To the saints gathered at First Methodist Church of Waco:
Grace and peace in the Name of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. I pray you are well and full of the Holy Spirit.
I am honored and humbled to have been named the next senior minister of First Methodist Church of Waco. Your long tradition of excellence in ministry and kingdom building work are well known within our denomination and to me personally.
I am extremely grateful to Bishop Mike Lowry of the Central Texas Annual Conference for the opportunity to serve at First Methodist. He is a longtime mentor and friend. I am also looking forward to working with the District Superintendent of the Waco area, Rev. Leah Hidde-Gregory. She is a gifted leader who expresses the utmost love and admiration for the people of First Methodist.
During her time as an undergraduate at Baylor University, my wife Kim Brooks Barnett attended First Methodist and has often told me about her time there. In addition, the best man at our wedding was Mark Swayze, who I first met while he was on staff at First Methodist. Through the years, both Kim and Mark have spoken about Rev. Ramsdell’s wonderful leadership and the congregation’s deep love for Jesus Christ. I am also privileged to be connected to the great Rev. Dick Freeman. His nephew, Rev. Dr. Rusty Freeman, introduced me to my wife, married us, baptized our son, and is one of my very best friends.
Over the next several months, I will be working to finish my ministry in Kerrville and prepare my family to move to Waco. We will be selling our home in the Hill Country and working to find a new one in Waco. My wife, Kim will also be discerning where in Waco the Lord is calling her to practice medicine. I hope you will keep us in your prayers during this season of transition.
I will be praying for you and for Rev. Ramsdell as you continue your vital ministry in the Waco area over the next several months. I know you will be celebrating well his 20 years of service to God at First Methodist. I join you in thanking the Lord for his faithfulness, giftedness, and fruitfulness.
Again, I am honored to have been named your next senior pastor. I look forward to working with you, with the staff, and with the lay leadership of the church to advance the work of Jesus Christ in Waco, central Texas, and around the world.
Rev. Ryan Barnett
Biography - Rev. Ryan Barnett
Rev. Ryan Barnett grew up in Friendswood, Texas. After graduating high school, he moved to Austin where he attended The University of Texas. During his time there, he worked in politics as a fundraiser, organizer, and eventually a legislative aide in the Texas Senate. He graduated with a major in government, a minor in history, and a conviction that the hope of the world is found in the church-house, not the statehouse.
Ryan then worked for several years as a youth director and became a frequent speaker at conference youth events. Discerning a call to ordained ministry, he then moved to Wilmore, Kentucky where he earned his Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. Upon graduation, Ryan was appointed to be an associate pastor at University UMC in San Antonio, Texas.
Ryan spent seven years serving at “The U,” primarily as the Teaching Pastor. He oversaw the church’s largest single building project, a $14 million expansion. During his tenure he joined 1500 people to the church, 500 of whom were on a first-time profession of faith. At the time of his departure, “The U” was the 15th largest church in the UMC.
In 2010, Ryan married Kim Brooks Barnett of McAllen, Texas. Kim had graduated from Baylor University where she spent three years serving as the popular mascot, Bruiser. She went on to obtain her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies, and she currently practices both emergency medicine and women's health.
The Barnetts spent the spring of 2011 living and serving in Rwanda, Africa and returned to Ryan’s second appointment as senior pastor of St. John’s UMC in Corpus Christi. While at St. John’s, the church grew dramatically and Ryan began work on an MBA from Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi. He would go on to complete the degree in 2016.
In January 2015, Ryan was appointed senior pastor of First UMC, Kerrville. Shortly after their arrival, the Barnetts had a son, Davis. During his time in Kerrville, Ryan has served on the Executive Committee of the Rio Texas Board of Ordained Ministry and chairs the Residency in Ministry program. Ryan also sits on the Kerr County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors. His church recently funded and constructed an entire home for the group.
Ryan is a founder and member of the Board of Directors for Rwanda Shines, a 501c3 non-profit that has built schools, churches, and is under construction on a hospital in Rwanda. He is a active in supporting the Methodist Church in Costa Rica. Work there includes church planting, seminary training, youth development, and a new medical mission.
Ryans favorite pastime is chasing his toddler son but tries to find time to garden, play a little golf, and take his wife out on dates.