4 minute read

MEET CHRIS RANSBOTTOM

Get to Know Our Student Pastor

He was a "typical college punk”– flat-billed hat on backward, high-top shoes on his feet, and earrings in. "This kid needed Jesus,” according to the family he was serving Sunday morning at Buffalo Wild Wings.

The reality was that Chris Ransbottom, then a college freshman at Texas A&M University, already had a long background in leadership—specifically in church and student ministry. This included being a student leader at his home church youth group, starting a Tuesday morning Bible study at Midlothian High School, planning "See You at the Pole", and free car washes as an evangelical outreach.

“I had always had the dream of either being a preacher or a teacher.”

“I love that arena. So, I always found myself naturally in leadership positions at a young age. I’m an only child. I grew up with a single mom. My dad passed away when I was three years old. So, I grew up really quick.”

The family Chris encountered that day in 2009 at Buffalo Wild Wings had just moved to College Station to plant a new church. He told them that he plans on going to seminary after A&M and wanted to get on board with their plant. When he said that, it shocked them.

As the first member of that church, Chris went through an eight-month planning process–from finding a location, to building a launch team, to handling the finances. At some point over his four years at the church, he served on every position on staff except worship and lead pastor. Whenever [he] "started seeing people as individuals, and not just the church as a whole,” he began seeing the path to seminary.

“I’m walking in and seeing my waitress as somebody who needs Jesus,” Chris said. “I’m seeing the cashier at HEB as someone who needs Jesus. My roommate. The person living across the hall from me. The person in class with me. The person next to me on the bus. Everybody was somebody who needed Jesus. And I started seeing people as individuals with hopes and dreams.

As the new FBC Midlothian Student Pastor, Chris sees an opportunity to “build something out of nothing.” Chris says, "we have the ability to evaluate what we’re currently doing and ask the questions of, ‘Are these things being productive? Are they accomplishing the goals that we want to see accomplished in our student ministry?’”

So Chris, and the student ministry team, created a game plan. They had to think through how the student ministry would support the overall mission of the church–living and loving like Jesus. They dis

covered that there were three things they wanted the ministry to be— kingdom-expanding, culture-shaping, and character-transforming.

“The church is not the only place we need strong leaders,” Chris explained. “We need them in all arenas of culture, whether that be entertainment, the arts, education, government. We need strong Christian leadership in all of those places. So we want to train people not just for the church, we want to train people for all of those areas."

“We have a very high capacity group of students,” Chris said. “This generation, as a whole, is a very purpose-driven generation. It doesn’t make sense if the most purpose-driven generation isn’t connected with the most purpose-driven program in the church. There’s no greater mission-minded organization. No greater purpose that you can devote your life to, than the church.”

The recently opened student center is providing the opportunity to accomplish these goals. He has already seen students taking advantage of the individual group rooms, which give them a dedicated space to maintain their accountability groups they started at their October retreat last year.

“We can do all the programming, all the events, all the ‘fun stuff.’ But if they’re not becoming more a disciple of Christ when they leave our student ministry their senior year, then it’s more of a community center, which is not the goal."

This fall we will see a focus on discipleship within the student ministry, including a weekly discipleship class on Sunday afternoons using the Disciple Civics course. There will also be high school and middle school conferences for both boys and girls devoted to their unique life stages.

They will also be focusing on other community goals.

• Love Does Projects: service projects around Midlothian ISD and the community.

• Parent Legacy Trainings: encourages parents to consider the legacy they’re leaving their children, give them tools to use, and let them be resources to one another.

• The Shalom: students raising money for specific non-profits or projects with clear goals set by the students.

• Road Crew: the student ministry will attempt to attend at least one of every sporting event or fine arts performance that students are involved in.

You can keep up to date with Elevate by finding them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @ElevateTX!