By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
Abounding Hope Church Pastor Matthew McGuire was raised in a Godly home, with an ongoing Godly example. He believes that a personal relationship with God is something to be developed by each individual. His journeys have taken him to foreign countries, different states and now back home again.
“In the spring of 2021, I was given an offer, actually an answer to prayer, to become the Facility Manager at James River Camp near the family farm in Huggins, where I grew up,” said McGuire. He would accept the position in April.
Matthew and his wife, Mary, attended Abounding Hope where his father, Phillip McGuire, was the pastor. After his father announced his retirement, two congregants at the church asked him, “Have you ever considered pastorship?”
“I was very busy with the camp facility itself, and the responsibilities of finding help and overseeing it all,” explained Matthew. “I wanted to give a blank check to the Lord and to be a servant, to accomplish what needed to be done, and to do it with humility.
“I needed to be absolutely clear I was doing it 100 percent with God’s blessing. Having grown up in the Bible belt and with my father being an integral part of a church family, I knew that it was a huge responsibility and workload. I have never wanted to be a common, casual or passive Christian. I have always wanted to have a deliberate relationship with God, a sincere sharing of evangelism. Like my dad, I wanted to be a leader and a team builder. He defined the difference between being a preacher who relayed God’s word and a pastor, which is much harder, someone who shepherded and cared for people as well as relaying God’s word. If it was God’s will, I would be a pastor. I saw how God was working in the fall of 2022, when circumstances led this direction. I don’t know what I can or can’t do, but I’m willing to follow His lead.”
One morning, Matthew was told that he was preaching a sermon while at the breakfast table, so he accepted the call from Abounding Hope.
“I have the most gracious group of people at Abounding Hope Church for someone in my position,” he states. “And I have found the countenance, humility, talent and character of the pastors in the Ministerial Alliance to be most admirable.”
Matthew and Mary also work with a group of high school students on Wednesday evenings. They enjoy going down the Roman Road with them, with role playing, good participation and good questions being the format.
His mission scripture is, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2, KJV)
Growing up on the family farm, hauling hay and cutting wood, McGuire now considers himself at that time a back row Baptist. He learned of God in spite of himself, by example from his father and family. His father was first with the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department, and then became a full-time pastor while also running a dairy farm; most recently, Philip retired his pastorship from Abounding Hope.
After graduation Matthew joined the Navy, initially in a “buddy program” with a friend. His friend experienced health problems and joined later. Matthew proceeded to boot camp in Florida and was then stationed in San Diego, Calif. He pursued electronics training while in the military. His service offered him the opportunity to see the contrast between the world and his “raising” at home. He then began to pursue a God relationship in earnest.
He joined a college and military parachurch, which is a Christian faith-based organization that works outside denominations, engaging in evangelism and social welfare, called “The Navigators.” When on military vacations Matthew did short-term mission trips that took him to Southeast Asia, Malaysia and Thailand, where as an outreach program, he participated as a liaison between schools and nomadic tribes.
Matthew continued with “The Navigators” after an honorable discharge from the Navy, having served from 1984 to 1990.
Not ready to go home, he followed a friend and went to Portland, Ore., where they set up mission trips working through contacts made with local pastors who worked with the native people. Unbeknownst to him, his future wife, Mary, was already there. Mary, a 28-year old single Certified Public Accountant (CPA) yuppie, lived in an apartment complex next to a mall where Matthew stopped to make a phone call to a friend in the parking lot.
His next move took him to Beaverton, Ore., where Matthew joined Dan York, a friend from the Navigators. He held a position in security, which allowed him the freedom to continue to work coordinating mission trips. Physically he was located in the lobby of the building where Mary worked. Still they did not meet, although there possibly was a greeting shared at times.
The Lord redirected Matthew in 1994, to an electronics manufacturing company located in Newberg, Ore., where he started attending Lakeview Baptist Church in Lake Oswego. This time Matthew and Mary would meet, at the church singles’ group, attended only because it was a church affiliation. Mary had lived in the north and northwest, and was the daughter of a professor, also living in Lake Oswego.
They married in January 1996, and moved to Moses Lake, Wash. They continued with their careers and started a family, having two children, Conner and Jessica.
Matthew had “searched the world over” and in December 2003, he and Mary moved the family closer to home, in Springfield, Mo. They wanted to raise their children near family and with roots. They adopted their nephew, Chris, in 2013. Their careers took them to Springfield, Branson and then to St. Louis, where they remained until 2021, before relocating back home in Huggins.
We wish Pastor Matthew and Mary the very best as they lead their flock at Abounding Hope.