"Joy. I love teaching on joy. The joy of the Lord is so powerful. It is a stream in the desert." -Pastor Matt Snowden
Name: Matt Snowden
Wife: Meredith Snowden
Children: Molly Katherine and Wes Snowden (ages 8 and 7)
Church: First Baptist Church Waco
Number of years: Four and I/4 years
Attendance: We have an active membership of 805
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Meridian, Mississippi.
How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?
I became a Christian at 11. I was baptized in the Highland Baptist Church. My strongest memory of that time was that our church's interim pastor, Cecil Randall, was an older man. He needed the help of a deacon when it came to lifting candidates out of the water. Doug Neal was the deacon in the water with us. He encouraged me through the early years of my faith. That has always been a powerful picture of church life for me.
Where did you do your undergrad?
I went to William Carey College in Hattiesburg, MS.
If you did any post-graduate work, where did you attend and what degree did you earn?
I studied at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Truett Theological Seminary.
What is something unique about your church?
Our church has a long history. I lay my bible on a pulpit that was used by B.H. Carroll. We are a college town church with colorful people and a heart for the world.
What is a mission or ministry that you are most proud of your church for doing?
I am proud that our church is intentionally intergenerational. I am also glad that our church cares about loving the world in the Spirit of Jesus. We are currently engaged in church planting among the Miskito people, development in the Mississippi Delta, orphan care in Guatemala, support for low income families in Waco, and many other projects.
Where was the most interesting place you've baptized someone?
The most interesting place I've baptized someone was in a swimming pool in Jamaica. The unique thing about that was that I baptized a Presbyterian youth minister. I was a college student at the time. A local Presbyterian congregation's student pastor resigned before a big mission trip. The church asked me to fill in. The youth minister I baptized came to believe in baptism by immersion. The other youth ministers were sympathetic, but declined to baptize her. They elected me. That was my first baptism.
What would you title the autobiography of your life?
I would title my autobiography,
What is your favorite topic to teach on? Why is it so meaningful to you?
Joy. The joy of the Lord is so powerful. It is a stream in the desert.
How did you know you were called to be a pastor? Tell me about the first sermon you preached.
I sensed a call to pastoral ministry early in life. I gave a testimony after a camp experience and my pastor said he sensed God calling me. I have lived a far from perfect life. My faith has been a little messy but I think I can honestly say I am sincere. I certainly hope so. God is kind.
What story does your family always tell about you?
My family doesn't tell that many stories about me because I know so many stories about them. Don't you miss the Cold War?
Who was the most influential person/couple in your life as you grew up?
I had many positive influences in my life when I was a kid. My parents were great. I lived close to my grandparents. I learned a lot from my grandfather, Charles Snowden.
What are you most passionate about and how does this play into your everyday life?
I am passionate about my family, church renewal and the mission of God. These things impact my daily life by giving me a reason to work and a wonderful reason to quit working. This keeps me somewhat balanced.
How do you feel about little league baseball?
I love Little League baseball and kids sports in general. My dad was always my coach and my mom was a non-obnoxious supportive mom. She knew how to be cool and express support. That's sort of an art. Now Meredith and I are doing that with our kids.
What are life lessons you've learned from being a husband? A parent? A pastor?
Being a husband, dad and pastor is wonderful, scary, humbling, challenging and really fun. All three of these relationships put me in situations where I feel big and small at the same time. We really do have value and God has designed us to be useful, yet we are not God and never will be. Marriage, parenting and pastoring all remind me that I have a role and God has a role. This motivates and encourages me. When we forget this we tend to obsess or get lazy. Hubris and despair are ugly twins. Meredith, the kids and FBC Waco are there every day. They need and want me to engage and remind me of my need for grace.