student spotlight: matt stevens - serving christ and country
husband, father, youth minister, college campus ministry leader, sergeant, and ncc student – those roles all describe matt stevens!
matt grew up attending first christian church in rapid city, south dakota, where his youth minister, bob cole, invested in him heavily and gave him many leadership opportunities in the youth group and church. like many of his peers, attending nebraska christian college was a natural path for him after high school. with his youth minister’s encouragement, matt came to ncc to prepare for full-time ministry.
during his first two years, the college was still located in norfolk where he played on the ncc basketball team. but it was football that led to him meeting leslie kaelin (’04), his future wife. during the game, a huge flock of birds sent him diving for cover under a tree. leslie came over and asked matt what he was doing. he admitted to her that he had a phobia of birds. “me, too!,” she exclaimed, and that was the beginning of their life-long romance!
in the summer of 2007, matt joined the army national guard. he became a sergeant with his unit, an airborne forward support company for special operations based in northwest omaha. cumulatively, matt currently serves with his unit approximately three months out of the year. in may of 2010, matt was deployed to afghanistan for a full year. he and leslie were married shortly after he returned from afghanistan in 2011.
for the next five years, matt served as youth minister at first christian church in tabor, iowa. then he and leslie moved back to rapid city, sd, where he worked for black hills children’s home, pennington county jail, and first christian church (where leslie worked part-time). they now have two daughters, nora (6) and quinn (4).
the stevens family moved to omaha when leslie accepted the position of dean of students for nebraska christian college and matt began work with campus student fellowship as the csf director for the peru (ne) state college campus. he is also the youth minister at kingsway christian church in omaha.
matt is looking forward to airborne training at fort benning, georgia, this fall. upon completing his degree at nebraska christian college and graduating next may, he hopes to pursue becoming an army chaplain. matt is a living example of a true servant leader, and we’re proud to call him one of ours!