jackson said the board is not worried too much about having trouble finding Matte’s replacement because the Lord will provide.

“ We’re going to wait and see who the Lord brings along,” she said. “We don’t have a specific time frame. We know when the Lord takes a leader away, he will send someone else to take his place. We will try to do things in his time.”