Brother Sylvester Matthews


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

6 replies on “Brother Sylvester Matthews”

I consider the the times I spent at Open Door during my teenage years some of the best times of my life.
To be under the guidance and teachings of Br. Matthews set a foundation of guidelines that we have built our family on.
Br. Matthews showed unconditional love to all members of our church.
He hated clicks and would jump right in the middle of one and break it apart. Something I think other groups could take lessons on from Br.Matthews on.
One phrase I remeber Br.Matthews telling me
” you may find another pastor someday but not one that will love you more”
This has been proven over and over.
He truly cares about each member.

With the recent tragic news about open door…I was thinking of bro. matthews and when I used to sell a beka bks. He was so kind and gracious one of the best folks I met at that time in my life. My heart goes out to him at the sadness and the staining of this recent news. I was happy to find your site with this information.

I met Mr. Matthews today, what a wonderful guy. God sent him to me at the perfect time. I was lost, I was confused, I kept thinking that God would never accept me after all the sins I had committed, and out of no where Mr. Matthews knocks on my door. I was surprised because all day those confusing thoughts had been in my head, i told Mr. Matthews about it, he laughed and said, “its funny how that works isn’t it?”. Mr. Matthews gave me that push that I needed to believe and have faith again, I could have talked to him all day, that’s how wonderful this guy is. Mr. Matthews, If by any chance you get to read this, I want to thank you once again for coming to my home and spending time with me, you are truly one of God’s angels doing his work here on earth. God bless you and your wife. Thank you.

I went to church here with my family in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I loved Brother Matthews. I taught bible school and sunday school and he witnessed to me, when I was saved, and baptized everyone in my family. He did the funeral service for both my mama, Jeanie Nell Brown, and my sister, Susan Malia Brown. God Bless him. Yvonne Brown Davis

the best place ever to rear our children. Thank you Bro. Matthews. With the grace of God , Brother Matthews and lots prayer our children are still serving the Lord today. Nicholas is now a preacher, Nicole is a full-time mother of seven and plays the piano and her church.

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