Pastor Matthew J. Watts
Pastor Matthew J. Watts is the Senior Pastor of the Grace Bible Church of Charleston, West Virginia, where he has served for over 17 years. He has been a pastor for more than 26 years serving in several churches. He was formerly employed by Union Carbide Corporation for 18 years as an engineer and purchasing manager for Union Carbide’s Kanawha Valley Locations. He left Union Carbide Corporation in December of 1996 to pursue his ministry and community service projects. In January of 1997, he established the HOPE Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization with the mission of empowering the inner city through spiritual renewal, education, employment and training and economic development.
Pastor Watts is a native of Mount Hope, West Virginia and was educated in the public school system there. He is a 1977 graduate of West Virginia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. His Theological study includes the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, Illinois, as well as special training focusing on developing the black family through the Christian Research and Development Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Pastor’s 20-year career in Corporate America has enabled him to develop a keen business mind and he understands the importance of economic development to the empowerment of the African American Community. He developed Kingdom Management Consultants as a vehicle to assist minority owned business in their start-up and expansion plan, as well as to assist individuals in obtaining employment. He provided consultation to the One Valley Bank and the Charleston Black Ministerial Alliance in the development, implementation and marketing of the “Covenant Program”. From 1993 to 1997 he served as President and CEO of Kingdom Broadcasting Corporation, which operated 1490 AM WCZR Radio, he still host a weekly call in radio program.
Pastor Watts is recognized as a community leader and has earned this distinction through his active community involvement. Much of his community service is now done under the umbrella of the HOPE Community Development Corporation. One of his passions is working with youth. He has developed a model entitled HOPE Youth Development Movement. His staff shares this model each week at select public schools in the Kanawha County. Over 500 youth participate in the HOPE Youth Development Movement. He has also developed two models for juvenile offenders entitled “Prevention, Intervention and Diversion for Juveniles” and “After-Care and Transitioning for Juveniles”.
Pastor Watts views his community service as an extension of his ministry that helps him to keep his ministry focused and relevant as well as sensitive to the felt needs of the community. He serves as a mentor for young men and dedicates his time to service on several boards such as the Clay Center for the Arts, Governor’s Workforce Investment Council, Governor’s Commission on Prison Over-crowding, John & Vera Mae Perkins Foundation, Jackson, MS; Christian Community Development Association, Chicago, IL and the friend and confidant to many. He is also privileged to serve as the friend and confidant to many.
Pastor Watts has received local, state and national attention for his work. He was a 1996 recipient of the West Virginia Small Business Administration’s “Small Business Advocate of the Year Award” for his work on the “Covenant Program”. In 2002 Pastor Watts received the Washington Times Foundation Leadership Award for Faith Based Organization of the Year in West Virginia. He was also the 2004 recipient of the Crown of Peace Award for Exemplary Leadership in Reconciliation and Peacemaking from the Inter-religious and International Peace Council.