All Christians are called to care for and to watch over one another. Yet the Scripture also teaches that in each local church elders, also called pastors or overseers, should be appointed to serve and shepherd the church (Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1-5). Elders are responsible to serve by actively leading, praying for the church, feeding the church from God’s Word, and by overseeing areas such as worship, teaching, and finances. First and foremost elders are to lead by example. Some of our elders are employed by The Gathering Church to serve as full-time pastors, however other elders serve in other lines of work throughout the Portland area. Every elder is carefully selected, recognized and appointed by the congregation and meets the qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. The elders at The Gathering joyfully and seriously take the responsibility to shepherd and love the church. In polity, The Gathering Church is elder-led and congregationally ruled. This means that the elders lead the congregation in providing vision, strategy, and leadership, but the final rule is from the members of the congregation.
A Southern California Native, Matthew Cunningham was raised in Big Bear Lake, California for the first 18 years of his life.
Matthew holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and Greek from Multnomah University, and Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Degree from Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He currently serves as lead pastor here at The Gathering Church.
Matthew and his wife, Vanessa, are high school sweethearts. He considers her to be his saving grace, and the most faithful, steadfast, committed person he has ever met. Matthew and Vanessa were married in the summer of 2004, in Pacific Grove, California. They are blessed with six children, who are the joys of their lives: Annelissa, Alatheia, Benjamin, Nathan, Noelle, and Lilly. As a family, the Cunninghams enjoy camping, road-tripping, eating out, and dancing in the living room. Some of Matthew’s passions include: helping men grow in maturity and responsibility as husbands and fathers, seeing families strengthened, and seeing lost people meet Jesus. A couple of books which have been impacting in Matthew’s life have been Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards, and How then shall we live? by Francis Shaeffer. Matthew delights to be a member of the body of Christ at The Gathering Church. He loves teaching the Bible, serving with the elders, and seeing the gospel impact someone’s heart so that they continue to grow in grace.
Chris was born in Portland, Oregon in 1956. Raised in a Catholic family, at seventeen he came under conviction of his own sin when a street preacher shared the gospel with him in downtown Portland. But Chris’ life did not change until the summer of his junior year in high school. During a hitchhiking trip around the country, in Daytona Beach Florida, and high on LSD, Chris was confronted by a demonized man to accept that he belonged to the devil and to give his life to Satan. Chris, for the first time, stood up and confessed that he “belonged to Jesus”. Jesus Christ accepted that statement of faith and the next morning Chris woke up to a new life, was transformed and has followed Christ ever since. Not a recommended way to get saved, but it worked.
In 1975, shortly after graduating from high school he joined a discipleship and communal movement called Gospel Outreach – these were common at the time – and joined a team to plant a church in Chicago, Illinois. Subsequently, he was involved in church planting for almost two decades (planting churches in Chicago, IL, Eugene, OR, and Vancouver, WA).
Chris and Donna married in the fall of 1980. God has blessed them with eight wonderful children, and thirteen wonderful grandchildren.
Although Matt Zrust has traveled and lived all over the world, he spent most of his teenage years in Costa Rica, where he first encountered Christ at a Christian youth camp out. During the final message of the campout, Matt was overwhelmed with guilt for his sin; not just his actions, but for the desire to do things worse than he had already done. After the message, of which he heard little, Matt sat down on a fallen tree and wept. That day he repented of his sinful ways and told God that he wanted to follow Him as his Lord and Savior.
Matt holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and Intercultural Studies from Multnomah University, and currently is on staff at TGC and is studying at Western Seminary.
Matt considers himself extremely blessed to married to his wife, Amber Elizabeth, whom he met while attending Multnomah. They were married in the winter of 2004, and are blessed with seven children: Judah Immanuel, Caleb Matthew, Samuel Anthony, Ariella Lydia, Nathan Aaron, David Christopher, and Noah Barnabas. As a family, they enjoy biking, singing, hiking, cooking for large groups, rock climbing, laughing around the dinner table, sword fighting, and wrestling. Matt’s heart for ministry is to see the church engage in the community through building relationships and friendships, engaging in ministries of mercy, and by counseling those in need. His greatest desire is to both do these things, and equip the Body of Christ to do them.
Sevrin Hamilton was born in Tennessee and raised in Idaho. Through the godly example and testimony of his parents and Christ’s church, at the age of 7 Sevrincame to trust in Christ by the grace of God. Though his late teens found him wrestling with his faith and beginning to doubt and drift, in God’s kind providence, a backpacking trip through the Austrian Alps at the age of 18 brought Sevrin back to faith and stirred deeper affections for God and His word.
Sevrin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Secondary Education from Boise State University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Covenant College. He currently serves as an Associate Pastor at The Gathering Church.
Sevrin met his wife Megan while working as a rafting guide in Jackson, Wyoming. They married in the summer of 2005, and God has since blessed Sevrinand Megan with three beautiful children. As a family, the Hamiltons enjoy exploring God’s creation, opening their home to young people, reading books, singing, and driving all over Portland. Sevrin is passionate about seeing the saints of God equipped to love God, love each other, and go to the ends of the earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
Bio coming soon.