Matt Sweetman is the lead pastor of Destination Church. With a vision to establish New Testament type churches, Matt and his wife Heather moved their family to Chicago in April 2009 and Destination Church immediately started gathering in a living room on the north side. Having an existing connection with others in the city who wanted to help, things were quickly underway.
Much work was done throughout the first summer to get the word out. By September 2009 Destination moved to a Cafe close to the Addison Brown Line and started public Sunday morning services with a goal to increase the core group and build towards a launch date. After 6 months of steady growth Destination had to move again.
In February 2010 Sunday meetings moved to ComedySportz Theatre by the Belmont ‘L’ Station, right in the heart of Lakeview. With a soft launch on Easter Sunday 2010, Destination continued to build momentum towards a larger launch in the fall of 2010.
Having filled up ComedySportz Theatre by the end of the next summer it was time to move again. On Sunday August 28, 2011 Destination started meeting at Inter-American Magnet School, just East of the Addison Red line. This venue has provided excellent space for the children’s work and a larger auditorium for our Sunday gatherings.
Destination Church also gathers in midweek Small Groups in addition to our Sunday meeting. It’s been an exciting ride. You should come along and check out what God is building.
I was born in 1979 in Brighton, England. As a teenager I had a powerful encounter with God and quickly grew a strong desire to share about Jesus. I preached the gospel in my school and held weekly prayer meetings and Bible studies. A number of friends found faith in Christ through this awakening. However, by the age of eighteen I found myself spiritually apathetic. This continued for a few years until God used a friend to help turn my life around. I felt I had a calling for church ministry, but was unsure how this would play out.
I was invited to teach some seminars and be a counsellor at a youth camp at the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. After meeting the girl of my dreams there, then losing contact for three years, I ran into her again in England. Well, the rest is history. After proposing and moving to the U.S., we became heavily involved in youth ministry and church leadership. In the midst of this I continued to pursue a marketing career and also completed theological training through The Trilogy Project.
Everything was working out great. I had a sweet job. Amazing wife. Awesome church. Ministry opportunities. And, we were about to start a family. But something was still missing.
Then it happened. God clearly spoke to me at work one day about starting Destination Church. The Holy Spirit whispered to me “I’m with you all the way!” It was a broad promise but it was what I needed. After passing a comprehensive church planter assessment I took the plunge and left behind a successful marketing career in Kansas City and headed to St. Louis for an intensive year of training. Sometime later God spoke to my wife and I independently about moving to Chicago after our year of Church Planting Training.
And here we are. My wife Heather and our four kids, Jones, Macrae, Paisley and Finley, have found Chicago as our home and now we know that God had always planned for us to be in this city to start a new church.
He has already joined many others to help us pioneer this work and perhaps he is calling you as well?
Matt Sweetman, Founding Pastor