by Stephen Dafoe
A familiar face has returned to lead Morinville youth at The Father’s House. Matt Sampson recently took over from Pastor Peter Vischer as Youth Minister at the church.
Sampson first came to Morinville from Bible College in Kelowna at the age of 24. “I had to do a three-month internship to graduate from college,” he recalls. “So they sent me to Morinville, which coming from Kelowna was hard.” But he pastor endured the move and came to enjoy the community after working with local youth for three months.
During that time, Sampson started a youth program, one that grew from 10 attendees to 30 by the time the three months were over. The program’s success resulted in Sampson being offered a job in Morinville.
A decade later, Sampson has returned to fill the role performed by Doug Gordon, John Fleming, Luke Inberg and, most recently, Peter Vischer.
During his absence from Morinville, Sampson was a youth pastor in Kelowna before returning to work at HIS Trucking for a few years.
After returning to the area, Sampson was invited by Morinville Community High School to start a Bible study group in the school.
“That’s how I began my journey back to the church,” he said, adding he is working with the Division on the program. “It’s called Life Bites.”
Sampson sees the denominational cooperation more and more. “It’s happening not just with the youth ministries but in the churches overall,” he said. “The church is there to serve the community and I think we all have a common goal in doing that. People ar putting their pride aside and their visions and thoughts. We all want to work for the common good and see people come to God.”
The Father’s House’s Youth Pastor’s return to the church came about over the past eight months. It was a time when former Youth Pastor Peter Vischer felt moved to take on a more administrative role within the church. “Peter has an astounding administrative ability,” said Lead Pastor Greg Fraser. “His role is going to shift to the Pastor of Administration. He’s going to help all the other departments and areas of the church in administrations. He just lives, eats, and breathes administration. I’m the same way about vision. It’s a good marriage. I’ll think it. he’ll do it.”
Sampson said the church will hold a youth service every Friday night. Youth can come out to hear the Word of God as well as take part in fun activities. The Soul Cafe evenings will now take place twice a year instead of the four that have been running. Sampson is hoping by reducing the number; they will increase the quality and the impact by making them special. “I compare it to the Hockey Classic; they started doing too many, and it waters it down,” he said.
But his role at the church includes more than just organizing events for youth in the church and those interested in attending. Community outreach as well as pastoral duties for youth. The pastor is hoping to branch out into some outreach programs in the community, including at the Bob Foster Skate Park and in the high school and junior high schools.
Sampson’s next big event is the church’s Annual CARE Conference. The event takes place Mar. 13 and will once again include a large-scale Youth Outreach rally. Visit tfhchurch.ca for more information on the church’s youth programming.