Since announcing God’s calling to evangelism in August, God has done so, so much. I want to say a big “thank you” to all of you who have prayed for us and for the encouraging words. These last few months have been filled with praying, planning, preparing, pastoring and preaching. Well, would you look at that – alliterated! And last but not least, God has been providing. He has given grace for every step.
First, I want to thank God for my lovely, sweet wife, Chelsey. She has been busy preparing for our eventual move by pairing down our worldly goods and selling off everything one by one. When we move to Indiana we’ll be living in a small mission house and probably renting a small storage unit for the few items we want to hang on to. After thirteen years in a large, roomy parsonage, that’s quite the undertaking. On top of that, she’s been busy homeschooling our children and dealing with all the disruption of traveling to and from meetings. She’s a treasure!
Here at Woodridge Baptist, things are moving forward well. It has not been easy for us to face the fact that our time here will be quickly gone. We love our Woodridge family! The pulpit committee has been working faithfully, and I’m excited to say, our first pastoral candidate will be here in December. Please pray for God’s will to be clearly known, and that the church would move forward in unity and faith. When I knew God was moving me out in to evangelism, my prayer was that God would quickly bring the right man to follow me, and that there would be no period in which the church was without a pastor. It seems God is answering that prayer! I continue to pastor the church during this transition, and have only taken a few meetings this fall. God is strengthening and growing this congregation in a wonderful way. I’m so thankful for the way everyone has responded and followed the leading of the Lord, and for their love and support for our family. We are overflowing with God’s blessings through these folks who are so dear to our hearts.
We travelled to a couple churches in October. We had the joy of preaching a whole Sunday at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Valparaiso, Indiana on the 3rd. What a wonderful day it was. God blessed the preaching and we enjoyed getting to know these dear folks. This is the church we will be joining when we leave Woodridge. They showed us so much love and support and made us feel at home.
On October 24th, I preached at my brother Jonathan’s church, Ann Arbor Baptist Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was their missions month, so I preached two messages on the topic of personal evangelism. I believe God blessed His Word, and I know they all were a blessing to our family.
The first week of November, I had the privilege of preaching a 4-day Bible Conference at Bible Baptist Church of Hilton Head Island. My father, Scott Barber, has been the pastor there for 17 years, and it was such a blessing to see folks come out to each service with joyful, hungry hearts. God blessed the preaching and we had a sweet time knowing God’s working in hearts. We also enjoyed precious time with Granddady and Grandmommy!
I’ve joked that when I run out of dads and brothers I’ll be in big trouble! But seriously, God has continued to encourage us by bringing in meetings. Several pastors have contacted me about scheduling for 2022, as well as 2023. We praise God for each one. I’ve tried not to think about it too much, knowing that God is able to direct our steps and fill our calendar. It is my prayer that we will be on the road fulltime in the coming year. Will you pray with us that God will fill up 2022? I am prepared to work part-time as necessary to fill in gaps in our schedule, but I’m trusting God to keep us on the road in the coming year. He is able!
The need in hearts and churches has never been greater. Our desire is to bring the truth to needy hearts and see God do wonders. God blesses the preached Word. Pray that God would enable us and bless our ministry. We know the power is not in us. It’s God or it’s nothing. But praise God, He’s with us!
Thanks so much for reading this update and for your prayers and interest in our ministry!
In His Service,
Matthew & Chelsey Barber
Melody, Matt Jr, Timmy, Evelynn & Andrew