The Center for Healthy Churches, a six-year-old consulting and coaching group, is excited to announce the addition of Dr. Matt Cook as full-time Assistant Director. Dr. Cook joins the Center after having served local congregations for more than twenty-five years with nearly twenty years as Senior Pastor in churches in Texas, Arkansas, and North Carolina. CHC Director and founder Bill Wilson said: “Matt’s joining CHC is both an answered prayer and testimony to the remarkable growth and potential of our group. At age 47, he represents the future for our efforts to engender sustainable health in congregations and clergy across the nation. I could not be more pleased to welcome him to the CHC family.”
Dr. Charles Wade, former Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas says: “Matt Cook is a gifted and thoughtful leader who knows how to listen and how to sort out the issues which a congregation needs to address as it prepares for the next season of vital ministry. Any pastor will find in him a trusted and wise counselor and friend. He has a lifetime of experience in healthy churches, he has worked through challenges, and he can help churches and pastors find joy and satisfaction as they live out the calling God has placed on their lives. His work will be a game changer for many churches.”
Matt is a proud graduate of both Samford and Baylor Universities, having completed his undergraduate degree at Samford and his M.Div and Ph.D. (Church History) at Baylor University. When it comes to helping congregations, he combines research and scholarly insight with an emphasis on strategic focus and missional awareness. He has training and experience in strategic planning, staff reorganization and leadership development, as well as in assisting congregations in pastoral transitions. A noted speaker and preacher, Matt has also spoken in churches, at conferences, and on college campuses across the country. Dr. Taylor Sandlin, Pastor of Sugarland Baptist Church in Houston, TX says “I’m thrilled that Matt is going to be helping congregations through his new role at the Center for Healthy Churches. His pastoral experience and theological depth will be a real asset to congregations of every size.”
Matt has a demonstrated record of effective leadership. He has been highly involved in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship on a both the state and national level, having served on the Coordinating Councils of both Texas and Arkansas, as well as having served as the Moderator of CBF National. He was also the founding convenor of Current, CBF’s young leaders network. According to Suzii Paynter, retired Executive Coordinator for CBF, “Dr Matt Cook has been a leading voice in shaping new forms of organizational strength. His work for CBF strategically aligned our leadership development process for effectiveness, representation and vitality. We have stronger, better prepared leaders today because of his leadership and gifts.”
Matt has also cultivated friendships and partnerships across denominational lines having participated in ecumenical pastor’s and mission networks throughout his ministry. Ernie Thompson, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian in Greensboro, NC says that working with Matt “is a joy.” “While I served in Wilmington, he and I were part of a pastors group that was ecumenical and interracial. We learned much from each other as we sought to lead our churches and serve our community. I am excited to hear that Matt will now be using his experience and wisdom to support a wide variety of churches and pastors through his work with the Center for Healthy Churches.”
According to Matt, “we are in the midst of the most challenging but also most dynamic period of change that congregations in North America have ever seen. We can either drown in those waves of change or we can surf them. But when a congregation decides to do the work of gaining missional clarity and creatively engaging its community, amazing things can happen.”
Matt’s is married to Allyson, and they have two children, Nathaniel and Caroline. He is an avid cyclist, a diehard fan of OU football, and connoisseur of any and all types of barbeque. Their family will soon be transitioning to Dallas TX.
Matt becomes the twenty-sixth consultant that is part of the Center’s nationwide service of congregations and ministers in multiple denominations. If you are interested in speaking with Matt about how he or any of our other consultants or coaches can assist you or your congregation, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.