The Story of Blessed Earth
A dozen years ago, Dr. Matthew Sleeth was at the peak of his career, an ER physician and chief of staff of his hospital. He and his wife, Nancy, had all the things in life that were supposed to make you happy—two adorable children, jobs they enjoyed, and a beautiful house on the coast of Maine–but they had no faith community and did not believe in God.
Matthew believed in science and what could be seen and measured. When a series of bad things happened in their family—the drowning of Nancy’s brother in front of their kids, a disturbed patient stalking Matthew, and their son’s best friend losing his dad in 9/11—Matthew woke up to the reality of evil. His textbooks didn’t list “evil” in their table of contents, so he began looking for answers in other places.
One slow Sunday morning in the ER, Matthew went out in the patient waiting area to look for something to read. He saw an orange book. It was a bible. He had never read a bible before and thought it might be interesting. So he stole it.
In the Gospels, Matthew came face to face with Jesus. One by one, the family all read the bible and became believers. Matthew 7 especially spoke to them: take the plank out your own eye before you worry about the speck in your neighbor’s eye. So the family worked on bringing their lives more in line with the teachings of Jesus, getting rid of more than half of their possessions and moving to a house the exact size of their old garage. Some of the greatest transformation grew out of keeping a weekly Sabbath together, a day of holy rest and renewal. Along the way, the family found that the more they “gave up,” the richer and more meaningful their lives became.
The Sleeths wrote several books, including Serving God, Saving the Planet, Almost Amish, and 24/6: A Prescription to a Healthier, Happier Life. In 2008, the founded Blessed Earth to teach at churches, schools, and retreats around the country. Dr. Sleeth was invited to be the monthly guest preacher at The Washington National Cathedral, and 2,500 groups in 45 countries and all 50 states participated in Blessed Earth’s Hope for Creation simulcast. Newsweek and Christianity Today have listed the Sleeths among the top fifty Christian leaders in America.
In 2012, Blessed Earth launched The Seminary Stewardship Alliance, which now has more than 40 member schools. In 2015, they started their first state chapter, as well as their first regional office. Thousands of churches and schools across the world now use Blessed Earth’s curricula to inspire faithful stewardship of all creation.
Blessed Earth is based in Lexington, Kentucky, where the Sleeths live near their grown children, Clark and Emma, who serve with their spouses in missions and ministry.