The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Matthew Barnett

About Matthew Barnett

Senior Pastor of Angelus Temple


Hosts weekly television program called The Church That Never Sleeps

Married with two children


Matthew Barnett: Finding Your Cause

By The 700 Club

Appeared on December 2, 2010 To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Dream Center, Matthew Barnett decided on an alternate celebration. He says God impressed upon him to spend the anniversary night on the streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles living among the people he had come to love during the past fifteen years. “The greatest celebration would be to demonstrate my solidarity with those I serve, to dig more deeply into their world so I could serve them more profoundly,” shares Matthew.  

Matthew says hanging out on Skid Row was a necessary recalibration to get him back on track – in sync with the cause God had instilled in him 15 years before. He says, “My first hour on the streets was the scariest 60 minutes of my life. I was terrified. The atmosphere is more frightening than anything you’d witness in a scary movie.” He walked the streets with his cardboard “mattress” in one hand and a Bible under his arm. He says the smell of urine and body odor made him want to throw up. Yet as he walked among the homeless, his love for these unwanted outcasts of society grew stronger.

While spending time on the streets, some of the homeless asked Matthew to read them scriptures. So he did. He even met some who he was able to help. After his experience on Skid Row, Matthew was anxious to get back to the Dream Center and share all he had learned. He says, “They are my cause. They are the reason I get out of bed in the morning, the hope I have for making a difference in the world. I did not live there, but I belonged there. I was called to serve them.”

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When Matthew arrived in L.A. as a 20-year-old kid, it didn’t appear that he had much to offer. He came with his dad, Tommy Barnett, to help turn around a struggling congregation in a desperate part of downtown Los Angeles. Matthew and his dad would be co-pastors. Yet, despite his best intentions Bethel Temple faltered.

In his desperation he asked God why he wasn’t becoming a successful pastor. He felt led to walk a few blocks to Echo Park in downtown L.A. “It had to have been a sure sense of God’s leading, because no young white kid would feel safe in Echo Park in broad daylight, much less in the dead of night.” Matthew compares the park to one giant urban crime scene complete with police cars, drunks, homeless people, drug deals and pregnant teenagers. Yet it was here in the midst of this chaotic scene the Lord spoke to Matthew’s mind: I did not bring you here to build a great church. I brought you here to build people – these people. You build the people. I’ll build the church. Matthew finally understood the cause God had chosen for him - to build great people. 

Matthew says God instilled many things within each person at birth and one of them is a great cause that He wants you to embrace. God’s cause for your life relates to helping and serving people. When you discover your true cause as God intended it will liberate your passion and gifts. Matthew says, “The fulfillment of your cause will leave things better than you found them and that includes you.”

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