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An Interview with Matt Hatch – Church Planting Guru (& my hero…but that’s a secret)

9 August 2012

So this week I have the pleasure of interviewing someone I admire hugely. Often the people you admire are those you never actually know or meet (Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, John Stott, David Beckham etc) but when you have known someone up close and personal and have shared so much together and you still admire them for their leadership, integrity, holiness and faith then that is far more impressive, because you know the real person not the person on a pedestal. So I have had the pleasure of working with and doing life with Matt Hatch for 5 years now, him and Pip and their 3 kids are dear friends and he has been one superb co-worker and I am going to miss working so closely with him. Anyway enough of the flattery (he still supports Arsenal, doesn’t eat vegetables and has a weird obsession with chairs being rightly ordered…he’s far from perfect), here is what he said to my questions…

(1) Hi Matt, tell us who you are, your history, what you do & your most favourite thing about Dublin (from your one visit)?

I’m Matt, married to Philippa for 14 years with 3 kids and 1 naughty dog. I lead Mosaic Church (which we planted 8 years ago) and from my extensive knowledge of Dublin, I liked the accents, the city centre and talking about Irish rugby.

(2) Apart from myself (hehe!!!), who have been your inspirations growing up and who do you enjoying reading?

When I was younger I spent lots of time hanging out at a friends house.  I didn’t realise they were Christians till they invited me to a sports camp where I got saved.  I loved being part of that family.

The first person to disciple me was Jeff Bailey and he had a massive impact on my theology and lifestyle.  David Stroud and Nate Bobbett have been a great mentors and friends.  John Piper, Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen, Christopher Wright, Tim Keller, and anything by Anthony Beevor and Steven Ambrose have all made me overspend on my book allowance.

(3) You are a very experienced church planter and church planting coach, what do you feel are the main characteristics that make up a good church plant?

I’ve adapted this slightly but this formula works well:

(ordinary, historic methodology + orthodox, gospel-focused theology + patient, painstaking contextualization + faith + Holy Spirit ) = sustainable fruitfulness

Most planters want to find the new way or methodology to unlock a location. However there is nothing new under the sun, so we need to simply learn from what has worked in the past rather than reinvent the wheel.  Then mix that with the gospel of grace centering on Jesus and some slow but intentional adaptation to our environment.  Add in the Holy Spirit and some bold, persevering faith, and voilà, you get a fruitful church plant.

(4) Mosaic has been going 8 years and is just about to move from 1 church in 1 location to 1 church in 3 locations, tell us why you are doing that, what excites you the most about the transition and what are the greatest challenges?

Firstly multi site is hard work, complicated and a massive leadership/managerial challenge (no one told me that).

However we are pursuing this route as it will enable us to reach people locally yet keep the benefits of staying together across the city.  I’m hoping for local diversity and city wide unity. It has the potential of touching lives that are currently out of reach and can be reproduced as we extend into new parts of the city.

(5) Tell us, what are your hopes for Mosaic and the church in the UK over the next few years?

Locally I hope the combination of you leaving and going multi site means we train and deploy more leaders, create stronger community, grow in diversity and ultimately be play our part in 1000’s of people get saved, baptized and added into the church family in Leeds.

Nationwide, I hope we continue to plant churches in increasingly diverse locations and populations and not take our eye off the ball as our family of churches transition to the next phase.

 

As I said, Matt has been a great friend and co-worker for many years and will coach/mentor us through the early stage of church planting which is fantastic. I have to say that I am glad he has been honest about his dog because, don’t tell Pip, I can’t see what ‘added value’ Lotty brings (except noise!)

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