The scene happens over and over again on a regular basis.
Starry-eyed young men and women with hopes of making a career in the music business arrive in Nashville; most often with no job, little cash, and a heart full of dreams.
While they have probably heard it before, somehow it still does not sink in immediately that there are at least 1,001 guitar pickers in Music City, USA. While pursuing their own special dreams, a reality check reminds them that a low-paying job must uaually be a part of the picture.
After all it takes money to pay the bills.
Matthew Anderson traveled a similar path. Born and reared in Washington, N.C., he began as a youngster singing in church, being a part of the young people’s choir and even doing solos. He also took voice lessons.
While in college he earned degrees in both music and voice.
With his formal education behind him, he believed Nashville was his next stop.
He recalled, “Somehow I just believed that I should strike out for the city that is famous for its music. I had never been to Nashville, knew no one there, had no job, but had a peace in my spirit about the move. When I left home, it was a heart-wrenching time for me with family and friends crying.”
Just 22 at the time, or 10 years ago, Anderson rented a 300-square-foot apartment and began his search.
Two weeks later, he landed a job with a recording studio. The only catch was that it was a non-paying intern position.
He asked himself many times in those early days and weeks, “Why did I come to Nashville?”
A few months later, he was still asking the same question.
Finally he landed a paying job. Selling telephone systems was a far stretch from the music business, but it paid the bills and allowed him to continue networking and building friendships in Nashville.
One day while leisurely strolling through Centennial Park, he spotted a young lady walking her dog.
He asked if it would be OK to join her. She said yes, and a new friendship began.
Today, she is Katy Anderson. He and Katy have two beautiful daughters; Canan, age 3, and Laken, who is 8-months-old.
There is more to this interesting story, which appears to have a providential appearance.
Anderson joined the Nashville Choir, which sings regularly with the Nashville Symphony. Another member of the choir, Clay Faircloth, was also pastor of Shelby Avenue Baptist Church. Faircloth asked Anderson to join him as Music Director at the church. After much prayer, he accepted the offer.
A year later, Faircloth left the Shelby Avenue church to pastor Faith Baptist Church in Mount Juliet. He wanted his friend and colleague to join him; this time as Youth Pastor.
“I had never thought of myself as being a youth minister," Anderson said. "After all, I thought that my calling was to be in music.”
When he arrived at Faith Baptist, Anderson’s youth department consisted of only four students.
Not to be discouraged, he literally rolled up his sleeves and began teaching and helping that small group to network in the community.
Five years later, the youth department had grown to nearly 30 and was totally immersed into projects in the Mt. Juliet area.
“Through that period of time, I knew with no doubt that God’s plan for my life was to be a youth minister. It took 10 years for me to discover it,” Anderson remarked.
Recently, an opening for youth minister of education became available at Barfield Baptist Church in Murfreesboro.
He was encouraged to apply, and on April 1, Anderson took another step of faith.
Regarding his new assignment with Barfield Baptist Church, he said, “The youth are like my extended family. I consider them as partners in the ministry. While the gospel never changes, the methods to involve our youth in service must be creative and inspiring where they will reach out to their peers.”