In 2006, Reid Temple became “One Church in Two Locations” with the opening of a second worship location in the cafeteria of Blair High School in Silver Spring (Montgomery County), Maryland. The expansion location was dubbed “Reid Temple-North” but, before the first service was assembled—indeed, before the new congregation’s members even ventured into their new territory—they engaged in much prayer and research led by our, then Executive Minister Reverend Matthew L. Watley. This was an ideal site for expansion, offering a strong and growing African American population base, and in great need of Christian witnessing and Kingdom building. Rev. Watley and the members of Reid Temple-North wanted to be a part of that!
The dedicated, energetic stewards of the Silver Spring congregation sought to replicate the models of ministry that were active at Reid Temple-Glenn Dale, while capitalizing on the many opportunities that were unique to the new location. Initially, membership growth was sporadic, but attendance at Sunday services soon began to spiral upward, to over 700 each week. The thriving congregation’s leaders realized that they were fast outgrowing the rented high school space, with its many limitations and restrictions. Through the faithfulness of the campus membership as well as with assistance from Reid Temple-Glenn Dale, they launched a capital campaign in 2008 to raise funds to procure a permanent location in Montgomery County.
Reid Temple-North opened its doors at 12101 Tech Road on Sunday, September 12, 2010. Our Church serves its congregation’s multiple spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. Our sanctuary seats 1,100. It also features a 65-seat choir loft, a baptismal pool, a nursery, multi-purpose rooms, a warming kitchen, classrooms, and meeting space for a growing number of ministries, and administrative office space. The membership of the congregation is still growing! Through this growth Reid Temple-North led the way in launching Reid Temple’s third campus, Reid Temple DC.
On March 30, 2019 during the 69th session of the Washington Annual Conference, Bishop James L. Davis appointed Rev. Matthew L. Watley as the Senior Pastor of Kingdom Fellowship AME Church. Kingdom Fellowship AME Church is comprised of the former Reid Temple-North and Reid Temple DC congregations with membership of more than 5,000. We are thankful for what God has done and we’re excited to see what God will allow us to do as we remain Kingdom Focused!
The Reverend Matthew Lawrence Watley has committed his life to developing disciples of Jesus Christ and building the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. A third-generation ordained preacher, Rev. Watley gave his life to the Lord at the age of eight.
After years of feeling the tug of the Holy Spirit on his heart, he accepted his call to preach the gospel while visiting a rural church in Mabopane in the Republic of South Africa. He traveled to South Africa as one of the founding members of Step Afrika Performance Group. They were there learning traditional African dance and culture and serving the Soweto community as members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. This was during his senior year at Howard University where he graduated with a BA in Political Science and minored in Afro American Studies.
Rev. Watley would return to Howard to complete his Master of Divinity while serving at the University’s Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel as a Graduate Assistant to the Dean of the Chapel, the Reverend Dr. Bernard L. Richardson. Rev. Watley continued to excel in service and leadership as he was elected by the graduate students to serve on Howard’s Board of Trustees where he interacted with the likes of luminaries such as Collin Powell, Dick Parsons, Jack Kemp, Vernon Jordan, and Phylicia Rashad. Rev. Watley remarks about this time, “Having known clergy and lay leaders within the church, and now meeting leaders of business, government, and culture, I began to realize that I had responsibility not only to preach and teach, but also to develop other skill sets in order to lead and serve society at large.”
