Matthew was raised in Camden, AR with the blessing of being raised by Christian parents and became a believer at 17 years old while reading his Bible.
For the first time, he realized how serious sin is, and his great need for God’s forgiveness only found in Christ. He was baptized at Cullendalle First Baptist Church in Camden. Matt’s greatest desire as a new Christian was to see all his friends and family become followers of Christ, and to serve his church. While reading the Gospel of John, he felt compelled to feed Jesus’ sheep (John 21:15-19).
To prepare, he attended Ouachita Baptist University, and completed his degree in Biblical Studies in 2003. While at OBU he met his wife Elizabeth and they were married in 2002. As a young married couple, they traveled on the weekends to serve a rural church where he was a youth minister, and was ordained to the ministry by his home church in 2004. As a young minister, he knew he needed more training and he believed that the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY was where he should attend seminary. Matt attended SBTS from the Fall of 2004 to the Spring of 2009 where he pursued an M.Div. from the School of Evangelism with an emphasis on Church Planting. These were wonderful years for Matt and Elizabeth. They were members of a faithful church, met life long friends, grew in their understanding of the great doctrines of the Bible, and they welcomed their daughter Sophia into their family in the Spring of 2009.
Their family moved to Pennsylvania in November 2009 where he had the joy of being the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Duncansville, PA for nine years. The Lord blessed the Smarts during these years with a great church family, where they were honored to share not only the Gospel, but their lives (1Thess. 2:8). In addition, their family continued to grow as well, with son Samuel was born in 2015 . There were three deep convictions that grew together during their time in PA. The first was the great benefit of expository preaching.
Matt’s conviction is that preaching verse by verse through books of the Bible is the best way to following Paul’s example of preaching the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). The second great conviction he developed was Reformed theology. Reformed theology is much more than what is commonly called Calvinism, or how God saves sinners. Reformed theology is a a biblical, God centered worldview that includes how God is to be worshiped, and how His church is to be organized. Matt subscribes to the 1689 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith, which he commends to everyone as an excellent standard of faith. A third conviction that grew during this time was the need for zealous evangelism. In 2012, Matt preached in the “open air” for the first time. In addition to faithfully reaching out to our community, he preached 2-3 times a week on college campus in PA and around the region, and in cities such as Washington DC, Baltimore, Cincinnati, New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Matt and Elizabeth began to pray about moving back to the area to be closer to their parents around 2017. The Lord has very graciously opened a door to serve at TRBC. It is Matt’s daily prayer the he would faithfully, “shepherd the flock of God among you (1 Peter 5:2).”