By Ashley Wiehe
Director of Communications
The Leighty family of six huddled together in the living room, laughing, singing, and celebrating their shared faith.
Smiles and song rang out as they sang one of the children’s baptismal songs.
It’s a yearly tradition—water and the Word. It’s one of the foundations of their family’s faith, and something that Matthew Leighty carries to work with him every day.
Matthew has served as the executive director of Worship Anew for the past 10 years. He leads the ministry in its mission to engage and equip aging adults with resources to live a full and abundant life in Jesus Christ.
“I feel like the work that I do in the ministry has been a great blessing—that I can be in God’s Word on a regular basis in all of the different aspects of the things that we do at Worship Anew,” he said. “I feel really blessed that the Lord has led me to where I am at now as the executive director.”
Matthew and his wife, Kelli, have four children, Ian, Reagan, Addison, and Brynn. They are a close family who share their highs and lows at meals every evening and celebrate their baptismal birthdays each year.
“Kelli does a great job of making their (baptismal birthdays) really special,” Matthew said, explaining about their gifts related to water and the Word and singing their baptismal hymns. “This is just a great reminder, just hearing the words of that hymn, of the importance of the baptism that each of us has had and for us to be able to carry that throughout our lifetime.”
Matthew found his inspiration to enter into ministry work from his father’s choice to become a pastor.
“I remember that day my dad came home and told us that he was wanting to go to the seminary and that’s where that all began,” he said.
Through moving from Iowa to Minnesota and ultimately to Fort Wayne, Ind., Matthew saw his father’s faith grow and then his own faith as he attended a Lutheran grade school and then high school.
“For me, that was an incredible experience,” he said. “Seeing (my parents’) commitment to serve and sacrifice to serve was really valuable and important to (me and my sister).”
When it came time for Matthew and Kelli to have their own family, it was something that they wanted to instill in their children.
“It’s been a great way for us to raise up our family knowing that we are serving the Church and that we are serving the Lord in all that we do,” Matthew said. “No matter what calling someday our kids may have, ... it’s about serving the Lord in any and every capacity that we have.”
All four of the children attend a Lutheran school, and Kelli works as a teacher at a Lutheran school in Fort Wayne. For her, it’s about sharing a servant heart with her children.
“The kids know that I get involved very heavily at school, and I drag them along with me, volunteer them for things that they may not want to do, but they still come and they do it,” Kelli said. “We’re trying to teach them that servant attitude and to be a servant of Christ and help others in any way that we can, using the gifts and talents that He has given us.”
As the family sat together, sharing their faith, the warmth of the room and the love in the house was evident around them. Smiling pictures covered the walls. A pillow sat perched in a chair, listing all of their names one by one. The dining room was close by with the promise of family dinners to come.
And the words of their baptismal hymn hung in the air:
“Father welcomes all his children to his family through his Son. Father giving his salvation, life forever has been won.”