Abby Matter follows her own unique path to ministry
Abby currently serves as the Director of Middle School Ministry at Roseville Lutheran Church in Roseville, Minn.
For 23-year-old Abby Matter, attending Luther Seminary was a decision she made after asking God to help her discern what she was truly being called to do.
Matter, now in the second year of her M.A. program at the seminary, is concentrating her studies in children, youth and family ministry as well as in congregation and community care. However, she is quick to admit that the path that led her to seminary is one that took several twists and turns.
“I did my undergraduate degree in social work at Valparaiso University in Indiana and was a social worker there,” Matter says. “I was kind of going down the road of, ‘I’m going to get my bachelor’s in social work and then I’ll get my master’s in social work and then I’ll figure things out from there.’ But as I was getting closer to the end of my senior year, I realized that I was not exactly sure that was the route I wanted to go down.”
While Matter was contemplating her future, she was also attending her home congregation at the Church of the Resurrection in Pewaukee, Wis., and working part-time as a youth worker at another area church.
“Over the course of the summer of my senior year, I knew I had to start making decisions,” Matter says. “I decided I was either going to go on and pursue a master’s in social work or I was going to go to seminary. I really felt like I was directly in the center [between those two choices]. I kept praying, ‘God, just push me in one direction or the other, and whatever direction that is, I’ll pursue it wholeheartedly.’ It took me a while, but I was at a synod assembly and talking with one of the children, youth and family directors at the church [where I worked] and I just realized that was something I could see myself doing for a long time. I really do love social work, but I was having a hard time feeling like I could build people up without talking about my faith and using faith as a foundation. I felt if I didn’t find the right social work setting, one that was faith-based, I just didn’t know if I would be able to do my job adequately, even though I was trained for it.”
After Matter realized she was being called to attend seminary, she says Luther Seminary was always her first choice.
“I just knew that I felt called to be here and that was enough at the time,” Matter says. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve been working as the middle-school youth director at Roseville Lutheran Church and I can actually see myself doing that work [for my future]. Before, I kind of had the perception that I was going to come here, get my degree, do faith-based nonprofit work when I left and kind of slide down the social work path again. Now, I see myself being placed in a congregation, enjoying what I’m doing and serving kids.”
Matter also feels that Luther Seminary’s M.A. program has been the perfect fit for her and her needs.
“When I first came here, I had a lot of people telling me, ‘I know you don’t want to be a pastor right now, but when you get to seminary you’ll change your mind.’ As an M.A. student, I think it’s been really great to come here and be able to say, ‘No, that’s not what I want to do. This is what I’m called to do, and it’s okay that I’m called for this and not as a pastor.’ And it’s been awesome to find other people here who also really want to be an M.A. student. It’s been really cool for me to come here and be with people who’ve heard similar things, but they’ve also stuck with what their heart is in and what they feel that they’re called to do.”