Brother Sylvester Matthews{6}

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In the summer of 1954 I enrolled at Tennessee Temple College in Chattanooga, Tennessee to take a few make-up courses before entering Seminary. For the first eighteen months at Highland Park Baptist, I was asked to teach a Junior Sunday School class. Randy Faulkner, one of Dr. J.R. Faulkner’s sons, was a member of that class. Randy was a very respectful young man, and if all the members of the class had been like him, teaching that class would have been a breeze, but this just wasn’t the case. There happened to be another young man in the group, whose name I don’t remember, but whose disruptive behavior was a continuous distraction. That kid was a “pill.” I am confident God allowed him to be in that class to test my faith and to prepare me for future ministry. Every Sunday I moved this young man outside the classroom to have a special meeting with Mrs. Henderson, our junior superintendent. To be perfectly honest, I just did not know how to handle this kind of behavior neither did I know the first thing about the discipline of children.

After graduating from seminary, a group of us from Temple were asked to teach at Baptist Evangelistic Schools of Texas, a preacher’s school in Dallas started by Brother Joe Boyd and Brother Jack Hyles. A couple of years after arriving in Texas, I was asked by Brother Boyd to become principal of Open Door Christian Academy as well as teach in the school. It was here that I began a lifelong friendship with Jerry Brewster and Gloria (Krueger) Brewster (the editor of Tid Bits) who were students in our high school. As the years passed, opportunities arose for me to become more involved in teaching at different grade levels. The longer I taught the more I realized the importance of classroom discipline. It became evident to me that well-trained teachers become less effective if they cannot control their students. More than ever I desired to correct this weakness in my life and to help others as well. To find answers I began to study, attend seminars, read books, and to search the Scriptures to see what the Word of God says about discipline. By 1983 I had gathered enough material to put together a manual in notebook form. Recently, this manual was revised and published in book form. To my surprise it has been well received and many Christian educators have been helped by observing these Biblical principles of discipline.

Gloria and I have fond memories of Bro. Matthews in the class room. I was the only student in Algebra 11, so Bro. Matthews put me on one side of a room divider and his Biology class, which Gloria was in, on the other side of the room divider and he taught both classes at the same time. Gloria and I figured out that we could leave the divider open about two inches and both sat at the back and made eyes at each other during class. Bro. Matthews finally realized what we were doing and said to Gloria, “Gloria, are you in Algebra or Biology?” With red faces we closed the divider. Bro. Matthews was a great teacher and a great example for us as students. We have remained friends through the years. We were just so glad Bro. Matthews did not see fit to use our behavior as an example! Was born in Tyler, Texas, and attended Tyler High School, Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas in Austin. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1953. He graduated in 1957 with a Bachelor of Divinity at Temple Baptist Theological Seminary in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He pastored for 42 yrs and has taught at almost every level. He has been administrator and principal and has 25 yrs. of practical experience in the classroom. At present he is teaching high school math at Mesquite Baptist Academy, Open Door Baptist Church, Mesquite, Texas.

Bro. Matthews loved his students and they still call him from time to time to say hello and let him know what is going on in their lives. We will forever be thankful for his influence in our lives as teenagers.

If you are interested in his book, The Discipline Manual, you can contact him at 322 Teakwood Street, Mesquite, Texas 75149-4760