Here at First Free we believe God has given the church elders, men who have been chosen by God to know, lead, feed, and protect his flock. Over the next year, we’d like to help you get to know our elders better through an in-depth interview with one of our elders each month. This month we’re talking to Matt Brown.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, including how you came to First Free?
I grew up in Wichita. I left in 1995 to join the Air Force, thinking I would never return, however, the Lord had far different plans for me and we returned to Wichita in 2010. My wife grew up attending First Free. I started attending in 1994 during my senior year of high school. I had a connection at the church from an older brother that worked with the youth group. My mother had also led a small group of ladies from First Free in the early-mid 1980s.
Tell us a little bit about your family, and what you do for a living.
Christi and I have been married for over twenty-two years (November 2021 will be twenty-three). We have two daughters, Kaitlyn, who is age fourteen, and Brooke, age eleven. I am the Director of Customer Success at a managed security services company.
Any hobbies, interests in what spare time you have?
I’m a diehard Chiefs fan. I also enjoy fishing. I love history and documentaries around history. I also love folklore and enjoy watching shows around American folklore. I was definitely influenced by Star Wars and still love the franchise a great deal.
How did you come to faith in Jesus Christ?
I was born and raised in a strong Bible believing/life changing, Christian home. It was my mother that first led me to Christ at a very, very, early age, five years old. I remember the repentance prayer, but it took years, tears, mercy, grace, prayers, and love for me to finally realize that Jesus was more than just a name. His atoning work on the cross is the ONLY reason I can have a personal relationship with God, and it is only through him and his grace that I can become MORE like him as I continue to work out my salvation in fear and trembling in reverence to him.
What role has First Free played in your life?
Well first and foremost it brought my bride into my life who has been instrumental in my life and my walk. But I also attended Awana in early 80s where Rick Conklin signed many of the pages in those books. So First Free has shaped me in many ways through the years.
In recent years it’s been the teaching of this church that has greatly influenced my own convictions. Grace is paramount in our walk; but we also are accountable to mirror our lives after Christ and the Word that he fulfilled. I’ve flourished under the teaching at First Free.
How long have you served as an elder? What’s that been like?
Approximately eight months. It’s been humbling and yet incredibly insightful to see how other men shepherd. I’m grateful to serve on this board and I hope my life experiences and my deep convictions in God’s Word will be used to guide and lead others.
As an elder, how would you like to encourage and exhort First Free?
I hope the congregation will increasingly love the Word. I want First Free to passionately love God’s Word, to read his Word, see the beauty in the stories of old, hear the music in the Psalms, feel the exhortations from Paul, and intensely see Christ in all of it. I also want our congregation to know they can come to me anytime for prayer, encouragement, etc. That as an elder, I’m called to guide, teach, and lead in love and in encouragement to them.
How can we as a church be praying for you personally? For the elder board?
Please pray for myself and my family as being a leader in the church puts a large target on you for the powers of evil to fire at. I would ask the same for the Elder Board and their families. Personally—that I would continue to fall on my knees asking our Father to help me become more like his Son. I find myself all too often thinking I can handle life on my own; and then I find myself not handling life on my own!