about the ring community church
"therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
leading people to a more intimate relationship with God, for His glory.
the body at the ring community church desires to be like Jesus in every way. the only way this can become a reality is by His power and grace at work in us though our relationship with Him. this is why our mission statement speaks of an intimate relationship with God...that is the key. as our lives look more and more like Jesus', God uses us to change the world. we try to build our lives around these truths, and struggle together in the process.
:: our name ::
originally, we decided to call our worship service "the ring" after a powerful sermon given by dave edwards at a new orleans "cross seekers" rally. using a hula-hoop, dave compared our lives to that giant ring.
there are two main components of the ring: the presence of God in your life, and the principles of God's Word applied in your life. the goal of the Christian life is to stay in the center of the ring.
dave went on to explain that it's easy to live a life of compromise that is half in the ring and half outside the ring. our minds and bodies may be inside the ring, but our time is not, or our money is not, or our dating lives are not. his challenge that night was for us to keep every aspect of our lives in the middle of the ring.
God used that message more than dave edwards will ever know. soon after that night the name was chosen. our goal in every worship service is to be in the center of the ring, through all forms of worship including the study of God's Word. and, as we leave each week, our prayer is that we will live it out every day.
we still desire to and strive to remain in the center of the ring, but as we've grown into a church, we find ourselves relating to another meaning as well...a meaning inspired by dieter zander's model of missions.
he describes church as a giant ring. as the body holds onto the ring with one hand, we reach into the world with the other hand.
at the ring, we desire to share Jesus with everyone we come into contact with. if those people step foot inside the doors of one of our gatherings, great. but even if they never step foot inside of the building, we desire to still share the Christ in us, for His glory.
:: our story ::
The Ring began in March of 1998, with 32 students gathering in the sanctuary of Parkview Baptist Church for a time of worship and Bible study. No one there that night, including those in charge, knew what the future held for this ministry. All they knew was that God had revealed a need, and had given them a vision to try and meet that need.
It all started in the heart of Jim Wallace, who at that time was the Minister of Education at Parkview.
Baton Rouge is the home of Louisiana State University, Southern University, Baton Rouge Community College, and several other technical schools, business colleges, and nursing schools. The campus ministries were very strong and committed. However, at that time, few local churches were taking advantage of this huge mission field sitting in their backyards. So Bro. Jim began to pray and ask God to show him how his church could reach more students.
Bro. Jim sat down with Josh Causey, who was a senior at LSU, and told him that he wanted to start a Sunday night college worship service. The concept was a very simple time of worship and Bible study, aimed specifically at college students. Although Josh was skeptical, the two began to pray, and a few weeks later The Ring met for the fist time. The plan was to try it out for a few weeks and see what happens.
The Ring met in the sanctuary for the next year and a half before moving to the gym. The musical worship was led by the band Full Release, who also led worship at the LSU Baptist Student Union (now the baptist collegiate ministry). Different speakers would come in each week to teach from God’s Word.
The service began to grow numerically, but the students needed something more to help them grow deeper. As the leadership prayed, God led them in the direction of small groups.
At The Ring each week, students would get into groups of 8-10 people and engage in a brief discussion, followed by a short time of teaching. This allowed them to get to know one another and talk about what God was doing in their lives. These groups were the beginning of the weeknight community groups that meet today.
Each Wednesday night, the small group leaders met to discuss the upcoming Sunday night topic. It became clear to these students that God was doing something special, but it was unclear exactly where the ministry was headed. They decided to take the time between the fall and spring semesters to pray and seek the Lord’s direction for the ministry.
This time of prayer, known as 30 days, has become one of the most vital dynamics of The Ring. At the end of the 30 days, everyone gathered together to discuss the things the God had taught them over that month. The group believed, after praying separately for a month, that God had planted a vision in their hearts that The Ring would grow and become a church. While everyone agreed that a church plant was in their future, they also agreed that it wouldn’t happen any time soon. The group had some growing up to do, and in the mean time they felt led to focus on growing closer to the Lord and one another.
God continued to birth new vision in the leadership as The Ring grew beyond the Sunday night worship service. Bible study groups, known as Community Groups, began meeting during the week, and the students involved began to grow closer to God and each other. Apartment complexes opened their doors to any ministry that wanted to come and reach out to the residents. Leaders were emerging and a passion for reaching the campus was spreading. A leadership team of eight elders was formed in 2000, and they met each week to pray and give direction to The Ring and its ministries.
In the fall of 2005, Josh met with the Pastor at Parkview, Bill Pruitt, to discuss the vision that God had given for The Ring five years earlier. He was very excited, and they decided that the next step was for the elders to put together a plan of action, and then take it from there. The elders brought their plan to him that spring, and the ball started rolling. After meeting with the staff, trustees, deacons, personnel committee, finance committee, and taking it to the church for approval, it was finally time for The Ring Community Church to go public.
After a summer of planning, a huge turnover in leadership at Parkview, hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the final plan went to the people of The Ring on September 18th, 2006. The Ring went into preparation mode, taking up our first offerings, forming a finance team, moving to the gym, and starting a nursery.
On February 12th, 2006, The Ring Community Church was officially born. That night was a celebration of the fulfillment of God’s promises, both in individual lives and in the life of this new church. The birth moment was incredible, as The Ring Community gathered in the middle of the gym, encircled by hundreds of supporters -- Parkview church members, friends from other churches, parents, family members, and Ring “alumni”.
In February of 2008, the elders brought some exciting news to the membership meeting… it’s time to move! The catch was that they didn’t know where to, or when, or anything other than the fact that it was time. Then, after several weeks of praying and looking into various options, it was clear that The Ring’s next physical home would be the newly renovated BCM building on the LSU campus. June 15th was the first Sunday night gathering at the BCM, and it quickly began to feel like home.
In March of 2012, due to the rapidly increasing number of young children, The Ring relocated once again. Grace Baptist, in Mid-City, while going through a transition of their own, felt led to enter into a unique relationship with The Ring. Two churches sharing one facility isn’t exactly common in Baton Rouge, but the two congregations believe that God has called them to work together in ministry to the surrounding community and beyond.
Today, the people that make up The Ring are still learning and growing. God has blessed this church beyond belief. Everyone involved is committed to continue seeking God’s vision for this church, and looking for ways to lead people to a more intimate relationship with God, for His glory.