I lifted these straight off of our new, being-built church website, because I found them so refreshing and honest. These are the kind of men God has sent to us to shepherd us here at Immanuel. Ryan & I have the privelege of knowing all of the 5 pastors surprisingly well, through various "coincidences." Ryan works with Ben, for instance... yes, he is the Ben who bought me the bubblegum-coated chocolate icecream way back when...
Marvel at the sort of men God's grace can make!:
Pastor Ryan was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and grew up all over Western Canada. Throughout his teen years he looked to political causes to make him feel righteous and drugs and sex to make him feel happy. Thankfully, by the time he was 21 he found his righteousness was a joke and his happiness had turned sour. Then, through the simple and intelligent witness of his step-mom he came to trust Jesus Christ late in the evening just before Good Friday in 1995. Following that Ryan began to grow, to tell people about Jesus, and to study his Bible. Shortly after his conversion he studied for a year at Prairie Bible College, in Three Hills Alberta, and then for two years at Tyndale College in Toronto, Ontario. In Toronto, Ryan had two life shaping experiences. First, he got to work in a downtown urban Church under the leadership of Dr. Stephen Beck. Second, he got invited to be in a ‘study group’ by the godliest and the prettiest girl in the college. A week after graduation the lovely Christy Joy Teal became Christy Joy Fullerton. The next eight years have been a whirlwind including drilling for oil, pastoring a Church in a town of 311, finding out he was naturally a bad husband, God giving miraculous and happy grace in his marriage, having four children (Jordana, Luke, James, and Christopher), starting Seminary, stopping Seminary, and becoming (somewhere in there) the Pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church. Since 2002 Ryan has been the Pastor of Immanuel. In that time God has blessed him with many trials, incredible Co-Pastors, and an amazingly loving Church. On top of all this he has had the privilege of seeing Immanuel Baptist Church take some small steps towards bringing the heartbeat of the Cross to the Streets of our city and the ends of the earth.
Right now at Immanuel Ryan has the primary responsible for preaching the Word of God Sunday Mornings, equipping others to preach God’s Word on Wednesday Nights, shaping our Sunday Morning ‘Discipleship Classes’, and leading our public services. He is also beginning to spearhead evangelism, and to cultivate and articulate the vision of the Church.
baptism as people! Homeschooling took up most of Ben's K-12 education : as a result he is very close to his parents and sisters and is thankful for the the way the Lord used them to make him more like Jesus. Ben continued his education at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis, where he graduated with a BA in Religion in 2003 . He came to Immanuel in 2004, and soon after met and married his wife Sarah, a gifted pianist and graduate of the University of Louisville School of Music. Together, Ben and Sarah have two children: Karis, and #2 due in May of 2008! Karis is still a toddler and is learning new phrases every day, of which Ben's favorite isBorn in Memphis, Tennessee but raised mostly in Kansas, Ben is one of Jim and Lee Ann Hedrick's three children. The Lord blessed Ben with faithful Christian parents who were continually modeling for him pastoral, cross-bearing Church service. The Lord drew nine-year old Ben to himself through the witness of his parents, and Ben considers it a great honor to have had his father baptize him in a Kansas creek. His father's congregation was the only Baptist church in the county, and as such there were as many cattle in attendance at the "yes sir, daddy"! Ben enjoys spending time outdoors with his family , watching St. Louis Cardinal baseball, roasting his own coffee, and plans on becoming a hobby beekeeper someday. Working full time in sales for a local family-owned commercial refrigeration company takes up most of his time, but Ben also longs to see local churches founded firmly on deep and rich theology that works itself out in believers doing good to all men, especially the household of faith.
Pastor Jeff King grew up in a suburb just outside of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida called Coral Springs. He is the son of two wonderful Christian parents. While in High School, he began courting Christy, whom he somehow persuaded to marry him halfway through his college years. Jeff attended Samford University where he obtained a BA in Religion. Jeff and Christy moved to Louisville in 1998, and joined IBC in January of 2002. He became a volunteer pastor in 03. He graduated from Southern Seminary in May ’04, and was hired in May of 07 to be the second staff pastor at IBC. Jeff oversees discipleship counseling, membership, missionary support, IBC staff, and care group ministries. Jeff and Christy have two daughters, Alexis and Rachel. Jeff recently “delivered” a spleen weighing more than either daughter weighed at their birth. Alexis attends pre-school at Dorothy Sayers and is learning that the letter “A” makes four sounds. Rachel has learned that she can aggravate her sister by making one of those sounds four times. [Edit: HAHAHAHA] Jeff enjoys being with his family, reading, playing sports, gardening, and watching Gator football. Jeff desires to lead a people to fight for joy, and sees every experience as a Divine call to joy—a shameless, unmitigated challenge to throw off all worries and complaints and to “enter into the joy of our Master.” (Matt. 25:21). Jeff’s happiest thought is that Christ shed His blood for sinners.
p.s. I just want to applaud my husband for the hours and ingenuity he's put into the code behind that new website. God be praised for the quiet good that you do! I love you!!