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Tuesday, June 3, 2014
First Baptist Church of North Augusta has found its new leading man in the Rev. Dr. Ryan Pack.
Pack and his family were formally introduced during a meeting on May 30 and met a large portion of the congregation during a dessert social afterward.
The father of four is already excited about the work he is being called to do in North Augusta.
“My first step is to get to know the church family and North Augusta the best that I can, and go from there,” he said. “It’s been very humbling, and it’s neat to see God pull all the pieces together and know that we’re supposed to be here.”
Pack, who was licensed and ordained to the ministry by First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, is excited to be back in his home state, after serving at First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, North Carolina, since 2008.
“My wife and I are originally from South Carolina, so we’re South Carolinians and are so glad to be back in the state,” Pack said. “It was just the work of God drawing us here and moving us here. We do have a hard and deep love for South Carolina, so we’re so excited to be back.”
The Pack family, which includes Bailey, 15; Ginny, 14; Victoria, 11; Micah, 9 and Ryan’s wife, Heather, is excited about becoming part of the North Augusta community.
“I love it here already. We’ve driven around, and I love the river and the beauty of everything,” Heather said. “We’d never been here before, so us being here was the work of God. The door was open, we walked through it, and the committee prayed us here. We’re looking forward to plugging in to the North Augusta community and seeing what God has in store here.”
The search committee from First Baptist Church North Augusta included Dr. Randy Cooper, M.D.
Cooper noted Pack’s welcoming style as a reason for bringing him to North Augusta.
“I think, the first time we saw him in his church, we realized he really loved everybody,” Cooper said. “He walked up and down the aisles, it didn’t matter if they were old or young, he took time with them and looked them in the eye. As we talked to people about him, people talked about what a great leader he was. He leads with humility and is very accessible, collaborative and inclusive.”
The search committee was also impressed with Pack’s love of the traditional Southern Baptist Church.
Finding a young preacher who appreciates the organization of the Southern Baptist Church is rare, Cooper said.
“We listened to him preach; he’s an expository preacher, which we like, and he loves the traditional Baptist church,” he said. “We felt fortunate to find someone who loves the traditional Baptist church.”
Pack, who holds an undergraduate degree from Clemson, a Master of Divinity from Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Columbia International University, has a vision to attract young couples to First Baptist Church of North Augusta.
“His vision is, looking around the city, he sees hundreds and hundreds of married couples that are unchurched,” Cooper said. “He sees it as very fertile ground to reach out to those people. He wants to build this church with young married couples. Senior adults are getting smaller in numbers; we aren’t growing in numbers.”
First Baptist Church of North Augusta has used an interim pastor, Dr. Frank Page, since November 2013.
Having Pack come in to take over has excited the congregation, Cooper said.
“There’s no question he’s going to bring excitement. There’s great anticipation; people are looking forward to Ryan. Doug (Page) was a great preacher when he was here, but he left so fast that people weren’t expecting it. But, I look back and realize there was a purpose for him being here one year. Ryan Pack would not have come here 18 months ago; he hadn’t been released from his duty at his old church.”
First Baptist Church of North Augusta will be Pack’s fourth church as a senior pastor.
He is already looking forward to the high school football season and is looking forward to working in the North Augusta community.
“We’ve already fallen in love with North Augusta,” Pack said. “It’s been very impressive; the people are phenomenal.”
First Baptist Church of North Augusta is located at 625 Georgia Ave. and has services on Sunday’s at 8:45 a.m., a Bible study at 10 a.m. and a contemporary service at 11 a.m.
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for The North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.