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Hi, I’m Mat Drozd.

Palos Heights, IL

Phone Number

(630) 697-0883

Email

[email protected]

Experience

Moraine Valley Church
Jr. High Director and Young Adult Director.

Education

Moody Bible Institute
MA in Biblical Studies with
Youth Ministry Interdisciplinary

Church Affiliation

Non-Denominational

Years In Ministry

7 years

Personality

ENFP

Skills

Teaching, disciple-making, video editing, vision casting, organization, communication, leadership development, self-control, program management

Tools & Software

ACS / Realm, Microsoft Office Suite, Planning Center Online, ProPresenter, Text-In-Church

Personal

Wife: Jess: Married 3.5 years
No Kids

Top 3 Strengths

Thoughtful0%

Team-Oriented0%

Compassionate0%

Student Pastor Questionnaire Responses
Personal Info
Please share briefly how you became a Christian.
My story is not complex, but it is significant as I was once dead in my sin, but am now alive to Christ! I was raised in a home that regularly went to church and pursued a growing relationship with Jesus. I attended all of our youth programs at our church, but it wasn’t until a summer camp while I was in Middle School that I placed my faith in Jesus as Lord. It was after hearing the Gospel message that I found a quiet space to process my desperate need for a savior. It was that day that I acknowledged my sin, repented, and trusted Jesus as my Lord and savior. From that point on, God has done so much work in me to grow me into the man I am today. He opened opportunities to be challenged, placed many mentors in my life, and guided me along the way. God had shifted some desires in my heart, which led me to go to Moody Bible Institute to prepare for the work of the ministry. From then, He has continually opened doors for me to grow in my leadership and faith.
How would you describe yourself?
  • Fun
  • Motivational
  • Flexible
  • Inspirational
  • Loving
  • Organized
Personality Type
ENFP
Tell me about some people (i.e. authors, mentors, and ministry leaders) that have had a big impact on you.
Growing up in the church, God has placed many godly men in my life that have mentored me and showed me what it looks like to be a man of integrity that walks by the Spirit. Some of those men still have a big impact on me today with one of them being my boss/ family pastor. I also have a small network of Youth workers in the Chicago land area that I am impacted by through bouncing ideas off of each other, seeking wisdom, and learning from. One recent ministry leader that has had a large impact on me is Steve Carter. With my current job, we set 91 day goals. One of my current goals that I am working on is becoming a more effective communicator and preacher. I have really been benefiting from Steve Carter’s podcast and messages as I learn how to effectively deliver God’s word and integrate my preaching with my integrity/ character.
Parents/Volunteers
How do you plan to engage and inform parents or guardians about your ministry objectives and progress?
I believe that a clear vision and mission can go a long way in unifying a church (congregation, parents, guardians, team). I plan to engage parents/guardians/ teams through communicating and inviting them into the live of our vision and mission. If we all know where the end goal is and how we are going to get there, we will move faster, impact deeper, and witness the Church in action with one mission to see Jesus lifted high. This is all done through clear communication, emails, videos, leaders meetings, parent nights, collaboration with other staff, the language we use, and longevity to see it through.
Tell me about a time when you developed a new team of volunteers into a strong working group. What did you do?
With my team of volunteers for our Young Adult ministry, I saw a large amount of development. This was a team that was fresh and new to the ministry. The development came through leaders meetings where I presented a clear vision, but also gave space for them to bring their own ideas and gifts to the table to see how we can effectively work out that vision. Having the clear vision set us up well to regularly refer back to it so that we can go into each ministry night with a common focus. On top of that, I meet with our leaders regularly to hear how they are doing and coach them on how they can effetely disciple our Young Adults. When the leaders were effectively working toward the same goal and gained ownership of it, I then brought the same approach to the “Student Leaders” in the ministry to help them use their gifts to join us in achieving our goals.
How would you alleviate the confusion when you are communicating with volunteers and it becomes apparent that they don’t understand what you’re saying or vice versa?
I believe that my personality sets me up for success with these types of issues. I think that I am naturally easy to talk to and work collaboratively. With this approach to leadership, I like to give my leaders a lot of room for giving me feedback and also showing them where they can grow and how to do that. From my experience, my leaders often feel comfortable to say when things are not clear. They either initiate that or we get their when I ask for feedback from them. I also like to process any big initiative with a few of my key leaders before I bring it to the whole group. This allows for us to work out any kinks or gaps in what I want to communicate.
Spiritual Growth
Once you lead a student/child to Christ, how do you communicate their decision to their parents? Once a child accepts Christ as their Savior, how do you begin discipling them?
