Name: Matthew Hooper
Position: Associate Dean of Students.
Education: Biola, B.A., Communications; Talbot, M.A., Christian Ministry & Leadership.
At Biola since: 1991 (minus 1 year 1997-98).
Your StrengthsFinder top five? Empathy, achiever, activator, strategic, maximizer.
1. What do you do in your job? As the Associate Dean of Students, I seek to influence students toward becoming all that God desires for them while at Biola. More specifically, I offer a strategic voice, supportive presence and intentional advocacy for the departments of Commuter Life, International Students, Student Transitions and The Learning Center. Day by day, I look for opportunities to have developmental conversations with our students, believing that God is involved in these interactions. To have such conversations is one of my greatest privileges as a member of this dynamic Kingdom-centered educational community.
2. The five (or so) most influential books you've read:
In Christ - AJ Gordon;
Iron John - Robert Bly;
Changes that Heal - Henry Cloud;
The Way of the Heart - Henri Nouwen;
The Lord of the Rings - JR Tolkien.
3. An influential person in your life/hero/best example of love? Sheela, my wife, has truly been inspiring to me as I have watched her with my 2 daughters. She keeps giving and giving and giving. This is how I want to be.
4. Why are you at Biola? To influence the next generation of Christian Leaders toward a deep knowledge and experience of the life of God and the reality of His kingdom on earth.
5. Your testimony (in 200 words or less): I grew up in a Christian home for which I am definitely grateful. I encountered God’s grace on a deeper, more personal level at a Leon Patillo concert when I was eleven. Music has always been a significant part of my walk with the Lord. I struggled in High School to surrender my life, more completely, to the Lord. In my early 20s at Biola, the Spirit of God lead me into a season of growth the called for more of my day to day life to be trusted into His care. A few years later, He called me to be a pastor. Since then, it’s been a steady walk, through good and hard seasons, toward deeper fellowship with God and His people since them.
6. If God put you completely in charge of creating Heaven, what would it be like? Rivendell.
7. What is the most difficult choice you’ve ever had to make? Confronting dysfunction in a professional setting. What made it difficult? This choice required me to act courageously even in the midst of great fear of failure and ridicule. What factors helped you make that choice? Clinging to what I knew was right and best helped me make the choice.
8. What are five things you are most thankful for in your life right now?
My family—one of the best parts of my life,
My church—New Heart Community Church,
My job—I really enjoy the people I am working with,
My commute—3 minute walk from my front door to my office door,
My quiet mornings—my daughters are finally sleeping in a bit.
9. What job do you fantasize about having? Story-Teller
10. Last book you read? Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
11. A brush with fame/celebrity? I can’t think of one.
12. Which fictional character do you most resemble? Faramir
13. Who plays you in your bio-pic? I used to say Patrick Swazye, but now...
14. What’s your ringtone? Spirit
15. Favorite electronic device? My Blackberry Phone
16. What do your friends say is your best quality? Empathy
17. What natural talent do you wish you had? Hops
18. What is your life theme song? I Wanna Be Light
19. Do you believe in love at first sight? No!
20. Do you think it is possible to live with no regrets? Yes, if you are Jesus. Life is not perfect. Humans are not perfect. Where imperfections exist, there will be regrets. I think the idea that we should not have regrets is misleading. Regrets aren’t all bad. Sometimes they point us to our heart’s deeper desires. In my opinion, people learn to integrate regrets into their life so that they motivate them toward a more intentional, fulfilling life with God and others.
21. What is your definition of success? Doing whatever I do in the Lord and with a commitment to constant improvement. Do you consider yourself to be successful? Some days I am more successful then others. Overall, let me just say that everyday I believe I am on the road to success.
22. How much is your self-worth and identity determined by your job and your success at it? In my life apart from God, much of my identity has been connected to what I do. As a result, part of the reason why I work so hard is to feel good about myself and avoid the painful feeling of failure. However, when my worth and identity is firmly grounded in the Lord, job and success are put in their proper place. I am not what I do. My deepest sense of identity is in the Lord.
23. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? My daughters’ happiness.
24. In what areas of your life is it most difficult to trust God? I hate feeling out of control. I cling to the deepest sinful ways of my heart because I question if I will even exist if I let them go. Deeply releasing life on my terms is so difficult for me. I am learning to let go and let and All-Powerful God be who He actually is. It’s a process. God’s grace is sufficient.