Greer First Baptist -
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Everyday...making a difference.
Rick Ezell: Senior Pastor
What does your job involve?
My primary responsibility is leading the church, communicating the vision, teaching from God’s Word to accomplish that vision.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Athens, Alabama and raised in Rogersville, where my parents owned and operated a shoe store.
How large is the family you grew up in?
Besides my parents, I have two sisters and two brothers. I am a twin and my oldest sister has two daughters older than me and my twin brother.
When and how did you come to know Christ?
As I mentioned, I was born a twin. Being a twin did not make me a sinner; it only speeded up the process. My parents has taken us to church virtually every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, not to mention spring and fall revival services, Vacation Bible Schools, and whenever the doors of the church were opened. But the reality of my sinfulness and the eternal consequences did not hit home for me until I was nine years old when my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Harrison, would talk most everyday about the world coming to an end. I knew that if I did not have Jesus in my heart I would die and spend eternity in hell. I did not want that to happen. I went to my Mother along with my twin brother, and asked her what I needed to do. In the quietness of our home my mother explained to me that first I needed to repent of my sin, trust in Jesus’ death on the cross, and asked Jesus to come into my heart. On Sunday night following our prayer of repentance and belief, two third-graders waded down into the baptismal pool of the First Baptist Church in Rogersville, Alabama, and were baptized.
What was the first job you ever had?
Since my parents owned a shoe store, I did odd jobs for them from cleaning shoes, sorting shoes, watching the store, and just about anything else they asked. My first paid job was teaching tennis lessons. And, my first ministry job was as the Youth Minister at the First Baptist Church, Rogersville, AL.
Where did you go to college?
I went to Martin College, Pulaski, TN for two years then to Samford University, in Birmingham, AL, where I received a B.A. in religion. From there I went to Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City, MO, where I received a Masters of Divinity, then to Southern Seminary in Louisville where I earned at Masters of Theology, and finally to Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL where I earned a Doctor of Ministry.
When and whom did you marry?
I married Cindy Smith on May 1, 1982. We met at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Overland Park, KS where I was called after earning my M.Div. to serve as Minister of Youth.
How many children do you have?
One daughter who graduated from Furman University and Vanderbilt University and now is employed in Denver, CO.
How did you get into ministry?
In many respects, I enjoyed church. I had some great and caring Sunday School teachers. Several pastors took an interest in me. I got my first chance to speak in public there. After hearing a young evangelist speak at a revival in our church, I felt that preaching might be something God was calling me to. When I seventeen, the summer before my Senior year, at EXPLO ’72 in Dallas, Texas, I sensed God calling me to preach. I have not wavered from that calling since.
Have you ever done any long- or short-term mission trips?
Yes. I have lead national trips to New Mexico, Knoxville World’s Fair, Branson, MO, Kansas City, MO and international trips to Jamaica, Ecuador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
Where else have you served before coming to Greer First?
The first church I served was my home church in Rogersville, AL. Then I served Highland Baptist Church when I was a student at Martin College. I served Rockwood Baptist Church, Independence, MO when I was a student at Midwestern. Following graduation, I served Emmanuel Baptist Church in Overland Park, KS. Then I returned to seminary in Louisville where I served a church in Scottsburg, Indiana. Then I was called to Naperville Baptist Church, Naperville, IL, a suburb of Chicago where I served for 17 years before coming to Greer First in 2006.
What do you like most about your job?
I love working with people to help the church make a difference in our community. I love to see people’s lives change by understanding, applying, and living out the truths of Scripture.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse or portion of the Bible?
I love Psalm 23 in the Old Testament for its wise and practical healing truths. And, I love John 17, Jesus’ prayer for his followers, that teaches us how I can be the answer to Jesus’ prayer each day.
What do you like to do with your free time?
I love spending time with Cindy. I enjoy tennis, golf, walking/running, playing racquetball, working in the yard, and reading.
Is there something about you people would be surprised to learn?
I can juggle. I can wiggle my eyes. I went to college on a tennis scholarship. I have written six books, contributed to 10 others, including The Jeremiah Study Bible, The Men’s Devotional Bible, The Family Foundation Study Bible, and The Remnant Study Bible. Also, three of my books have been translated into Japanese, Portuguese, and Indonesian-Yayasan.