About Pastor Matthew Dent

I'm a life-long Lutheran who, prior to formal preparation for the ministry, learned most of my theology from good preaching, solid hymnody, and the consistent pattern of sound words found in the church's liturgy in a small church in Western, NY. A "first generation" pastor in my family, I took the "long route" to seminary, working in startups and small companies in the technology and internet sector for 10 years before completing my Bachelor of Arts at Concordia University, Ann Arbor in December of 2004 and continuing my studies at Concordia Theological Seminary, graduating with my M.Div. in 2008. I completed additional residential studies toward an S.T.M. at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and was ordained and first installed in July, 2009. Since January 2014, I have been serving Jesus' Church as pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Standish, Michigan where I live with my wonderful wife, Kelli, and my two kids, Jonathan and Natalie.

“RIF”ing on Pastors

In 2009, the School Ministry Department of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod developed a guidance document for implementing a “Reduction In Force” (RIF). Because “Some congregations [were] unaware of this resource,” and “Some congregations are not adequately prepared to … Continue reading

What Is Marriage?

We hear lots of different definitions of marriage in the world around us. Some define marriage as a human contract that surrounds a romantic partnership to protect children and spouses from the effects of bad relationships. Others claim that marriage … Continue reading

Mercy & Vocation

I was recently engaged in a conversation concerning vocation, ‘diakonia’ and the mercy work of the church. As the conversation progressed, I was able to articulate a framework that I find helpful when I think about these topics. Others found … Continue reading

Are We Resolved? Or Not?

During the 2013 National Convention of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, the convention passed Resolution 3-10A, “To Appoint a Task Force to Study the Call Process for Returning Missionary and Military Chaplains and Other Rostered Church Workers without a … Continue reading

The Saving of Souls: the Ultimate Purpose, End, and Aim of our Joint Work

What would happen if we really would make the saving of souls the ultimate purpose, the end and aim of our joint work? . . . Even though all kinds of strife-causing questions might arise yet, the question:  ‘Which course … Continue reading

Senkbeil in CSL Quarterly: Cultural Accomodation is What Ails Confessional Lutheran Church

Readers of this site know how theologically vacuous and banal the writings are of many who have held themselves out as experts in the area of missions.  Constant are their calls to “accomodate” or even import the world’s culture into … Continue reading

Jesus’ Church Doesn’t “Suck.” Period.

An author on another blog wrote, “Your church doesn’t suck because it’s small.” And he’s right!

But, large or small, your church might still suck. Sorry, but it had to be said.

The fact is, if you have built your church; if your church is the product of your own blood, sweat, and tears; if you have poured out your life to make your church what it is; I’m going to go so far as to say, your “church” does suck.

And it sucks, because it’s “yours.”

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