Biography of our new pastor, Matthew William Crick

Growing Up

Pastor Crick was born in 1967 in western Massachusetts. He was raised by his dad and mom in a small town at the foot of the Berkshire Mountains. He has one sister and one brother. Pastor is the oldest of the three. He grew up climbing trees and romping through the woods whenever he could. He loved fall apples, fall New England foliage, the ocean, the Red Sox, Celtics, and Patriots.

Pastor was confirmed in the Congregational Church after eighth grade, but cannot remember receiving any instruction from the pastor leading up to the confirmation, so he was largely ignorant of the Bible before and after his confirmation. During his senior year in high school, he began to read the Bible for himself for the first time, but very hit and miss.

While in high school, he found cross-country, track and field, and basketball far more interesting than biology and algebra. In 1985, he graduated from high school, no higher than 40th in his class. Following graduation, he enrolled at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA. In 1990, after following the “five year plan” to receive a four year degree, he received a degree in Exercise Science. During his years in college, due to many influences common to university life, combined with his lack of knowledge of the Bible, (that wonderful word of life in Jesus Christ), he left the faith. He came to feel very empty, aimless.

Search for Truth and Hope

A year after graduation, during a particularly low point in pastor’s life, he knew he needed a dramatic change to happen. He took up his Bible again for the first time in four years, because, as he realizes now, the Lord Jesus had not left or forgotten him. The Lord was reaching out to him. This was the reason pastor began to read the Bible again, but this time seriously and intently. A desire grew in him to really learn the Bible, or more exactly, to be taught by someone who believed it sincerely, who took it seriously, and who knew it accurately.

To see this happen, pastor decided to leave home in order to gain the freedom he needed to explore, with God’s leading. In 1991, he moved to Boulder CO to endurance race on his bike, but more importantly, he moved to discover how Jesus would answer his pray and lead him into a church of his very own, where he could receive the Bible’s true teaching. He did not have any idea which church body (or denomination) that would be. Pastor had no idea about denominations and what each one taught.

While in Boulder, he supported himself as a nurse aid, working in a nursing home. There, a resident with Parkinson’s, named Jeanne, invited him to her church. It was the church that pastor was passing by on the way to work each day: “Peace Lutheran Church.” He sat in the parking lot on the first Sunday and chickened out—he did not go in. When Jeanne asked pastor the following week what he thought of her church, he had to tell her that he didn’t go in. That was not going to happen again. So the next Sunday, he went in, and heard the pastor preach a wonderful sermon about the forgiving grace of Jesus Christ for sinners…just what he needed to hear and receive. Six months of instruction later with that faithful pastor, he joined the church as a communicant member. The teaching he received was the answered prayer. He learned about God, creation, mankind, the identity and work of Jesus, the mystery of the sacraments Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and prayer. Soon afterwards, he began to think about studying for the ministry in the Lutheran church body he had joined, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).

New Purpose and A Wonderful Woman to Marry

Having a fear of public speaking, he thought he might try teaching rather than preaching. Pastor just couldn’t see himself as a pastor yet. In 1992, he entered the WELS’ teacher training school Dr. Martin Luther College (DMLC), in New Ulm, MN. There he met a young woman, a senior, with whom he became friends.

Following that one year at DMLC, pastor realized he really wanted to be a pastor after all, and not a teacher. He determined to overcome his fear of public speaking with God’s help, so that he might reach others with the forgiving grace of Jesus, both the lost and the found, just as he had been reached. He transferred to Northwestern College of the WELS, in Watertown, WI, to learn Greek and Hebrew and to take the theology and history classes he needed to enter the seminary. During this time he began to write poetry (very bad, at first, by his own admission). His DMLC female friend was now teaching in a Lutheran congregation of the WELS nearby. They began to date. Soon afterwards they married in the winter of 1995.

Following Northwestern, he took a year off from study. In 1996 he enrolled as a seminary student at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) in Mankato MN. (The ELS is a sister church body of the WELS, different histories, same teaching.) He graduated in 2000, and received a call to serve as the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, San Antonio, Texas. He ministered 14 years in San Antonio, and learned how to be a pastor there. (He’s still traveling that learning curve, too, he says.) He battled clinical depression during some of that time. With the help of Jesus, his wife, and a good therapist, he learned to understand it, put it to use, and grow from it as a person and especially as a Christian. Trials can always serve this purpose, as God sends them.

During the years 1997-2010, Pastor and his wife were also blessed by God with five children. Their oldest is a boy who was treated for leukemia as an infant, surviving chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant. He is now 17. Their second oldest, a girl, now 15, was born with Down Syndrome. She is blessed with very high function and good health.

In Thanks to Jesus

Pastor, his wife, and their children are thankful to the Lord Jesus for 14 wonderful years in San Antonio TX, where they will always have friends. The Cricks arrived here in Medford, OR, on June 23, 2014. They are looking forward to their new life among us at Faith Lutheran Church, and as residents with you in the greater Rogue River Valley.

***

Pastor Crick loves to…

cook (especially Italian food, having an Italian-American mother, who always filled the kitchen with wonderful aromas of pasta, soup, marinara, meatballs, and bread);

write free verse poetry about the trials and blessings of growing up, of culture, Jesus, creation, and the wonderful mysteries and frailties of life;

garden, including the landscape variety to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, the spice garden variety for his cooking, and the vegetable garden variety for his salads and cooking;

run competitively, in races of all distances (except the marathon!). Currently pastor is also assisting Head Coach Josh Wallace with the South Medford High School cross-country program.

Pastor’s favorite…

Book of the Bible is the Psalms. Among the psalms his favorites are Psalm 1,2, 16, 23, 42, 90, 104, 118, 121, 130, and 137.

hymn is “What Wondrous Love Is This?”

fiction book is J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings.” He had read it through untold times.

biography is “Lincoln’s Melancholy,” by Joshua Wolf Shenk.

poet is T.S. Eliot.

poems include Robert Frost’s “My November Guest,” T.S. Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi,” and “Marina,” Marianne Moore’s “By Disposition of Angels,” and Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Ulysses.”

musical artist is Bob Dylan.

month of the year is November