Matt Prater is an amazing guy, and we were privileged to share a morning with him.
Matt Prater is the Senior Pastor of New Hope Church in Brisbane, and his church is unique in that it provides new hope to many homeless and street people, feeding them each week and sharing the good news about Jesus Christ at every opportunity.
But Pastor Matt Prater is known for more than this. He appears every week on Vision radio, a dynamic Christian radio which brings incredible teaching and encouragement to thousands of Aussies across the country, through 702 radio stations. His exciting interviews and laid back style has touched the hearts of thousands of listeners from all walks of life, and Pastor Matt Prater is certainly someone who is worth listening to.
Here's a little about his background... From Matt Prater himself (and who else is best qualified to tell you about his life?
Carol and I were married on May 17, 2003. I have three children: Lydia, Joshua and Grace. I was brought up in the Anglican church in Coffs Harbour until I was 12. I then attended a charismatic Baptist church for a few years, and answered an altar call as a 15 year old at a Wesleyan Methodist youth camp. I became born-again and also filled out a card pledging to work in full-time ministry. I started my first Christian radio show on the local secular radio station, and lead a Wesleyan Methodist youth group and high school outreach until I finished school at 18. I was then approached by the local C3 Church Pastor and offered a position as Youth Pastor. The church paid for me to go to Bible College for a year in Sydney. I studied under Pastor Phil Pringle and received a Diploma in Creative Arts majoring in drama and singing.
I then moved back to C3 Church in Coffs and pioneered a youth group for three years, ran a church theatre company, worked at the local radio station selling advertising to pay the bills, and continued my radio show. I then served as Youth Pastor for 3 years at the church I was raised in, a charismatic Baptist Church in Coffs Harbour. During that time I continued Bible College via correspondence.
I then moved to Brisbane, and worked for a company selling websites. During that time the company that employed me went into liquidation. I felt like Job where everything was taken away. But in that valley, I saw the Lord more clearly than ever. I attended Vineyard church Pine Rivers. I was running Alpha courses, preaching & served as Treasurer for a season.
Carol was brought up in Brisbane in the Methodist and Uniting Church. She stopped attending in her late teens and spent some years in the world. She has worked in management positions in a large multi-national company and one of Australia’s two telecommunications companies. After wandering away from the Lord Carol returned to church at the age of 26. She returned to the Lord and worked through areas of her past that needed healing. She spent ten years at the Vineyard church since it was a church plant and served in areas of child care, greeting and babysitting. She ran several Alpha courses and led many to the Lord through the Alpha course.
In that time, I also was invited to preach the gospel to high school kids and speak at business and church functions quite regularly. I am a passionate evangelist. Carol and I also ran very successful Alpha courses at the radio station and saw a few come to the Lord.
I would ring Pastor Phil at New Hope Brisbane and say, “I’m sending some people to your church on Sunday. They live too far away from my church, can you look after them?” I also referred a lot of my friends and clients to New Hope. We had been to the launch of New Hope Brisbane and loved it, but felt God wanted us to keep serving at our home church. We would pray and ask the Lord regularly about joining New Hope Brisbane. In October 2006, I felt the Lord say, “Do an evangelistic work in the City.” So after much prayer and discussion we left the Vineyard Church with the blessing of the pastor, who had the church lay hands on us and bless us to do a new work for the Lord in Brisbane.
I had always felt called to be a pastor. I had felt the Lord was calling me to bear much fruit. I launched a radio show called History Makers, interviewing successful people about their faith. It is now played weekly on over 600 Australian stations, and in NZ the UK and U.S.
I got involved in the management team at New Hope Brisbane in the area of community outreach. I love the heart of the church, the preaching style, worship, drama and multimedia. And being a young, vibrant, growing church, we feel right at home.
When I called Carol and told her about the opportunity to serve the Lord at New Hope Brisbane she spent several days praying and crying, seeking the Lord for a confirmation, that this would be the right time for me to take on the role of Senior Pastor. We were watching the Glorify DVD from New Hope Oahu and she felt like we weren’t worthy, and she felt the Lord say that “he is worthy, and he makes us worthy.” She also watched a sermon from Hillsong’s Brian Houston, and he preached on indifference using the scripture about the man who was plowing, that he should never look back. She felt a confirmation that God was saying, “Now is the time!”
Since I was first asked to pray about becoming Senior Pastor at New Hope Brisbane I have had a lot of confirmation and affirmation from friends and family. We feel like everything the Lord has taken us through has prepared us to pastor at New Hope Brisbane. I love to preach, and evangelize, I love the creative arts and I have an entrepreneurial spirit. Most of all, I feel that the Lord has given me a shepherd’s heart to love and serve the people of Brisbane. I believe that he is going to do a great and mighty work through the people of New Hope Brisbane, and my prayer is the same as that of Isaiah “Here am I, send me.”