After catching a vision for the Great Commission, Pastor Matthew Rummage began to disciple a young high school student attending his church. After a several-year journey, this student now serves alongside Rummage as the church’s associate pastor.

When Matthew Rummage first became pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Catawba, N.C., his vision of success looked a little different than it does now. 

“I was so focused on the crowd, how to build a crowd … and I was pretty good at it,” Rummage said. “It’s one of the first questions you’re asked — how many people do you run a weekend.”

The answer to that question was of the utmost importance to Rummage when he began his ministry at Olivet in 2010. After a while, however, God began to convict him over this perspective.

“I was sitting on the platform one Sunday, and I was looking out, and I had one of those moments where I was feeling proud,” Rummage said. 

At that time, the church had just built a new facility and was already reaching its maximum capacity, looking to add another service in the near future. 

“But then, this sick feeling came over me,” Rummage said. “I felt God speak to me, and He said, ‘You are missing it.’”

Rummage recalls how humbling this moment was. 

“In that moment, it’s like I realized, ‘I don’t even really know these people,’” Rummage said. “I didn’t know where I was taking them. I didn’t know my goal for them.”

What was Rummage missing? He believes it was the Great Commission.

Rummage’s vision began to shift. Over a period of four years, God took Rummage on a journey to rediscover God’s desire for the church and His strategy for growing His kingdom. This shift is now marking Rummage’s ministry in meaningful ways.

A “2 Timothy” moment

In 2017, seven years into his pastorate at Olivet, Rummage met Andrew Patrick. At the time, Patrick was a high school student dating a teenage girl who attended Olivet church. 

“I remember one time coming home from camp,” Rummage said. “Some boys were asking questions, and Andrew was just confidently answering them. There was just something different about him.” 

For Rummage, it was a “2 Timothy 2:2” moment.

“I saw Andrew as one of those faithful men, a guy willing to sit down and learn,” Rummage said. “So I invited him, along with some others, to start reading the Bible and spending more time with me.”

When Patrick went off to college, he had no plan to go into ministry, but he did desire to grow in his faith.

“I was saved, baptized and hungry for discipling,” Patrick said. “So I was all in when Matt reached out to see if I wanted to do some weekly discipleship.”

Rummage and Patrick, along with others, got together every week for about a year.

“We got together, got into the Bible, and he took time out of his life to let us in.” Patrick said. “I wasn’t even a member at the time, and he was investing in me. It gave me the confidence that maybe he saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself.”

At a crossroad

Fast forward a few years, and Patrick was at a crossroad. He was about to graduate college and had some big decisions to make. He met with Rummage for guidance. 

“We talked and prayed, and he made a comment about how he wanted to become a member of Olivet,” Rummage said. “When he said that, it was like God said in my heart, ‘This is your guy.’” 

What Patrick did not know was that Olivet had recently begun the process of looking for more staff.

“We were going about it the traditional way, posting stuff with the state and local associations and seminaries,” Rummage said. “But number one, we were praying to see what God would do.”

To Rummage, this conversation felt like God’s answer. 

“I just asked him if he’d ever considered ministry, and he said he didn’t know, so I invited him to do a year-long internship at Olivet so he could figure it out,” Rummage said.

Over the course of that year, Rummage invited Patrick even more into his life and ministry.

“I did that internship for the entire year, and it gave me the ability to see the ins and outs of ministry,” Patrick said. “He was willing to let me into a lot of the ministry things that a lot of pastors are pretty isolated about — personal prayer time, visitations and having hard conversations. He really let me come alongside and just watch. I even got the opportunity to preach. 

“Matt really intentionally discipled me and let me see what it looked like to be a pastor.”

After that year, Patrick began to sense that God may be calling him to pastoral ministry. Both Rummage and the rest of the church affirmed that desire, leading to Rummage becoming associate pastor in September 2023.

“It felt like God had a plan for me, and that was being the associate pastor at Olivet,” Patrick said. 

“Take this gospel and give it away.”

Now, Patrick gets to do for others what Rummage did for him.

Whether serving as the associate pastor during the week, coaching the local high school baseball team or helping with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Patrick is now intentionally taking his time to invest in others and invite them to come alongside him.

Just recently, Patrick had the opportunity to baptize six people at his church, including a friend from his high school days, with whom he had been sharing the gospel at the same time that Rummage was investing in Patrick.

“It was a full circle moment, seeing how this whole Christian life is set up,” Patrick said. “Matt had been pouring into me, and I had grown to a place where I could pour into others. We are supposed to take this gospel and give it away.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE — To learn more about Matthew Rummage and Andrew Patrick’s story, listen to their discussion on the N.C. Baptists Podcast.