Spotlight Interview: Matt Schoolfield

By Prestonwood Network Staff

Prestonwood Network: COVID-19 has changed so much regarding ministry and pastoring these past few months. What have been a few key lessons that you, as a pastor, have learned and applied these last several months?

Matt Schoolfield: I have learned the importance of clarity in my leadership. While very different in their respective directions during COVID-19, I think the one thing that both John MacArthur and Andy Stanley got really right was clarity.

I have learned that Christians do not have conviction about Sunday worship gatherings as being essential. This is something I want to start building into people through discipleship and preaching.

I have seen the need for more relational unity at our church. We are not as unified as we think we are. We say we are covenant partners, but our relationships are much more contractual in nature. 

Prestonwood Network: You planted Fellowship Raleigh Church and have now been leading and pastoring there for nearly 12 years. Why is longevity in ministry so critical and so impactful?

Matt Schoolfield: Great intangibles have come with church planter longevity. I have watched and learned as peer planters have been planted and closed their doors. I have seen members leave, come back, and leave again. We have been able to gain a solid reputation in the community among city leadership, public school administration, and other local pastors.  

Last week, my sixth-grade daughter, who was born the year we launched, attended our youth group for the first time. It really hit me just how much that is grace from God. 

Prestonwood Network: 2020 has brought challenges in a vast amount of ways. How do you personally stay encouraged in ministry?

Matt Schoolfield: I have personally stayed encouraged by having a fun “step of faith” that our family is working on together that is not related to Fellowship Raleigh.

Prestonwood Network: How do you prioritize intentional time with your spouse and your kids?

Matt Schoolfield: I live with five women who all value quality time. The accountability is built in.

Prestonwood Network: As a pastor, how do you cast vision and how do you keep your church on mission?

Matt Schoolfield: Most pastors I know are unable to articulate a non-generic vision for their church; this has been me at times as well. So, the first thing I’ve done that has been helpful is to gain vision clarity through outside help (Auxano.com). I want to do better at casting vision through my preaching and in my leadership moments.

Prestonwood Network: In what ways has 2020 changed the way Fellowship Raleigh Church shares the Gospel and makes disciples?

Matt Schoolfield: Boldness.

Prestonwood Network: Can you share with us a story or two from the past few months on how God is working and moving at Fellowship Raleigh Church?

Matt Schoolfield: A brand new Christian came to Christ out of Catholicism and visited our church saying she came “because we were open.” 

A Christian couple moved to Raleigh from Hollywood, Calif. They’ve started attending our church recently saying it was “because we were open.” 

A high school quarterback in our youth ministry told me that the reopening of our church has helped him to start his walk with Christ again.  

Prestonwood Network: What has you most excited about the future of your local church and for the global Church?

Matt Schoolfield: Local: I am thankful and excited about how the Lord has positioned our church to be an unchanging pillar of biblical teaching in a fast-changing, fast-growing, highly educated and influential city such as Raleigh.

Global: I am just excited to be – and want to be – part of what God is doing globally.   

Prestonwood Network: How can we be praying for you, your family and your church?

Matt Schoolfield: Courage for me as a leader in the face of cancel-culture in the church and encouragement for my wife and kids in this virtual-school season.

Prestonwood Network: Is there anything else you would like to share?

Matt Schoolfield: I really appreciate you guys. Do not doubt the impact of the Prestonwood Network on pastors like me. The feeling that you guys are there if we need you and the simple things you guys do for pastors really does lift me up and encourage me.

Prestonwood Network: Thank you so much, Matt. We are grateful for you and our Gospel partnership together. We are praying for you and your family.

Matt Schoolfield is Lead Pastor of Fellowship Raleigh Church in Raleigh, N.C. Connect with Matt on Twitter: @MattSchoolfield.

More information on Fellowship Raleigh Church can be found at fellowshipraleigh.org. Please share a word of encouragement or prayer with Pastor Matt at matt@fellowshipraleigh.org.

 

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