Talking mission with…Matt Lacey
The Rev. Matt Lacey is the executive director of the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission for the Southeast Jurisdiction, based in Birmingham, Alabama. Below he’s answered New World Outlook’s Talking Mission questions for the Spring 2018 issue of the magazine.
PHOTO: MATT LACEY
What three words would you choose to describe yourself?
Quiet, pensive, learner.
(Though, I asked my 2-year-old daughter, and she said, “nice, funny, daddy,” which sounds a lot better.)
Whom do you admire most?
There’s no way I could choose just one person.
However, my previous ministry appointment was to a church that was open daily to the homeless and marginalized. My first day there I met a community member named Mike. He was a part of our housing program and helped others work through the addictions or obstacles that were keeping them in the cycle of homelessness. He wasn’t perfect—he was in recovery himself, relapsed several times, and tripped over a lot of stumbling blocks. But he wasn’t afraid to face those obstacles and use them as a way of strengthening his faith. He passed away several years ago, but he made an impact on so many people. (But if my parents are reading this, I’ll change my answer to my mom and dad.)
When and/or where is God revealed for you most often?
It’s not necessarily most often, but in those times when I’m out of my comfort zone, or in an unfamiliar place, I feel more aware of God. But sometimes those moments are few and far between.
I was motivated to become involved in this mission because…
I was 21 when I went on my first international mission journey to Mozambique. God messed up my life on that trip. It caused me to wrestle with who I am and who God is. It was a transformative experience for me, and I want others to have the opportunity to have that experience as well.
Serving others is often seen as something that is a part of our lives as Christians. It’s something we do when we have time, or when other people are watching in order to get noticed. But God calls us to make our whole lives about serving others. I still struggle with that, but if we don’t see serving others as a central part of our faith, we really haven’t understood the message of Christ.
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