Good Shepherd celebrates the leadership of Rev. Matthew Dotson

GRAFTON—October was National Pastor Appreciation Month in many area denominations, and to celebrate the occurrence, the congregation of The Church of the Good Shepherd wants to recognize the efforts of their pastor, Reverend Matthew Dotson, in leading the church to serve others in the community.  

Rev. Dotson has served as pastor of Good Shepherd for four years following a sixteen-year appointment in Point Pleasant, WV.  Rev. Dotson graduated from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio with a Master of Divinity degree (MDIV) in 2001 and is an ordained Elder in the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Matthew is following in the footsteps of his late father, Rev. Gerald Dotson, who was also a long-time United Methodist minister in West Virginia.

Rev. Dotson is an excellent preacher of the Gospel, an effective administrator of the business of the church, and a leader who encourages the congregation to work together to advance the mission of the United Methodist Church, which is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”  Rather than appointing individuals to serve in various positions in the church, Matthew personally invites all members of the congregation to participate in all meetings and activities.  Rev. Dotson said, “We learn from one another as we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, an outsider who tore down individual walls and calls us to unity.”  In the words of one church member, “Pastor Matt focuses on inclusion and belonging within his flock.  He listens, observes, and then takes action by utilizing elected and appointed church leaders and appropriate committees to share God’s word, church resources, and God’s love with everyone.” 

In addition to Sunday morning services, Rev. Dotson uses innovative ways of reaching people of all ages through weekly online devotions, sermons available on Youtube, the church newsletter, Facebook live services, and a church satire called COGS comics.  During the Covid pandemic, these avenues were important ways of connecting the church with members and the community.  His comedic talents and sense of humor were appreciated in COGS comics and served as stress relievers for the viewers.  In fact, a member of the congregation said, “Pastor Matt uses new and interactive activities to stimulate growth in our congregation. He always worked to keep our congregation together during the pandemic through online Sunday services, devotions, and COGS comics. He has a wonderful sense of humor.”

Pastor Matthew is active in the community through outreach efforts of the church, the Taylor County United Methodist Church Cooperative Parish, and the Rotary Club of Taylor County.  He has helped plan and assist with outreach efforts of Good Shepherd for the community, such as the following: drive-through dinners, free children’s book distribution, animal blessing, Christmas shoeboxes, outdoor vespers, free family movie nights, drive-through Trunk-or-Treat, Grafton First Friday Events, Vacation Bible School, and Recognition of First Responders, etc.

Rev. Dotson shared his personal invitation to be part of the Church of the Good Shepherd in the following statement.  “I welcome people to participate, get involved, and share ideas.  Whether it be on Sunday mornings or an activity during the week, I want people to get involved in the life of the church. No matter how old or young someone is, all of us have gifts and talents to share.  I also want us to be involved in the community.  After all, the church and the community help one another.  We are here for each other.  Our journey together is to know God and love unconditionally.  I invite people to help in building up the church and the community.  We are the church together.  Join us on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM.”

One member of the church said, “The Dotson family, Pastor Matt, his wife Julie, and their children are a blessing to our church and our community.”  Matt’s wife, Julie, works at Heart & Hand House, Inc. in Philippi, WV.  Matt and Julie have three children – Brenna, a WVU graduate currently pursuing a graduate degree in Law and Legal Studies; Olivia, an employee of Little Feet who is currently working on an undergraduate degree in Early Education; and Ethan who is a sophomore at Grafton High School.  

The Church of the Good Shepherd is located at 3025 Lucas Dairy Road, Grafton, WV 26354.  The phone number for the church is 304-265-1705 and the Email address is [email protected]. If you are looking for a church home, please join us on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.


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