Few Baptist churches begin their name with Saint. Why ours? Initially because we started in a new town, now a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky, called St. Matthews. So we took on the name of our home location. On the surface that seems to answer the question. But as a church, we knew in our beginnings and know now that there is more to this name. There is a God-given origin to our name that many in our community have forgotten. Our very name bears witness to God’s hope of salvation offered through Jesus Christ.
The founders of our church knew that:
Saint in the Bible indicates a person who has willingly “set apart” his or her life to live in a holy relationship with God and then to serve Him in the world.
Matthew was a writer of the New Testament’s first book who was transformed by Christ and whose courage inspires us today.
Baptist is a name given to people who give witness to their faith in Christ by public immersion which signifies their new life in Christ, and that group of believers called Baptist organize themselves into a community around their faith in Christ.
Church is the New Testament word, ecclesia, for “gathered ones;” a gathering of people to live a common life of servanthood, worship, ministry, and missions.
Our name reminds us who we are and identifies us to others…We are St. Matthews Baptist Church.
St. Matthews Baptist Church is a Protestant Christian Church in the free-church tradition. We don’t require our members to sign or recite any creed. We unite around the simple Christian confession: “Jesus Christ is Lord!
Our Core Beliefs
- God is the loving Creator and deserves our worship.
- Jesus Christ is God’s Son and everyone needs to know Him as Savior.
- The Holy Spirit is God’s presence in the life of every Christian.
- The Bible is God’s inspired word for our lives.
- Christians should seek to grow, practice, and share their faith so that others may know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
- St. Matthews Baptist Church is part of the body of Christ here on earth.
The most comprehensive statement of faith around which most SMBC members would find agreement is the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message.
While St. Matthews is part of the worldwide Body of Christ, we find it important to identify with the principles, traditions, and freedoms of the Baptist tradition. Among these are:
Soul Freedom: Each person, having been created in the image of God, is able and responsible to make moral, spiritual, and religious decisions. Our belief that every person stands as a competent individual before God and is responsible to determine what his or her soul dictates is referred to as “soul competency.” We believe each person has the capacity to enter into a relationship with the Creator by his or her own free will.
Bible Freedom: Bible freedom is based on the belief that the scriptures as contained in the Old and New Testaments are the inspired word of God, and that they reveal Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Therefore, each believer has the freedom and responsibility to study and interpret the Bible through the life, teachings, and Lordship of Jesus. This freedom defines our purpose of continuing in obedience to God’s word in faith and in practice. Because of the power of the Bible to make God’s will known to us, the Bible can transform lives when it is interpreted and applied under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Church Freedom: Church freedom is the belief that each local church has the freedom and responsibility to interpret scripture, select its own leaders, and make its own decisions in matters related to church governance. No state, regional, or national group has authority over a local Baptist church.
Religious Freedom: Religious freedom is the belief that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom for religion, and even freedom from religion.
Baptists have historically believed religious liberty is best protected when the church and state are institutionally separated and neither tries to interfere with the essential mission and work of the other. As our nation was being formed, Baptists were influential in the inclusion of religious liberty in our foundational documents. This is a distinctive Baptist contribution to religion in this country.
Our Mission Statement
Our mission statement remains unchanged. It declares our purpose as “Loving and Leading people into a Growing relationship with Jesus.” A mission statement is basically a written down reason for being. It describes who we are, and what motivates our actions. We want everything we do to be about Loving and Leading people into a Growing relationship with Jesus.
Our mission statement is built around two passages of scripture: The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40) As a church, we want the fulfillment of these two mandates to be foundational to everything we do.
Our Vision Statement
St. Matthews Baptist Church will be a vibrant faith community, demonstrating the love of Christ, becoming vital to the life and hope of our city.
Together we will:
- Renew our congregation
- Reimagine our church
- Refresh our campus
- Refocus our communication
- Reconnect with our city
In Isaiah 49, the prophet is discouraged. God tells him the reason you are discouraged is because your vision isn’t big enough. I am going to make you more than a light to Israel; I want to make you a light to the nations. In other words, Isaiah, dream a bigger dream.
As a church, we don’t want to simply focus on what we can do by our own power. Our prayer is that God would work in such a way as to leave no doubt He is in this, accomplishing more through us than we could even dream on our own.
A vision statement describes what we believe God wants to accomplish through us to help build God’s kingdom. It paints a picture of how we believe God is leading us to accomplish our mission.
Our vision statement is built around 1 Corinthians 13. Paul tells the church at Corinth it could be involved in all sorts of great activities, but if love isn’t the driving force, what does it matter? At the end of the chapter, he says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV)
As you read our vision statement you’ll see all three of those values, expressing our desire to be a church that models faith, hope, and love. At the center of our vision statement is the greatest of them all—love.
We want to be a vibrant faith community. This means we are growing in our faith, falling so madly in love with Jesus that it drives everything we do. It also means we are growing in love for one another, becoming a true community of believers, living in unity.
We will demonstrate the love of Christ to each other, and to the world around us. We want to do more than simply declare, “God loves you and so do we.” In our cynical culture, we must demonstrate the love of Christ before many people will believe it.
