Confessions of a Fault-Finding Pastor

The mission of The Gathering is to help imperfect people find and follow Jesus.
Our vision is to empower the greater body into a lifestyle of following Christ alongside the homeless.
Thank you for your investment and support that fuels our mission and facilitates pursuit of our vision.

by Matt Freeman, Pastor Dude, The Gathering

“Hi, my name is Matt. I am a believer in Jesus Christ and I struggle with being critical and fault-finding and I am in recovery for sexual lust and discouragement.”

This is how I introduce myself in recovery circles. My identity is NOT in my sin struggle. My identity is in the finished work of Christ. I am, however, a work in progress. And the truth remains I frequently miss the mark of perfection. The early chapters of my relationship with Jessica are concrete evidence of my imperfection.  


When Jessica moved into Community First! in June 2017 I quickly assessed her as a “troubled soul.”  I managed to keep my distance.  Boundaries. Discernment.  I justified the barrier.  Slowly God, through the relentless power of His Spirit, began chipping away at my self-centered, judgmental spirit.  Barriers faded.   Miraculously.  

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
— Mother Teresa
Healthy people don’t need a doctor — sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.
— Jesus (Luke 5:31-32)

The disillusioning pain throughout Jessica’s life story was unspeakable.  A broken family.  No love.  Constant tension.  A nagging desire to run away from the emptiness of home.  “I was not a happy child.  I wanted to be on my own and deeply desired a loving, supportive family,” Jessica shared.  “When I think about my upbringing it is tough to process.  I don’t like to think about it!”  

“I was homeless on and off for about 15 years.  I lived in 14 different places in 6 states -- primarily homeless shelters and day rate hotels.  I was a vagabond trying to settle and find my way.  Being homeless sucks!” she shared.

We consider the mission of The Gathering at Community First! a God-sized opportunity.  May He continue to open doors to promote dignity and cultivate community to friends like Jessica.  She is learning the value of living in a Christ-centered community and now has a creative writing platform that facilitates the sharing of her story.  Thanks be to God!  And thank you for praying, investing and supporting this very unique expression of the greater body of Christ.

Our prayer is to help imperfect people find and follow Jesus … including a fault-finding Pastor. 



  • That God would open doors (hearts) to allow neighbors at CF! the opportunity to find and follow Christ.

  • That with the expansion of phase 2 at Community First! (and an additional 300 neighbors being lifted off the streets) that God would provide The Gathering more laborers, volunteers and opportunities to advance the Good News of Jesus.

  • For our annual Back to School Bash on Saturday, August 10th … we’ll be giving away hundreds of backpacks and school supplies to economically under-resourced students who attend elementary schools near Community First! We are trusting God’s provision for an additional $2,500 to cover the cost of providing breakfast and needed supplies.


The Gathering is a mission that is 100% donor-funded through generous, tax-deductible contributions. We have experienced a slight decrease in giving through the summer months and appreciate your investment and special gifts by clicking HERE.


Opportunities for large groups, small groups, and individuals can be found on our volunteer calendar.

PO Box 6211, Austin, TX 78762


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