The conversation may look like this: “Hey! I want to update you on a decision that your son/daughter recently made. He/She has been thinking and working hard on understanding the gospel and what Jesus has done. If he/she hasn’t told you already, I am excited to share that your child has accepted Jesus as his Savior! This is something worth celebrating and rejoicing over! I can’t wait for you to celebrate with him. He is in an exciting season of his life where he is beginning his new life with Jesus. He likely will be on fire for the mission that we are apart of and he will also have a lot of questions as he discovers what this actually means for him. I encourage you to keep an open line of communication between you and him so that he has the freedom to process questions, difficult conversations, and what it looks like to be a Christ follower. I am in your corner and would love to support you and your family in any way. If there is a question that you have or are looking for resources to learn how to disciple your child, I am here to partner with you!” From there, it is important as a Youth Pastor to connect with that student regularly to help him navigate all the new challenges that he is exploring. I would disciple him by praying for/with him, connecting him with a leader that is willing to read and process scripture with him, and walk through this next season with him as he discovers more deeply what it means to be a Christ follower.
As the spiritual leader of your ministry, how are you going to help volunteers grow in their faith?
The development of volunteers is one of my priorities in youth ministry. By myself, I can not reach the level of discipleship with all the students that I want to reach. The load of discipling the students needs to be shared and owned by the volunteer team so that each student is being fed and discipled. I invest in volunteers by meeting regularly with them oneon-one, Leader Training meetings, coaching throughout ministry programs, and setting the example that I am asking them to step up to. I provide resources such as books, podcasts, messages, walk them through scripture, talk through hard conversations, and care for their personal needs as a pastor.
Ministry Growth
What is your philosophy of ministry?
The purpose of student ministry is to equip and support students and families to walk faithfully with Jesus. Rooted in the Great Commission, making disciples (building up Christ-followers & reaching the lost) is at the heart of what a student ministry should be. Student ministry is equipping those who are already in Christ for the building up of the body, paired with bringing the hope of the Gospel to the lost. The programming, language, relationships, and time spent should help the students live out what it means to be an obedient follower of Jesus. Investing in the current youth is vital, because they will be the future of the Church. Therefore, student ministry is today’s necessity for tomorrow’s strength of the body of Christ. A successful student ministry will have passionate leaders who want to see the Gospel take root in the lives of students, a healthy and fun culture where people feel valued and welcomed, a partnership with the families, clear and sound teaching of God’s word, space for students to internalize and discuss God’s truth, and a community that takes their walk with Jesus beyond the program. Discipleship within a student ministry should start with the leaders. If we can train up and disciple the leaders, the impact and reach will be much deeper and wider. Student ministry is a long game of investing in disciples who can make more disciples. This model is more accurate to what Jesus did and is far more effective in fulfilling the great commission. Jesus spoke to the crowds, but He also invested a lot into the few.
What was the most creative idea you introduced in your last ministry role? What steps did you take to implement that idea with leadership, volunteers, and families if applicable?
I developed a student leadership group. I believe that this model displayed, communicated, and gave opportunity for me, our volunteers, parents, and students to own our mission of teaching God’s word and showing others what it looks like to follow Jesus. This is a group that meets regularly where we target the students that show that they take their walk with Jesus seriously. The goal is to help them recognize and develop their leadership skills, gifts, and help them understand their influence on their peers. I worked with parents with casting the vision and purpose while listening to them on how they see their kids gifts can be used to strengthen the church. I coached volunteers to help students see opportunities to use their gifts and then walk them through that process. We had the chance to see students see the gifts and skills and jump on ways that they can impact God’s kingdom.
How would you evaluate systems and structures to see if there could be improvement?
I would establish measurable values of the structure. For example: attendance, retention, feedback from students, feedback from leaders, feedback from parents, participation, next steps taken in student’s walk with Jesus, gauge the culture, growth of volunteers, etc. In addition to the above, I think feedback from those involved is very valuable in evaluating systems that are in place. Hearing different perspectives from students, staff, volunteers, and parents gives me a holistic review of how the system is received and experienced. Hearing different perspective can help me understand what is working, what isn’t working, and what could work better.
What do you see as some of the biggest problems plaguing youth currently?
Some of the biggest problems plaguing youth today are questions regarding identity, what it looks like to live out their faith in a culture that thinks and acts differently than we do, and the amount of change and inconsistency that they experience through this phase of their life. Understanding identity becomes a large issue of tension for youth. During this stage of their development, they are beginning to think more abstractly and start to explore some big questions such as, “Who is God,” “Who am I,” “What is my purpose,” and “What do I do with all of the information that I am receiving?” With media playing an aggressive part in communicating many different messages about identity, this is such an important issue to tackle with youth so that they can know that their identity is found in Jesus Christ. The youth are also facing the issue of navigating how to live out their faith within the world and culture around them. Everyone struggles with this to some degree…but as youth begin to think more abstractly, they have a better ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes