Meet San Antonio Campus Pastor Matt Snellings
Native Texan, writer, comic book nerd and San Antonio Campus Pastor Matt Snellings is no stranger to Chase Oaks Church. Steeped in the church’s DNA, Matt is excited to launch Chase Oaks’ first regional campus in the city he now calls home. Matt is passionate about helping to build a church that will tangibly express the heart of what it means to follow Jesus.
Matt was born and raised in Houston, Texas. At an early age, he discovered an interest in art and drawing. His interests soon broadened to include comic books and all things Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and Star Trek. Recognizing power of art to communicate stories, Matt began creating—and illustrating—his own story lines and characters. His drawing and painting style was always unconventional, upholding the idea that beautiful, meaningful things can come from imperfect lines and forms.
Growing up in a Christian home, he attended church every Sunday with his family. He was very involved in youth group and appreciated the influence of his high school youth leader, who inspired him to have a similar impact on students someday. But despite all of the activity, he never placed his faith in Jesus Himself.
Searching for Meaning
After leaving for college, Matt found himself disconnected from church and Christian activities. Keenly aware that something was missing, he began to look for meaning in relationships and joined a fraternity to find close friends. But the search left him unfulfilled.
Eventually, he transferred to the University of North Texas to pursue art education. He initially did so because he thought teaching was the only way he would find employment as an artist. To his surprise, he discovered a deep love for teaching. Others were not surprised, given the multiple generations of educators in his family. He also met his future wife Jenn, the daughter of a teacher, in the Art Department.
At the same time, Matt recognized that his search for fulfillment might have a spiritual origin. One night, he attended a Christian meeting on campus where the speaker challenged him to consider how a relationship with Jesus impacts dating, identity and family—all things that matter to a college student. Matt started to wonder whether this relationship was what he had been searching for all along.
Soon afterward, he found himself in a friend’s dorm room, talking with a bible study leader. Matt was captivated by the story of God’s grace and mercy, fully illustrated in the person of Jesus. He decided that night to become a Christ follower.
He immediately joined a small group and became involved with a church-based ministry. As he grew in his faith, he sensed that his desire to invest in the lives of students was shifting from a classroom setting to a ministry one. Matt graduated from UNT, worked for a few years and then enrolled at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Putting Down Roots
After graduating from DTS, Matt worked as a youth pastor for eight years—first in Houston and then at Chase Oaks—before moving to serve at a church in San Antonio. The city’s warmth, slower pace, and “small town feel” immediately felt like home to the Snellings.
Matt and his wife Jenn (a middle school art teacher!) have continued to put down roots in San Antonio for almost a decade now. They have been married for 22 years and have two children: Kaiden and Savannah. Kaiden loves riding his bike and playing video games, while Savannah loves theater, singing and the arts in general.
About two years ago, Matt began to sense that God was up to something. He longed to see a different picture of what it means to be a Christ-follower in today’s culture. He started praying that God would show him how he could be a part of serving and loving people in San Antonio in a new way.
The possibility of launching a regional Chase Oaks campus began to emerge. Because of the Here For Good Project, that possibility became more concrete, and Matt knew that this next step was what God had been preparing him for, all along.
In His Own Words
Read on for more fun facts about Matt, in his own words:
Q: What is your aspirational nickname?
Q: Your favorite food or cuisine?
A: I really like tacos and sushi…in equal measure.
Q: Your favorite superhero (or most desired super power)?
A: I’m not sure if you know what a can of worms you’re opening by asking this question! My favorite hero is Batman. He’s always been my favorite because technically he doesn’t have any super powers but he always gets the job done. If I had to pick a superpower, it would be invulnerability.
Q: Your favorite thing to do on a free afternoon?
A: If I have a free afternoon, I love to drink coffee, go for a run, write and watch movies. Marvel movies are my favorite. I am also a Star Wars geek.
Q: A travel destination, activity, or goal on your bucket list?
A: I’ve been to a few comic-cons locally but I’d really like to go to the San Diego Comic-Con. I would also like to visit Israel and see some of the historical places from the Bible.
Q: How would you complete this sentence? “To know me is to know that I love to...”
Q: What are you most looking forward to as the pastor of the Chase Oaks San Antonio Campus?
A: There is no shortage of churches in the San Antonio area, but there is no church like Chase Oaks here. My prayer for this community is that we are a place where anyone, regardless of their history, culture, or mistakes, can come as they are, be transformed, and make a difference. My hope is that by doing so, people in the San Antonio area will begin to view Jesus followers a little differently. I strongly believe that if we can love others the way that Jesus loves us, it will change people’s lives as it has changed mine.
We look forward to the exciting things God has in store as the San Antonio Campus prepares to launch in August 2021.
Interested in being a part of the community at our San Antonio Campus? Visit here for more information.