This Sunday, Oct. 11, Pastor John F. Ramsey will celebrate 24 years in ministry and eight years as pastor of New Life Worship Center.
New Life currently has over 5,000 members, and many believe that in 24 years of ministry, God has taken Ramsey from a storefront church to leader of one of the city’s fastest growing churches.
Ramsey started out as pastor of Victory Christian Center, a church in the Assemblies of God Church denomination based in Indianapolis. He led that church for a period of five years and developed a passion for missions, particularly home missions.
New Life is known for “seeding” into smaller churches, and Ramsey knows first hand what it is like to pastor a small church. While serving as the pastor at Victory, he would often knock on doors to invite people to attend church. He would sometimes go and set up the building for service and nobody would show up.
Ramsey credits Eastern Star Church and its senior pastor, Jeffrey A. Johnson Sr. with the planting (or establishment) of New Life Worship Center.
“Pastor Johnson sent a nucleus of his members for a one year commitment, to help launch New Life,” Ramsey said. “God has his hand on the Eastern Star Ministry and Pastor Johnson. They are doing great things in this community”.
In August Ramsey and his wife, Lady Alicia Ramsey, celebrated 14 years of marriage. The Ramseys met on a blind date, which was set up by a pastor from Ohio.
The pastor called Ramsey and told him he wanted to introduce him to a young lady who was a member of his church. Ramsey politely declined, but after the opportunity was on his mind for a week, Ramsey felt something was right about meeting Alicia.
He then called the pastor and told him that he would come to Ohio. A month prior to that Ramsey had bought a wedding ring, since he felt that God was at work in his life and would soon bless him with a wife.
“I told God, ‘I’ve got the ring, you put the finger in it,” Ramsey said.
After a very short courtship Ramsey proposed to Alicia, and she accepted. And by the way, the ring fit perfectly.
Pastor Ramsey also has had a passion for relationships. He strives to demonstrate that in his spiritual walk and even in his personal life, so that his wife and children have the security of knowing that he will be home at 5:30 p.m. His children will grow up knowing that they will not have to compete with the church for their daddy’s attention.
Ramsey plays an active role in the lives of his sons John Jr., who shares his father’s love for athletics, and Jeremiah who enjoys a fulfilling life despite a developmental disorder. Jeremiah has superb comprehension and enjoys visiting a place called Lucky Farms, where he goes horseback riding as part of therapy. Unfortunately he has seizures in his sleep. Literally Ramsey and Alicia have to have faith to go to sleep at night. Ramsey and his wife take it one day at a time.
“Having Jeremiah has stretched our faith to a level that we never knew existed, but we wouldn’t trade Jeremiah for anything,” said Ramsey. “We know the first institution God created was the family, and when you put that institution first God has a way of blessing you and your ministry. God had a family before he had a church.”
Ramsey takes this lesson from his spiritual mentors Bishop I.V. Hilliard and Dr. Bridgette Hilliard of New Light Christian Center Church of Houston.
Bishop Hilliard, who is also presiding prelate of AIM (Association of Independent Ministries) stated that Ramsey “epitomizes what AIM stands for. We are proud to call him our son.”
Hilliard added, “I fell in love with Ramsey because of the love he has for his family.”
Hilliard grew up watching the ministers of old put the church before their family. It was when his own family started to fall apart he realized that his priorities were wrong. Hilliard had a great teacher and example in Dr. Frederick K.C. Price of Los Angeles to teach him in the order in which your priorities should fall. God first, family second and the church third.
Pastor Ramsey also credits his good friend Bishop Paul S. Morton with having an impact on his ministry. He admired Morton from a distance over the years, but for the last five years the Bishop has been coming to New Life anniversary celebrations.
“It is evident that God is using Pastor John Ramsey to help touch and change the lives of God’s people,” Morton said. “He has truly been a blessing to my life”.
Ramsey’s passion for relationships also comes from his parents. He grew up in a two-parent household with both parents sacrificing and working two jobs to give Ramsey and his four siblings a good life.
Ramsey was brought up in Fort Wayne, Ind. and was a product of Snyder High School and its legendary football program. He landed a full-ride football scholarship to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he participated in track and field.
Many who know Ramsey say God has taken him on an incredible journey. They believe Ramsey is an incredible man of God; an anointed man that God has truly given that global vision. There is much more to come in the life of Pastor Ramsey and New Life. They have not even scratched the surface of what God has in store for them.