An Interview with the GYD’s New Director of Promotion
Director of Promotion, Matthew Johnson
INSIDEOUT: First, will you introduce us to your family? (Tell us about Becca, how you met, how long you have been married, and a few things about your children.)
MATTHEW JOHNSON: I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart, Becca, for fifteen years; and we are blessed with two children—Abriah (9) and Jace (4). Becca and I met during a Missouri District Youth Convention; and after she turned me down several times, I finally convinced her to marry me.
IO: And what about you; where did you grow up?
MJ: I grew up in Cedar Rapids, IA and come from a family of 6 kids. I am an identical twin and the youngest by two minutes. (Yes, Mark reminds me of those precious two minutes often!) Ironically enough, both Mark and I now live in St. Louis.
IO: We want to know some personal stuff … What is your favorite food?
MJ: Mexican food of any kind.
IO: And your favorite past times?
MJ: I love trout fishing, going on vacation with the family, and playing around with new technology of any kind.
IO: You first moved to Hannibal, MO, to lead a youth group; can you tell us about this experience?
MJ: After high school graduation, I moved to Hannibal, MO, to become a volunteer student pastor under the ministry of R. L. Grohman, leaving behind a college academic scholarship in Iowa. Many thought I was crazy, but I had a passion for young people. I started this role at the age of eighteen and enjoyed more than fifteen years in this capacity. In our time as youth leaders we enjoyed lots of great memories with some of the greatest kids on earth, and it is rewarding to see many of them now leading others.
IO: Where did you go to college, and in what did you receive a degree?
MJ: I attended Hannibal LaGrange University and received a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management summa cum laude.
IO: We understand that you also went to graduate school. Can you tell us a little about that?
MJ: As a high school student I had the goal of completing a Master degree program before I turned thirty. I was able to complete the goal two years earlier than planned at William Woods University where I completed my Master of Business Administration summa cum laude.
IO: Throughout your ministry you have always worked secular jobs, and much of that was as the Director of a Surgery Center. What was this like?
MJ: Since high school graduation I have been working in business and professional positions, with most of my time being in Healthcare Management. I thoroughly enjoyed working twelve years in Healthcare and have met a lot of great medical professionals. Some of the most exciting times working as Administrator of a surgery center was observing surgical procedures and listening as the surgeon explained each step of the procedure in the operating room. Since my background is not clinical, it was always a joy for the doctors and nurses to throw me a curve ball with some medical terminology I didn’t understand.
IO: Give us some insight on how you balanced your ministry with a secular career.
MJ: At one point in my life I was managing a surgery center, serving as a youth pastor, serving as Missouri Youth President, serving on several medical boards, and somewhere in there trying to be a good dad and husband. I quickly found that I needed to decide on my key priorities and began to weed out those things that didn’t matter long -term. A recommendation by my mentor and friend, Aaron Soto, to read “Choosing to Cheat” helped me to better prioritize my life. Working bi-vocationally can be very challenging at times, but it is also rewarding having the opportunity to show the love of God.
IO: Can you tell us a little about the time that you have served as a member of the Missouri District Youth Committee?
MJ: I was chosen to serve as Promotions Director under Youth President Chuck Carr and was later elected Youth Secretary and then Youth President. Working with the youth of Missouri and seeing lives changed has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
IO: We are all very excited that you have been appointed as Director of Promotion for the General Youth Division of the UPCI … what do you think about it?
MJ: It was quite an honor to be called unexpectedly by Brother Shay Mann for this opportunity. Serving pastors, student pastors, and young people has always been the passion Becca and I have; and we are excited about doing this in a full-time capacity.
IO: Finally, what does the future look like for the Johnson family?
MJ: We are excited about this new chapter in our lives and look forward to meeting new friends from all across America. We will soon be settled in our home in Florissant and excited about getting to know our friends in St. Louis even better.
IO: If you could give a word of advice to young people from across America, what would it be?
MJ: First off, don’t be ashamed to be Apostolic—we are surrounded by hurting people who are looking for what we have. Secondly, serve your pastor and your church with all your heart. The little tasks matter; and once you have mastered those, God will allow you to be involved in even greater things. Finding the will of God isn’t a mystery—serve Him and stay faithful and watch how He blesses you. Last, find a Godly mentor in your life—someone who can share their life experiences with you and provide wisdom for the major decisions you face in the days ahead. God has BIG plans for your life!