From the Lead Pastor

Beloved First Methodist Family,

Grace and peace to you in the Name of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ! I pray that this communication finds you full of the power and love of our great God. Today marks the first official day of my tenure as the Lead Pastor of First Methodist Church of Waco. I feel that it is a day for which God has been preparing me for long, long time.

It is hard for me to express the sheer level of excitement I have for beginning in ministry with all of you. God has deeply blessed this congregation throughout her more than 160 years in ministry. I am humbled to stand in the line of great ministers who have guided the spiritual life of this church. Of course, it is clear that the true strength of this church is found in her people. Your love for God, commitment to Christ, and service in the church have built one of the most important congregations in the country.

Over the next month, I am going to be spending some quiet time with my family and closest Christian companions. As excited as I am to meet all of you and begin serving God together, the best thing I can do for our future is to retreat into the Lord for a short season and seek His guidance and strength. Apart from Christ in me, I know I have nothing to offer you. I will be on my knees throughout the next 30 days seeking God’s best plan for our future.

I want to invite you to join me in prayer and fasting. Let us remind ourselves and each other that the church belongs to Jesus Christ and He is the head of the body. When I begin in August, I will be visiting in small groups and Sunday school classes to hear how God has been speaking to you.

So many of you have asked me what you can do for me during this time of transition. Thank you! The best gift you can give me – and yourself – is to be present at First Methodist during the next month. You will be hearing from some of our amazing clergy team members and a very special guest.

Rev. Dr. Steve Wende is known as one of the greatest preachers in Methodism. He was the senior pastor of University Methodist in San Antonio, where he grew the church from less than 200 members to over 6,000. For the last 15 years, he has been the senior pastor of First Methodist Houston – one of the most significant congregations in Texas. Recently retired, Dr. Wende is now coaching pastors and churches and is helping our church during this time of transition. We are blessed by his experience and wisdom. Dr. Wende is a long-time mentor of mine and a hero of the faith that I have tried to emulate in my Christian walk.

I want to close by expressing my personal appreciation to Steve and Susan Ramsdell. Their love for the Lord and this church are absolutely evident in everything they say and do. Steve has been a great friend and mentor through this transition. His grace through this process evidences his deep and intimate relationship with the Lord. I am humbled and honored to succeed him in leadership at First Methodist. Thank you, Steve for showing me how a disciple loves the church. Well done, good and faithful servant.

Church, I look forward to being with you in worship on the weekend of August 5 & 6 when I will preach all five of the weekly worship services. I truly hope you will be there.

Blessings, Ryan