Preparing the New Generation of Creative Ministers

Name: Matt Thompson

Current Status: Alumni

Graduation Year: 2003

When Matt Thompson ('03) arrived at HIU as a freshman, he pursued a degree in Biblical Studies, but was not sure what he would do with it, as his passion centered on the musical aspects of worship.  His degree and passion worked together as he graduated and then served on the staffs of churches in California, Arizona, South Dakota and, most recently, as Executive Director of Creative Arts at Orchard Church in Denver, Colorado.  The seed was planted for Matt’s return to HIU before he ever graduated.

"I watched Dr. Joe Grana and Dr. Knofel Staton while I was at HIU and saw their passion for God’s work and their incredible knowledge; I wanted to BE them," he said.  "I remember thinking, 'Someday, I’d love to be in the university setting and help build that kind of knowledge.'"

Matt wants to help students learn that the weight of ministry does not lie solely in performance, but in the calling to ministry. Specifically, he wants them to know that serving in worship ministry means serving as pastors first and artists second, and hopes that students who are attracted to the musical excellence at HIU will make the transition to blend that musical excellence with ministry.

Last year, Matt and his wife, Cassie, recognized a need to return to Orange County in order to be closer to their families, and Matt began to consider the idea of leaving fulltime church ministry. Shortly thereafter, he learned of the teaching position at his alma mater, and he is pleased to join the faculty under the presidential leadership of one his former professors, Paul Alexander.

"My calling seems to be a really good fit with President Alexander’s goals," he said. "I have a passion to develop other leaders and to watch those I work with grow in their ministries.  What really gets me excited is the thought of seeing the students from the beginning their college experience to serving in a local church."