Leadership and Servanthood

Chris and Bonnie Matthews

As a boy, Chris rode church buses to various Protestant and Baptist churches. When he was in his early teens, his family joined a church which taught baptismal regeneration. They baptized him based on an earlier profession of faith, but he had no assurance of salvation. In 1993, at the age of fifteen, he attended a church camp and fell under deep conviction. He pleaded with the counselors for guidance, but they assured him he was okay. That evening, a speaker recited the sinner’s prayer which reminded Chris of the true Gospel he had learned previously. He asked Christ to be his Saviour. Later, he was scripturally baptized and called to preach at Ray Avenue Baptist Church in Salina, Kansas. He attended Bible college for one year and was trained for six years by Dr. Plato Shepherd at Smoky Valley Baptist Church in Lindsborg, Kansas. Chris served as an associate pastor for three years, and in 2005, he became the pastor, serving until 2018. He also became a firefighter and an Emergency Medical Technician. He taught both EMS and CPR.

Bonnie was raised in the home of a godly pastor. She made a profession of faith at age four, but like many children, she later had doubts. It was not until she was a pastor’s wife that she received full assurance of her salvation. She graduated from Calvary University in Kansas City with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She was a pastor’s wife for fifteen years. She has taught music, written and led ladies’ Bible studies, led youth ensembles, spoken at ladies’ conferences, written historical novels, and taught piano. Bonnie has training and field experience in Teaching English as a Second Language.

The Matthewses could have easily continued serving the Lord in Kansas, but God began to burden their hearts for a very restricted country in Southeast Asia. Upon hearing this, people began telling them that they needed to attend BBTI. Shortly after arriving in 2019, they fell in love with our school and could see how it would benefit them on the mission field. Even while they were students, Chris envisioned returning to BBTI one day to help train missionaries.

In less than a year after graduation, the Matthews family arrived on their field. God gave them a very fruitful ministry in evangelism and leadership training. They were having the time of their lives! They loved the place and especially the people, and the people loved them. They often saw God protect them and provide miraculously. One such time was during the strict COVID lockdown when they needed to return to the US for the impending death of Bonnie’s dad. They were not allowed to leave their neighborhood, but they had to obtain their passports from another part of the large city. Couriers could not get through the military/police checkpoints, but Chris rode his motor scooter unhindered through every checkpoint without even being stopped!

Chris and Bonnie were not looking for an easier place of service or greener pastures, but God was impressing their hearts that they needed to labor at BBTI. Rex Cobb had previously told Chris that BBTI would soon need a younger director. After much fasting, praying, and seeking counsel, they contacted Brother Cobb, other staff members, and our sponsoring pastor, Steve Summers. No snap decision was made, but all involved, including the school trustees, believed that Chris was right for the job. He will officially become the director at graduation on May 18th. He plans to make trips back to his field to train church leaders and help oversee a Bible translation project. Chris’ leadership experience and Bonnie’s many skills will help move this ministry forward in the days to come.

Spring 2024