And, we want to be vital to the life and hope of our city. This connects us to a Jesus who loved the city of Jerusalem so much He wept over it. We want to have the same brokenness and desperation over the lostness of our city. Further, we want to impact our community in such a powerful way that, if we were to go away, people would grieve our absence and would long for another organization or church to rise up and fill the void that would be left.
These are big dreams, to be sure, but we have a big God, who is more than able to work through people like us to change a community, a city, a nation, even a world.
Our vision statement paints a picture of how we think God is leading us to carry out that mission in the future. That is covered by the second part of the statement.
Together we will renew our congregation.This is a focus on spiritual growth. 2 Chronicles 7:14 reminds us, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Renewal begins with God’s people. The movement is inside-out. We must become more intentional about helping people take next steps of growth in their faith journey. We want to be a prayer-driven church.
Together we will reimagine our church. SMBC has a great history of creativity and innovation. We led the way in creating a Parents Day Out program more than 50 years ago. We were on the cutting edge of adding an orchestra to worship. We want to continue that tradition. What administrative processes set a strong foundation for our ministries? What new ministries must we create to better serve our community? At the same time, what existing ministries need renewal? We must also have the courage to ask what we need to stop doing in order to focus energy on key priorities.
Together we will refresh our campus. God has blessed us with wonderful facilities. How might we refresh them to better serve our needs in the future? We want to make a great first impression when people walk into our public areas, restrooms, classrooms, and sanctuary. As the general population ages, how can we make our buildings more accessible? At the same time, how can we be more “user friendly” for young families? There are also issues we would not have considered 30 years ago in shaping our facilities, like the impact of technology on future ministry directions.
Together we will refocus our communications. It’s not a secret that we can and must do a better job communicating with members, and with our community. How can we effectively use traditional means of communication, while thinking about future trends? What needs to happen with our website? What about social media? We are in a residential community with no natural traffic patterns. How can we tell our story in such a way that it motivates people to find us?
Together we will reconnect with our city. This is where we move from inside to outside and become vital to the life and hope of our city. What can we do to serve the needs of our neighborhood? How can we better make connections with people in our community? For example, the neighborhood garden last year was more than just a place to raise vegetables, though we did give more than 1,000 pounds to feed hungry people in our city. We also discovered it was a great way to meet neighbors and begin a conversation with them.
1926 – Tent revival gives birth to a vision that is now our church (SMBC).
1927 – SMBC organized as an arm of the Walnut Street Baptist Church. About 25 persons are welcomed into the fellowship.
1935 – Construction of a building at Breckinridge Lane & Willis Avenue began.
1949 – First service held at new Grandview Avenue site on Sunday, October 30th.
1954 – A new $150,000 educational building is constructed.
1958 – Weekday Preschool Education began.
1960 – Church hosted Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting.
1982 – The church was ravaged by arson’s fire on January 10th.
1985 – On Easter Sunday, April 7th, first worship service held in new sanctuary.
1992 – Church hosted Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting.
1994 – Dr. Leslie Hollon becomes Pastor.
1998 – International Reconciliation Conference hosted at Church.
2002 – Church celebrates its 75th Anniversary.
2004 – Church hosted annual Kentucky Baptist Convention.
2007 – Hosted regional breakfast for Dr. David Coffey, President of the Baptist World Alliance
2008 – Started “Faith for Life” contemporary service
2008 – Reconciliation Networks of the World (RNOW) conference at Church
2009 – Church hosted Women’s Missionary Union Annual Meeting
2010 – Dr. Greg Barr becomes Pastor
At St. Matthews Baptist Church we provide our campus users with exceptional value and are the perfect location for you to have your event. We are located in St. Matthews near Seneca Park. We have several rooms to choose from, you can host groups up to 1,200 people for single or multi-day rentals. We have a parking lot large enough to accommodate major events. Our staff is experience in conducting successful events and would be happy to work with you.
The Sanctuary is both functional and beautiful. It is semi-circular in design and can accommodate 1,200 persons. It has both a grand piano and a Moller 53-rank Pipe Organ. The use of projectors and screens can be included for an extra fee.
The Grandview Room has over 9,000 sq ft space suitable for receptions and large events such as banquets, conferences, training, receptions and corporate events. It can seat 600 theater style or 350 with round tables. It is located adjacent to the large commercial kitchen which can be rented in conjunction with events in the Grandview Room. Some of the amenities include a sound system for background music, lecture and announcements, wireless Internet, microphones, CD player, podiums and easels. There are many media options available upon request.
The seating in the 2,400 sq ft Chapel can be configured to your specifications. It will seat up to 175. It contains a mural size reproduction of Leonardo do Vinci’s “The Lord Supper” painting. A portable screen and projector are available.
Our gym contains a basketball court that is slightly under regulation size – approximately 85-90% of regulation size.
We have almost 50 classrooms in a variety of sizes that can accommodate from 10 to 75 people. Some have media capability.
Special pricing is available for weekly support groups