I was born and raised in Youngstown Ohio and moved to California in 1985. I was raised in a blue collar working class family by parents with a strong work ethic and moral integrity. Our family attended a Polish National Catholic Church that was co-founded by my mom’s father, a polish immigrant. Our family moved to the outskirts (Country) of Youngstown Ohio when I was 6 years old, to escape the hustle of city living. I was first introduced to Christianity at a vacation bible school at one of the local Assemblies of God Churches. I remember the last night of the VBS, an evangelist gave an alter call and I couldn’t help but go forward to accept Jesus as my savior.
As I grew up I always had a love for the things of God but I never came face to face with having my own knowledge of what it meant to be saved. I viewed forgiveness as something that was earned not just received. I struggled with just being able to accept what I now know as God’s grace, that undeserved, unearned acceptance and forgiveness. I was basically cruising through life without any real satisfaction, looking for something to fill that spot that only a relationship with Jesus can fulfill. The whole time the Holy Spirit was protecting me and carrying me to that day when Jesus would become real in my life.
I had become and was doing all the things that I was never raised to do. I was caught in the trap of trying to do everything I could to be happy, run my own life and do whatever pleased my flesh.
On January 5th, 1989 at 7:15pm everything changed in a flash. I finally had enough with chasing after the wind. I was completely done with life and all it had to offer so far. I wanted out and figured that the only way for that to happen was to end my life; our savior had other plans, thankfully.
Jesus intervened in my circumstances and instead of losing my life, He graciously exchanged the ashes of my life for a new life that I can now live through Him.
It was not long after I accepted the free gift of salvation and Jesus coming into my life that I began praying for His direction and what was my part in serving the body of Christ. I don’t recall the exact time line but it wasn’t long thereafter that I was being asked to lead bible studies and teach at mid-week services. It became evident that the Lord called me to be a Pastor/Teacher, even though I didn’t quite see it that way. I couldn’t get past the fact that our Heavenly Father knew everything about me and would still entrust me with the teaching and preaching of his word.
I met a Pastor’s Pastor while ministering at a skate park in Moreno Valley and he began calling me Pastor Matt. I would tell him that all I am is a sinner saved by grace and highly doubted that God would call me to that high office. As time went on it became more of a burden to deny the call God had on my life. I eventually accepted that “God uses the foolish things of this world to put to shame the wise”. That Pastor’s Pastor, who became more than a friend and more like a brother, went home to be with Jesus and I knew I couldn’t deny the call Jesus placed on my life any longer.
I was ordained a Pastor at Free Indeed Christian Fellowship in January of 2006. I have served as Youth Pastor and most recently as our administrative Pastor overseeing the finances of our fellowship and its organization. I realize that being a pastor is more than occupying the pulpit on Sundays and more caring for the sheep as Jesus would do. I still occasionally have the privilege of teaching a Sunday or mid-week service and with great joy look forward to those moments and continuing to serve the body of Christ at Free Indeed.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, “HE WHO GLORIES, LET HIM GLORY IN THE LORD.””
In His Service,
Pastor Matt Allen