Interview: Matt Canlis of Godspeed

Matt Canlis wasn’t too different from most young ministers at the tail end of seminary. He was full of big ideas for big churches. But unlike most young ministers, he benefited from a mentoring word from Eugene Peterson, who counseled him to put off being swallowed up by the “American Church Machine” and discover a different, older form of pastoral ministry in a parish. This led him to live at Godspeed.

“Go somewhere where God might do something, but you won’t get any credit for it,” Peterson said.

Wisely, Matt listened, and he and his wife Julie landed in a small rural parish in Scotland, where he began to be weaned off of his ambitions. Matt would put all he had into a ‘home run’ sermon, and on the way out the door, the parishioners would ask about the weather or his family.

In my interview with him (you can view the first part below), Matt opened up about the initial struggles that he and his family experienced. They sound familiar to all of us—trying to juggle responsibilities, trying to be everything to everyone. But in ‘the school of the parish’ Matt learned to live within the limitations God places on all of us mortals.

He slowed down to Godspeed.

I am so thoroughly impressed with the short film Godspeed and the Study Guide and videos that go along with it. The materials are gorgeously produced and feature teaching from N.T. Wright and Eugene Peterson. I’m grateful that Matt allowed such transparency in his own life and ministry to create this resource for church leaders and everyone who lives in our frantic world.

I hope you’ll watch both parts of my interview with Matt; you’ll want to pass it along to others as well. Then check out his resources online. He and Julie now pastor a church in Washington state.


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By | 2018-02-05T13:51:37+00:00 January 15th, 2018|Culture, Interview, Pastoral Ministry|4 Comments

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  1. Joseph Acanfora January 16, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Thank you for sharing Matt’s story in Scotland, a great reminder of our “First Calling” and keeping this primary. The “Fellowship of the Unimpressed” reminded me of my first cure in a small parish in a rural village of 450 for my first 6 years of ministry. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and sometimes long to be back in that real envirorment. Bless you for sharing this.

    • Kolby Kerr January 16, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Thanks for taking the time to check this out…I really enjoyed learning from Matt.

  2. Duane Miller January 16, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Really enjoyed this. “It’s not about you.” I heard that when I was…20? It was at an InterVarsity retreat I think. Let yourself be small. Another quote from Mother Theresa that has helped me as a minister and pastor: The only way to learn humility is by being humiliated.

    • The Rev. David Roseberry January 16, 2018 at 9:24 pm

      Thanks for the response to this interview. I was totally humbled by much of what Matt said.

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