Joseph Mattera has been in full-time ministry since 1980 and is currently the overseeing Bishop of Resurrection Church in New York.
Known as “a leader’s leader,” Joseph is also a virtuoso on the guitar. He has received formal education in Kingsborough Community College, Elohim Bible Institute, received ministerial training from The International Christian Center, and has received an honorary diploma from Zion Bible Institute. Joseph earned a Doctor of Divinity from the Christian Leadership Seminary, participated in BILD (Biblical Institute for Leadership Development), successfully completed a one-year certificate program with the Wilberforce Forum, and has earned a Doctor of Ministry from Bakke Graduate University, with a concentration in Biblical Worldview and Urban Ministry.Joseph and his wife Joyce founded Resurrection Church in 1984. A multi ethnic congregation of 40 nationalities, Resurrection Church has developed and sent out high-impact leadership and numerous non-profit corporations that have greatly impacted nations and the New York region, such as Children of the City (COC regularly ministers to more than 2,000 at-risk children with counseling, after school programs, tutoring, mentoring, and other holistic ministries) and The Ekklesia Leadership Institute (which held intensive monthly seminars and week-long summits with a focus of raising up the next generation of leadership with a Christian world and life view).Joseph also has hosted his own radio show “Light Your City” and a weekly cable television programs “The Ekklesia.” He is a regular contributor to Christian newspapers, and through the years has given numerous radio and television interviews and press conferences, including guest appearances on TBN. His first published book Ruling in the Gates was released in April 2003 and has already had international acclaim.
In recognition of his years of faithful service and significant influence, numerous local and national bishops and apostolic leaders consecrated Joseph to the Office of Bishop on April 29, 2006.
Joseph, his wife, Joyce and their five children live in Brooklyn, New York.
In my opinion, many of the popular self-help teachings in books today are for people that don’t know themselves or God very well. The more you mature in the Lord the less you rely on these “training wheels.” Many self-help teachers and motivational speakers get into things that are very practical, but without the leading of the Lord it is often akin to humanism.
How did I arrive at my present opinion? Based on scriptures like Ephesians 2:10 which teaches us that God foreordained us to walk in a certain calling of “good works,” and Romans 8:29-30 that teaches we were predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. I believe that all of our inherent giftings based on our calling, personality, ability, physical limitations, intellect, geographic region, family location, and hereditary and genetic proclivities all add up to the truth that God has already providentially mapped out our lives (Proverbs 3:5-7). Thus, if we would live a life devoted to knowing and loving Christ then our fellowship with our Creator would activate whatever is inside of us, and we would automatically begin to walk in our unique vocations as we are led by His Spirit.
(Reading books on personality types, temperaments, giftings, abilities, and purpose are good primers to understanding ourselves and to identify how and what God wants to activate inside of us.)
But, many are so caught up in these kinds of methods that it takes our focus off the most important thing that catalyzes our purpose and gives us significance.
Jesus told all of us what our mission statement as individuals should be, when He said that the whole law of God is summarized in loving God with all the heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our neighbor even as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). He said all the teaching of Scripture depends on these two laws!
Paul the apostle continued this tradition of single-minded simplicity of focus when he said in Philippians 3: “One thing I do: I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way.”
In context, the upward call of God in Christ Jesus was to “count everything loss for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord….That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:8, 10).
Paul’s mission statement was simple: to know God and to follow His high calling in Christ Jesus. It wasn’t some corporate graph replete with mission, vision, personal short and long term goals, etc.
Jesus also made it simple in Matthew 6:33 when He said “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all other things would be added unto you.” True, God’s kingdom, like all other kingdoms, involves more than prayer. It involves economics, politics, education, family, etc. But, if you or I want to influence a nation, the fastest way is to get to know the president or king of that nation so that we could affect the way their decisions are made. It’s the same in God’s kingdom: if you want to influence His kingdom, get to know the King and have transformational conversations with Him through prayer.
Anything I have ever done of value for God has come out of my communion with God in which God laid something on my heart to do while I was worshipping Him and enjoying His presence. Some other times this occurred while I was interceding. (Most of the time it has been while I was relaxing and in silence before the Lord after a season of prayer and intercession.) I didn’t try to make it happen with goals and vision; it came to me automatically as I connected my heart to His heart and mind! And because He told me to do it, it was greatly blessed!
I have seen many pastors burn out or put undue pressure on themselves because of some books they have read, such as one book in which a successful leader says that he had a goal of reaching ten thousand leaders in three years before he would consider himself successful. Other books by self-help authors tell their readers to create their own reality by making the things they visualize happen through having practical goals. Although there is much truth in this methodology, oftentimes pastors and Christians fail when they attempt to employ these teachings because God never gave them the goals they are pursuing. Their goals are merely projections emanating out of their “dark side” (selfish ambition, pride, insecurity, proving their value by performance, etc.) Thus, they are bankrupting their churches or sacrificing their families for ambitious goals Father God never gave them to begin with!
I have no problem with strategic planning and mapping out short and long term goals. We all have to do this to be successful in what we attempt individually and corporately. But, my main caveat is that these goals better be given to you by the Father while in communion with Him. Jesus said that He only does what His Father tells Him to do (John 5:19). Unfortunately, many of us are busy doing things to prove our worth to our earthly fathers, peers, and to aid our own self-esteem.
Dr. Joseph Mattera