New pastor at First Baptist

Published 2:38 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Pastor David Matsen has lived all over the country - from Kansas to Illinois to Michigan and even in Nebraska.
When the chance for him to become the pastor at the First Baptist Church of Niles and for his family to move back to the Midwest, they jumped at it and arrived here in November.
Matsen grew up all over the country due to his father being a pastor, but a majority of his teenage years were spent in Illinois. He graduated from high school in East Peoria and then attended Illinois State University where he majored in philosophy and business administration. There, he met his wife Julie, who also grew up in Illinois. The couple has been married for 20 years and has a 10-year-old son named Jared who attends Howard Elementary School.
Matsen believes that these different jobs he had before entering the seminary really helped him to prepare for his work with the church, and taught him how to deal with a variety of people in many different circumstances.
While in the seminary he majored in church history.
His history background is another reason why Matsen chose to move back to Michigan. "I love the historical aspect of the state, and the areas connection with history. I also love to hear people's stories about how things used to be."
Matsen said that he and his family are glad to be a part of the congregation at the First Baptist Church. True, they are going through a transition at the church with him being new, but they are really enjoying
meeting all kinds of new people.
Matsen said another reason why he is so excited to being the Niles area is to see all of the changes that are going on within the city. From the refurbishing of downtown, to the river walk, to the Ready 4 movie theater moving to its new Wonderland location. Its good to see the promotion of the community and for the people to have a sense of community.
The church community can also play a positive role in the community, by helping the community to be a better place, he added.
As for the church, Matsen hopes that after the Easter holiday, they will be expanding their Wednesday night programs and start offering more adult classes.
He also wishes to promote a learning as well as worshipful atmosphere, by building on what the church is already doing.