or understand other people’s world-views. This is a point of tension when youth are now able to recognize that the people around them disagree with what they believe. With that in mind, it is a large hurdle for youth to live out their faith in Jesus knowing that many people will be opposed to what they believe and do. They are now able to recognize the big world issues, but don’t fully grasp the implications and solutions to them. A big issue that the youth are facing is the amount of inconsistency they are experiencing. They are facing an overwhelmingly amount of change within these years of their life. Many things in their lives are changing from their friends, schools, appearance, mental and physical changes, cultures, some receive their first phones, changes with hormones, and the endless amount of changes due to Covid. This amount of change within a short period of time leads youth to confusion, anxiety, stress, and an instability with what they know and find comfort in.
Describe what a weekend student ministry experience would look like. What multimedia components would be used to create a learning experience that makes the Bible relevant?
An ideal weekend student ministry experience would consist of content, schedule, activities, and more that support the need to feed a student’s spiritual walk, a healthy community, growing in understanding of our purpose, making memories together, and setting them up for living out our calling when the trip is over. Unified, focused, and polished content through God’s word is vital to a weekend of growth in our walk with Jesus. With students having very different learning styles, it is beneficial and important to have many different environments, styles, and methods of learning and growing toward the unified objective. This could include clear messages, small group discussion, alone time with God, activities that reinforce lessons, object lessons, and devotionals. This variety of communication will set students up for the most amount of growth in a weekend!
Describe the diversity of some of the ministries with which you’ve worked. How did you go about learning and educating yourself in order to effectively reach your community?
The main descriptor of diversity in our Middle School ministry would be students who’s family are church or not. We have a lot of students who’s families do not go to church and a lot who’s families do go to church. With this I try to reach the different needs of both groups. The “unchurched” students sometimes need to focus more on the basics of the faith. I try to make sure that I do not assume they know what I think they would know. With them, over explaining is more effective. With the other group, that has grown up hearing the basics, we focus on them to try to help their peers understand and process ideas and scripture. It is a constant dance of teaching at the level of those who have grown up in the church, but also taking the time to fill in the gaps for those who are new. In our young adult ministry, we have a wider ethnic diversity. I focus a lot on studying and learning different perspectives from the diverse cultures that our students come from. That really helps me create a culture that is open to people that disagree and value unity rather than similarity in thought. In a general sense, listen to a lot of different perspectives in theology, politics , cultures, etc. in order for me to understand others.
Is there a process that you go through when choosing a platform for screening volunteers, curriculum choices?
With volunteers, I meet with each volunteer to get to know them, screen their motives in wanting to volunteer, and figure out their passions to see if they would be a good fit for the ministry. I also do a background check on each volunteer that we keep on file. For curriculum, I am looking for something that does not adopt modern perspectives and thought. I need a curriculum that accurately interprets, communicates, and applies God’s word without changing it to fit the world’s values and messages. I do think that it is important that our curriculum does adapt the message to our students worlds in a way that helps them see how biblical truths can apply to our life today. Honoring the authors intended meaning is crucial to teaching students how to read scripture and apply it to their lives on their own.
What have you done in the past to ensure your church has a safe environment, including emergency procedures.
We do background checks on all volunteers. We have a policy for leaders and students that we always stay in groups of 3 or more. Rooms that students should not be in are locked. We keep record of attendance for future reference. With Covid, require masks indoors with appropriate games, activities, and seating that provides a safe amount of social distancing. If issues arise, we address them right away. Our leaders are trained to watch for suspicious activity with strangers or with students.
How would you describe the ideal relationship between senior/lead pastor and student pastor?
I am a very independent and self-motivated leader, but I do value and work better with a unified team. I believe that if a team is working toward the same goal, we can reach it more effectively. A team that is not unified with a common purpose will likely move in different directions. I want to be apart of a team that connects to find a common purpose, support each other, and sharpen each other while still being able to run after the unified goal individually. I also value accountability. I believe that people work better when they are held to a high standard. I don’t just think that accountability is making sure people are doing their job. I think it is that…and more. Accountability is making sure people are doing their job, supporting each other, encouraging each other, giving feedback, and working together for a common goal.

References

Pete Sutton || (630) 400-0697 || [email protected]
Alex McNeil || (708) 307-3701 || il [email protected]
Pat Peglow || (708) 212-8210 || [email protected]
Mike Locke || (708) 653-7958 || [email protected]

Favorite Bible Story

Jesus and Peter walking on water

Favorite Scripture

Philippians 2:12-13