No Place Left

Interview with Jack Worthington & Matthew Altizer

By Katia Parella

Reviving the home church, one house at a time.

Name of ministry: No Place Left (NPL)

Type: Traveling ministry/Home church planting

Date joined: January 2018 (Matthew Altizer) & January 2019 (Jack Worthington)


   How young is too young to start a ministry? Whatever you might believe, Matthew Altizer (25) & Jack Worthington (22) prove that you can be young & effective. If God is the one sending you out to minister, then age is truly just a number.

   Matthew & Jack walk into an interview cracking jokes. Their youthfulness & energy immediately change the atmosphere & make me feel comfortable & relaxed. Once we start talking about their ministry, their demeanor changes. They get serious. They hold a conversation well & are familiar with their Bibles.

   Matthew & Jack moved to Albany, NY from Tennessee & Iowa respectively, to help NPL start home churches around the Capital District in one of the “most post-Christian cities in the US”, per All Over Albany & Barna Group. Here, the harvest is plenty, but the workers are few.

   Matthew started at NPL Nashville. He was raised in a Christian family by talented parents – Rick & Jan Altizer. His Dad was a songwriter for Warner Brothers & at a certain point in his life was presented with a record deal, which God shut down & led him into a different direction. After the deal fell through, Rick moved his family to Nashville, TN to pursue a career in Christian entertainment industry. He is currently a host of his own The Rick Altizer Show (available on Bott radio & podcast), which hosts & interviews a variety of Christian artists.

Even though Matt grew up in a Christian environment, he stepped away from his faith in the last year of high school. Parties & drugs followed & continued for 6 years. He was surrounded by alcoholics & drug addicts. He says that he always knew that God had a call on his life, but wasn’t ready to accept it just yet. Then he met the NPL group & decided to try an internship with NPL first. And that is how he ended up helping plant home churches in Albany, NY. Since then, he’s been actively evangelizing, knocking on people’s doors, praying & building relationships.

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   Jack grew up in Iowa & lived there till the end of High School. He, unlike Matt, was not raised in a Christian home. Although his parents were always very supportive of him, Christ was not something they talked about. He went on to West Point, NY military academy, where at the end of his second year he got into a physical altercation with his roommate, who later accused him of a criminal act, which put Jack’s career in the military at a serious risk. Facing 20 years in prison, he decided to excel in academics & focus solely on school. During that time he also experienced a bad knee injury, which forced him to deal with the potential reality of being sentenced to prison. He wouldn’t eat & experienced depression. That is when Austin Wilson from NPL West Point, NY together with another student appeared in his life & shared God’s word with him. Jack was touched by their sincerity & God’s love. He prayed: “Jesus, if you are real, take away this anxiety from me!”. He started sleeping better, reading the Bible, eating & started to feel a shift in his heart. Jack quotes Mark 8:36-37: ”What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” He credits this Scripture for showing him what it really meant to have a successful life. After becoming a “baby Christian”, as he calls himself, he went home. To a place where everything was the same, but he was different. He fell back into his old life - “drinking, girls, partying”. It is then he realized that he was empty. The emptiness was always there, but he was never aware of it. Austin Wilson stepped in again & invited Jack to a retreat in Mechanicville, NY, where Matt was living. Jack bought round trip tickets to NYS, but didn’t go back to Iowa.

Why home churches? Matthew says that they are “cheap, affordable, reproducible”, as well as “authentic & genuine”. We continue to discuss NPL & the idea behind it.

   The Fire Magazine (TFM): What is the main goal of you working with NPL? In the Capital District, NY.

   Jack Worthington (JW): The whole purpose of this is to raise leaders, who raise leaders, who raise leaders…Its a multiplication that continuously grows. It’s a very tight fellowship in each group. It’s something you can’t get anywhere else.

   Matthew Altizer (MA): NPL, not being a specific organization or denomination, allows it to really be different & unique & work in different settings & work around people’s preferences. And really allows new, healthy churches to be started all by new believers. There are a lot of churches out there &, honestly, there need to be more! Healthy churches grow & multiply. Unhealthy churches die. And that’s part of life, part of harvest, part of seasons.

   TFM: What is the biggest challenge you are faced with while planting churches & working with NPL in NYS today?

   JW: God brought us here to help revive (Northeast). The biggest challenge, I believe, we have is…the idea that people have a mindset that church is a building, everyone comes & fills it & comes for that hour & listens to a pastor, sermon & then they leave…Church doesn't come up a lot in the Bible, but when it does, it’s a group, a gathering, very close fellowship. And Jesus said “where two or more are gathered, I am”…Church is abiding with others in Christ in fellowship & growing in relationship.

   MA: One of our challenges too are the members of the church. They are spoon fed. They don’t know how to eat meat. They don’t know how to consume God’s word for themselves & walk in it in obedience. And truly live as if Jesus is their total authority in their life, as their King.

   TFM: What is one advice or encouragement you can give those that are interested in the idea of growing home churches?

   MA: To be in a constant state of receiving God’s word. And remaining in the love of Jesus, abiding in Him. Getting time in the Word, prayer & fasting. Having Biblical figures in your life, men or women that are pouring into you. Iron sharpening iron, each person learning from each other. And someone who you can pour into yourself.

   JW: The biggest advice I can give is to humbly abide. With these small churches there's not much fame. The whole purpose are the others who you have fellowship with. Our goal is not that we will be great leaders, but the people we pour into will be great leaders, better than us, incredible at what they do.

   MA: Amen.

   TFM: What is the biggest obstacle you have to overcome in yourselves in order to do this work?

   MA: Working on my own self-sufficiency. Navigating in a place where I’m comfortable & I think I know what’s going to happen next & I do it purely because I think it’s right.

   JW: Trust & faith in things that God is doing in more immediate time frames.

   As I speak to Matt & Jack I realize that, yes, they are young & still have a lot to experience. But at the same time - they have a lot to give. They are teachable, they are learning & setting an example for the new generation. They are where they are supposed to be & God has been sending people into their life to do exactly what they said - pour into them, as they are doing the same. They are far away form their homes, families & many comforts. Living in one of the most challenging states & cities of the US. My hope for them is for that fire in them - fire for God & His ministry - not to be quenched.

You can follow No Place Left with Matt & Jack on Facebook here & on the web here.

To listen to Rick Altizer podcast, click here