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OPINION

Gregg Matte to be Pastors' Conf. nominee

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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HOUSTON (BP) -- Gregg Matte, pastor of First Baptist Church in Houston, will be nominated as president of the Pastors' Conference during the June 17-18 gathering in New Orleans.
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John Bisagno, pastor emeritus at First Baptist Houston, said in a brief statement to Baptist Press Monday (May 21) that he was "deeply honored" to announce his intent to nominate Matte, his "wonderful successor" at the church.

"Pastor Gregg's unparalleled leadership at Houston's First is only a foretaste of a glorious conference in our beautiful city," Bisagno said, referring to next year's Pastors' Conference in conjunction with the SBC annual meeting.

Under Matte's leadership since 2004, First Baptist Houston has "moved to the cutting edge of ministry and experienced tremendous growth," according to the church's website.

Before his time at First Baptist Houston, Matte founded Breakaway Ministries, the largest college Bible study in the nation, at Texas A&M University.

"What started with 12 participants in his apartment grew to a weekly gathering of more than 4,000 students each Tuesday night under his leadership," the website says, adding that Matte serves on the ministry's board of directors.

Matte made headlines in mid-May for opting not to preach his planned Mother's Day sermon and instead to lead First Baptist Houston to pray for the homosexual community in their city after President Obama expressed support for same-sex "marriage."

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"It's not a civil rights issue, it's a theological issue," Matte told the congregation, according to CBS Houston. "Because God in the very beginning of days declared what is life and when is life.... He declared long before politicians what marriage and family looked like.

"So for us to come within political realms and step over into theological realms, it's just one more statement that human is above God because we think we as a government can determine the things God's already determined," Matte said.

CBS Houston noted that Matte's comments "echoed the feelings of evangelicals nationwide," with 74 percent of evangelicals in a Public Religion Research Institute poll saying same-sex "marriage" should not be legal.

"We pray, Father, for the homosexual community in our city," Matte said May 13. "We pray that they would turn to know Jesus Christ.... We pray the same for adulterers, we pray the same for the immoral, the greedy, the swindlers, the drunkards, all these things mentioned in 1 Corinthians."

Matte earned a master's degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelor's degree in marketing from Texas A&M. In 2011, he became the first pastor to receive the Outstanding Alumni Award from the Mays Business School at Texas A&M.

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This spring, Matte's book "I AM Changes Who I Am" was released, and he also is the author of a Bible study guide titled "The Highest Education: Becoming a Godly Man" and the book "Finding God's Will."

Matte and his wife Kelly have two children, Greyson and Valerie.

Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Erin Roach. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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