Matt Mason has been a good friend for over a decade now. He faithfully served in the Sovereign Grace church in New Orleans until last year when he took a position at The Church at Brook Hills with David Platt. I’m grateful God is now using Matt to provide gospel-centered, theologically informed, pastorally wise musical leadership for the folks at Brook Hills.
At WorshipGod East (June 27-29) I’ve asked Matt to lead us in song for one session, and to teach a seminar called “The Great God and His Beloved Church.” Matt graciously took time to answer a few questions about himself and his seminar.
1. Briefly share your testimony of conversion with us.
My dad was the founding pastor of a church in New Orleans and my mom played the Hammond B3 organ. Our parents taught us biblical truth and lived godly lives. Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, once said, “I don’t know when the sun came up, but I know it’s shining.” That’s my story too. Even though I can’t locate the exact day of my conversion, I can look back and see vital signs from an early age. I vividly remember many moments where Christ’s glory in the gospel hit home for me – times of singing to God alone in my house as a young boy, and together with the little church on Pontchartrain Boulevard – many experiences of God’s convicting, sustaining, and preserving grace. The more I reflect on how God has worked in my life, even from childhood, the more convinced I am of the fact that the gospel never has to get old or familiar. Grace continues to be amazing.
2. Why do you think what you’re teaching on is an important topic?
In our culture, once you get used to something, you leave it aside and look for something else. The evening news is changing. Apps and screen sizes are changing. Fashions are changing. And then there’s my church. It kinda just sits there. So, why do we continue to do this? Often churches respond by trying to draw people by keeping things in constant motion. They’ll never expect us to start the service this way. This will light up Twitter. This topic is important because we need to be reminded that there are more than just two options: 1) engaging in the local church because we’re supposed to, even though nothing happens, and 2) participating as long as the creative team stays on their A game. God loves the Church and he is present to do deep and life-transforming things in our lives as we join our lives to one another and as we gather in his name.
3. What do you hope will be filling people’s minds and hearts as they walk away from your message?
I hope our hearts are filled with faith. I hope we come away convinced that we need fellowship with God’s people. And we need the Sunday gathering. I’m praying for an increase in joyful, faith-filled engagement with the local church – hearts and minds that are convinced that when God calls us to the fellowship of the saints and to gathered worship, he does so fully intending to do vital work in our souls.
4. Is there any passage of Scripture that sums up what you’ll be sharing?
Two of my favorite passages that speak to the dynamics of God’s gathered people are Psalm 48 and Hebrews 10:19-25. I’ll be focusing on Ps. 48.
5. Can you expound on one point that you’ll be making in your message?
One of the greatest outbursts of gathered praise in the entire Old Testament is found in 2 Chronicles 5. The temple of Solomon was completed. The Ark of the Covenant was set in its place. Countless sacrifices were offered. There was plenty of music as well. And the thematic center for corporate worship was”for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (vs. 13). In a real sense, this has been the thematic center of gathered worship ever since. Granted, worship is no longer confined to the Temple or any sacred meeting place. But, it is still our great privilege and calling to see that the people who gather with us Sunday after Sunday can say, “We have thought on your steadfast love, O God.” We certainly aren’t gathering to celebrate how steadfastly we have loved God. That’s a depressing theme. We gather to celebrate how steadfastly he has loved us, and that changes everything.
6. How has what you’re going to speak on affected your own life?
I believe, down in my bones, that there is unique grace from God that is experienced in the fellowship of a local church and in the Sunday gathering. I’m convinced that God’s week is planned in advance. On Sunday morning, he’s coming to church. And he’s not coming passively. He’s coming eager to bless, save, strengthen, convict, and comfort.
7. Can you recommend any books, articles, websites, or materials on this topic?
Yes! Some books that have impacted me greatly along these lines are:
- When God Comes to Church (Ortlund)
- Why We Love the Church (DeYoung/Kluck)
- The Church (Clowney)
- Stop Dating the Church (Harris)
8. What would you say to someone who is trying to decide whether or not to come to WorshipGod2013?
No conference has done more to instill in me what I believe are biblical convictions concerning what corporate worship is all about. The main sessions are theologically-charged and gospel-rich and applicable to anyone’s life, musician or not. The breakout sessions address a huge range of things that will enable attendees to go back and serve their congregations more effectively. This has kept me coming back for the past 13 years.