In addition to Rev. Watley’s service and leadership at Howard University, he served in leadership capacities on the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) Connection, as the Connectional President of the Young People’s Department, on the General Board of the AME Church and a member of the Executive Committee of the World Methodist Council of Churches. However, it wasn’t until he accepted an offer from the Rev. Dr. Lee P. Washington, Senior Pastor of Reid Temple AME Church, to serve as Youth Minister did Rev. Watley have the opportunity to put his leadership abilities to work in a professional capacity. As Youth Minister, Rev. Watley was not only responsible for developing students into Christ followers, but was also tasked with preaching and leading Reid Temple’s evening service. This service soon began to blossom and grow into a thriving congregation including a vibrant community of college students from Howard, Bowie State, and the University of Maryland
Dr. Washington recognized Rev. Watley’s leadership abilities and after three years created the position of Executive Minister. He was tasked with designing and developing the congregation’s new 3,000-seat Glenn Dale campus and overseeing the church’s 501c3 corporations including the Reid Temple Christian Academy, Credit Union, Bookstore, Community Development Corporation, Recording Studio, and Counseling Center
Approximately a year and a half after moving Reid Temple into the Glenn Dale campus, Rev. Watley set out with a group of Reid Temple members to Montgomery Blair High School and launched the Reid Temple-North Campus. This congregation exploded in growth as God transformed a cafeteria into a sanctuary. As such, the congregation began to make plans to acquire its own worship center. The North Campus, under the leadership of Rev. Watley, designed and developed a 40,000 square foot worship center. The Reid Temple-North Campus officially moved into this new worship center four years after its founding.
Reid Temple-North has blossomed into a congregation of over 5,000 members with three worship services and successfully launched Reid Temple’s third campus, Reid Temple DC, where Rev. Watley preaches each Saturday evening. Most recently, Rev. Watley led the North Campus in the uncommon effort to acquire and develop a 120,000 square foot office tower in Calverton, MD which counts among its tenants law, architectural and tech firms in addition to a federal agency. The revenues from this property support the work of the church and its expansion into its new campus currently under development. Between the three campuses and eight weekend worship services, Reid Temple is the largest church within its denomination serving more than 15,000 persons and meeting the temporal needs of each of the communities where it is anchored.
Rev. Watley is also the founder of an independent ministry, Power Lunch, a nondenominational lunch-time worship service in downtown District of Columbia, held in movie theaters and office parks. It has since grown to several cities around the country. PowerLunch DC celebrated its 17th Anniversary of bringing worship to the workplace on September 5, 2018.
While serving Reid Temple and the marketplace, Rev. Watley has continued his commitment to leadership development. He holds an Executive Masters in Leadership from the McDonough School of Business of Georgetown University and Masters in Adult Education and Leadership from the Graduate School of Education from The George Washington University. He is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the Fuller Theological Seminary where he is focusing on Church Leadership. He is a writer having co-authored Poems of a Son, Prayer of a Father, now in its second printing with his father the Rev. Dr. William D. Watley. He also wrote IGNITE: 50 days of prayer that will CHANGE your life, selling more than 10,000 copies. He has also contributed to anthologies, journals, and special collections targeting church leadership and governance.
Rev. Watley is a member of the Advisory Council of The Museum of The Bible and is an active member of the Montgomery County Black Ministers Alliance. His passion for leadership is also expressed as a lecturer at universities and colleges around the United States, serving as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and delivering keynote addresses to Fortune 500 corporations, professional and trade associations, along with non-profits and governmental agencies.
Rev. Watley is married to the former Ms. Shawna Francis, Senior Policy Advisor, in the Government Group of Holland and Knight. The Watleys are the proud parents of the wonderful and talented Alexandra Elizabeth. They are committed to the arts with Lady Shawna serving on the Board of Arena Stage and having been a producer of “Colored My Mind” which won the Independent Film Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Rev. Watley served as script consultant for the TVOne Movie “For the Love of Ruth” and together they were producers of the Tony nominated Broadway play “StickFly”. In addition to being lifelong tithers, they are honored to support The National Museum of African American History and Culture, The King Memorial, and of course, their beloved Howard University.
Along his journey, Rev. Watley has received numerous ecclesiastical, academic, civic and literary awards. Concerning these and other accomplishments, he submits that the challenge of servant-leadership is not to win acclaim or to amass honor, “but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.” Micah 6:8