(Editors Note: First Church of Christ in Lock Haven recently welcomed a new pastor, Matt Kinley. Below is a welcome column written by the pastor himself.)
The story of my birth is truly a miracle. I was born at 26 weeks and I survived, and I praise God for everyday that I have lived because of this. When I look at the rest of my life, I would consistently describe it as a blessed life. A life full of miracles both big and small.
I was raised in a loving, Christ-filled home in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. I attended church all through my childhood and high school years at the Christian Church at Cogan Station. I learned there from many different leaders and ministers what a Christian life is intended to look like.
When I graduated from high school. I followed the Lord’s calling on my life and I went to Knoxville, Tennessee to attend Johnson University studying Preaching and Church Leadership. It was here that God would introduce into my life the most amazing woman I would ever meet. My beautiful wife and I met at Johnson University. She was studying to be a teacher and she caught my eye and my heart quicker than I thought anyone could. We got married our second summer as college students. She has remained a constant source of love, wisdom, and support to me and my ministry.
A little over a year ago, in September of 2019 we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl, named Maria Louise Kinley. She is everything we could have ever prayed for and she brings joy and laughter into our hearts every day.
While living in Knoxville I served as Senior Minister to a small mountain church for five and a half years. God had placed on me a calling to seek the next place he had for me and my family and as I began to look God opened one particular door with such effort that I could not possibly ignore it.
Despite being in the middle of the 2020 pandemic the search committee of First Church of Christ, Lock Haven would not give up. Their tenacity and enthusiasm were immediately evident, and it excited me to see a group of believers so passionate and focused in their desire to see what God had in store for them. The process was long and it was far from easy but I truly believe that God has brought me and my family here to this church, this city and this surrounding community for a purpose that serves Him and His Kingdom.
I look forward to seeing the work that God has in store for us all and the miracles that lay ahead of us. We will look to the future and we will see the hands and feet of God moving and working in our city and our church.
This is the next chapter in the story of my life, and I know the Lord is working and I am overjoyed to be a part of it. I look forward to the new ways God will shape me and mold me and how He will use me in this church and community.
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