Matt Cook, a former moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and a long-time pastor, will join the Center for Healthy Churches as full-time assistant director on Sept. 1, the organization announced today.
Cook currently serves as senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. He and his family will soon relocate to Dallas, Texas, from where he will work as a consultant to churches and ministers in Baptist and other denominations.
CHC founder and Director Bill Wilson said Cook’s 25-plus years’ experience serving local congregations in Arkansas, North Carolina and Texas will contribute powerfully to the growth and impact of CHC and its clients.
“At age 47, he represents the future for our efforts to engender sustainable health in congregations and clergy across the nation,” Wilson said in a news release.
Cook said he’s eager to join the Center’s mission of serving congregations and clergy facing significant changes.
“We are in the midst of the most challenging but also the most dynamic period of change that congregations in North America have ever seen,” he said in remarks included in the news release.
Individuals and organizations that seek and embrace missional clarity, and who engage with their local communities, will experience exciting new opportunities, he said.
“We can either drown in those waves of change or we can surf them,” Cook said.
Those who have worked with Cook say he will be effective in shepherding faith communities through transformative challenges.
Cook has served the Fellowship on the national and state levels, including time on the coordinating councils of CBF Arkansas and Texas. He was the founding convener of Current, CBF’s young leadership network.
Such wide-ranging and consistent experience, plus his network of relationships, will enable Cook to be a leading and trusted guide to congregations and ministers, former CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter said.
“We have stronger, better prepared leaders today because of his leadership and gifts,” Paynter said in the news release.
Cook is a graduate of Samford and Baylor universities and is known for a scholarly and pastoral approach to ministry. Taylor Sandlin, the pastor of Sugarland Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, said those skills will be major assets to CHC and the people it serves.
“His pastoral experience and theological depth will be a real asset to congregations of every size,” Sandlin said.
Cook’s addition will help take the Center to new levels, Wilson added.
“Matt’s joining CHC is both an answered prayer and testimony to the remarkable growth and potential of our group,” he said.