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Megachurch Pastor Matt Carter To Step Down Due To Advancing Heart Disease

Megachurch Pastor Matt Carter To Step Down Due To Advancing Heart Disease

Megachurch Pastor Matt Carter To Step Down Due To Advancing Heart Disease

Megachurch Pastor Matt Carter To Step Down Due To Advancing Heart Disease

Matt Carter, 48, announced his retirement on Sunday, less than two years after taking over as the second senior pastor of Houston, Texas’ Sagemont Church, which has 16,000 members. He cited a quickly progressing development of plaque in his heart’s arteries as the reason for his decision.

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“I found out that the kind of plaque that I have in my heart is a rapidly growing plaque. I [didn’t] know you could have that. There are two kinds. There is the slow-growing kind that develops over years, and then there’s the rapidly growing kind which is the kind that I have,” Carter told his congregation Sunday.

According to a Harvard Medical School study, vascular plaque forms and grows when blood cholesterol levels are high, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Because doctors haven’t yet discovered a way to remove the accumulation, it is especially risky.

“Making plaque disappear is not possible, but we can shrink and stabilize it,” cardiologist Dr. Christopher Cannon, a Harvard Medical School professor, explained in the Harvard Health Publishing piece, “Can we reduce vascular plaque buildup?”

Megachurch Pastor Matt Carter To Step Down Due To Advancing Heart Disease

In addition to high levels of cholesterol in the blood, stress also increases the rate at which plaque accumulates in the arteries, and causes them to constrict, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Carter said the rapid growth of plaque in his arteries appears to have coincided with his short time as senior pastor of Sagemont Church.

“When I did a heart scan (also known as a calcium score test) two-and-a-half years ago — the score goes from zero to nothing, 400 or above is significant heart disease. When I did the heart scan almost three years ago now, it was a 40. It was in the low range almost nothing when I took it,” Carter said. “A couple of months ago it was 440. And so, it’s advanced incredibly rapidly over the last two years.”

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Carter noted that he missed church a week earlier because he had to go to the hospital to attend to his health.

“For those of you that know about a heart condition, they put in a stent a couple of months ago for a blockage and during my time in the hospital last week, I found out two things I was not aware of before I went there,” he said.

Megachurch Pastor Matt Carter To Step Down Due To Advancing Heart Disease

“The first is that, and I’ve shared this before, is that I have a 90 percent blockage in one of my arteries. What I found out that I did not know was that that 90 percent blockage was in my widow-maker part of my heart. So that was news to me. Somehow I missed that part,” he added.

The widow-maker artery refers to the left anterior descending artery which when blocked stops all the blood flow to the left side of the heart, causing the heart to stop beating normally, a Novant Health report notes.

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And when this happens, according to Dr. Gary Niess, an interventional cardiologist with Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute, death is more likely compared to a blockage in another artery.

“The widow-maker is a lay term for a particular type of heart attack,” Niess said. “Any artery closure can cause a heart attack where the heart muscle dies, but the widow-maker has a higher rate of mortality.”

In addition to the blockage in his widow-maker, Carter said he also discovered that he has another blockage at 50% in another branch of his widow-maker that cannot be stented until it is 70% blocked, he said.

Megachurch Pastor Matt Carter To Step Down Due To Advancing Heart Disease

Cater said his doctors advised him to make some radical changes in his life and “after a ton of prayer and wise counsel, I have decided to retire as the senior pastor at Sagemont Church.” He now plans to take on a less stressful role as vice president of church planting and church mobilization at the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention starting on Oct. 1.

“I talked to several pastors that left the pastorate and came to NAMB and all of them said that it’s significantly a less stressful situation than pastoring a local church,” he said. “Bottom line guys, I’m 48 years old, I’m about to turn 49 in a couple of weeks, I got cancer twice and I’ve got rapidly advancing heart disease. It’s time for me to make a change.”

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The PreacherMan

A God-kind Blogger, Evangelist, Song-writer, Teacher and Soul-Winner.

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