Thanks For Impacting My Life… And Many Others

I recently read in the Church Report about the 50 Most Influential Churches of 2006. As I was looking down the list, several pastors caught my attention as pastors that have influenced my life, and the life of C3. I’ve attended conferences of the first four (Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, and Ed Young, Jr.) and would say that I’ve received valuable insight and encouragement. But two on the list stand out as pastors that have influenced me personally and resulted in a defining moment for my life and ministry.
One is Dr. Jerry Falwell, Pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church. While attending Liberty University on an athletic scholarship with no plans for going into the ministry (or anything doing with God), I responded to a call from God to go into full time ministry. I immediately began serving a local church and have continued to this day. Several years later, I served on Dr. Falwell’s staff as the Senior High Pastor. During that time, God began to redirect my passion from students, to families and church planting. As a result, we moved to North Carolina in 1998 and began our ministry at C3 Church. Although Dr. Falwell is on the list at #27 for 2006, I believe history will put him at the top of the list for the last century. Thanks, Dr. Falwell. Because of you, I’ve learned to dream big dreams for God and have a heart and passion for the hurting and the lost.
The other is Pastor Greg Surratt (#15), Pastor of Seacoast Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC. I was so pumped to see Greg’s name on there because of the impact that he’s had on my life and church. About four years ago, after a difficult few months of ministry, and the typical challenges that come with planting a church, I was tempted to throw in the towel of ministry, or at least as a Senior Pastor. I took a mini-sabbatical and went to Charleston, SC, and spent some time with Pastor Greg. He took time out of his busy schedule to spend time with some “no name” young pastor from North Carolina. He listened to me whine and complain, and then he encouraged me to hang in there. He explained that what I was experiencing was part of the challenges that come with being a Senior Pastor and taking a church through growth barriers. Not only did I stay in ministry at C3, but also Pastor Greg has become a personal friend of mine and a co-worker in ministry. We now serve together on a leadership team that helps plant churches all over the country. Thanks, Pastor Greg! Because of you, not only am I still in ministry, but also thousands of lost people are being reached because this young pastor didn’t throw in the towel!

  • that’s a cool combination of lessons they’ve instilled in you:
    dream big about helping hurting people, and don’t throw in the towel when it gets tough.
    kinda says it all.

  • Laurie Yaw

    Pastor Matt,
    Just like Dr Falwell and Greg Suratt have enocouraged and inspired you, you are doing for so many of us AT C3 and THROUGH C3!!! My personal walk with God, our family’s relationships with each other and the bonding we have with christian friends has been awesome! Your messages are always relavant and timely-we all swear that you have cameras everywhere watching us because it never fails-no matter what your teaching topic of the service is, there is ALWAYS at LEAST one or two times when we are either elbowing each other or giving each other a knowing look because you had AGAIN hit the nail on the head. Sometimes the pokes were reinforcements that we were headed down the right path, but more often than not you were stepping on toes! Keep up the great work for God, and we’ll look forward to seeing Matt Fry, and C3 on that list soon! God bless!

  • You da man! You’re in the top 3 on my list. See you in a couple weeks.

  • Brian Goodman

    Pastor Matt,
    I am the big guy that you have seen around the church helping with Epic/Fusion and now helping teach the pre-schoolers on Sunday mornings. I was living in Durham and going to Bethesda Baptist but had been working in Raleigh for 5 years and I needed to move to get closer to work. I knew that I would need to find a new church home and so at the encouragement of my girlfriend and now fiance…I visited back in November and fell in love with this part of the body of Christ and became a member earlier in the spring! I grew up in South Hill, Va and my family use to always listen to 88.3 from Liberty and watch Dr. Falwell so I am very familiar with LU and TRBC. I have to admit that God has used you and C3 to strengthen my walk with Christ. The children’s and student ministries are absolutely incredible and to see so many kids get fired up for Christ—gets me fired up!!! Thanks again for your heart to serve Christ!