Most of Pete (’95) Ramsey’s life and vocational journey is focused on various points in Florida. As a native of South Daytona, the dominant influence in Pete’s faith development was South Daytona Christian Church, which sits just five miles from Daytona International Speedway and “The World’s Most Famous Beach.”
Pete made his way to Florida Christian College as a freshman in 1991. As a sophomore, he started courting the former Heather (’96) Mize and they were married in the spring of Pete’s junior year. During that same year, Pete did a youth ministry internship with Central Christian Church in Ocala, Florida. Central Christian offered Pete a full-time youth ministry position during his senior year.
Growing up, Pete attributes his growth in faith to the influence of 1981 Central Florida Bible College graduate Bobby Smith. Bobby influenced several students toward ministry preparation at the Kissimmee campus and Pete is just one student who pursued ministry because of the Smith family’s influence.
Pete always envisioned himself as a youth minister and never imagined he would serve the church in any other capacity. His vocational journey includes youth and family ministries in Ocala, Jacksonville, and Fort Myers, Florida. The Ramseys also spent eight years at First Christian Church in Kernersville, North Carolina where Pete led middle school, high school, and family ministries. The Ramseys planned to stay at First Christian until 2017, when the elders at Englewood asked him to consider a return to the church as their new senior minister.
“I NEVER wanted to be a senior pastor or preacher,” Pete says. He always wanted to be the guy behind the scenes and he felt that was his area of giftedness. He could take on leadership duties when necessary, but it was not something he envisioned doing as a lead minister.
If it were “any other person” than the elder who contacted Pete or “any other church” than Englewood, Pete says he would not have given the invitation a second thought. However, because it was Englewood, Pete and Heather were willing to listen for the Lord’s guidance. Ultimately, they were convinced this was the right move and they made their way back to Englewood in 2017. Pete serves as the congregation’s lead minister.
Pete credits the Englewood congregation with being a model of how the church should function. The congregation ministered to Pete and Heather through various joys and trials during the family’s first seven years of ministry in Jacksonville. “The people were loving, surrounding, and encouraging,” he says. “Not just sympathy but empathy. They felt our pain.” He says, “Our marriage would not have survived several challenges if we had been at any other church. This place is special.”
Pete is an example of the significant legacy of the Florida campus. After reflecting on his 30+ years in ministry so far, Pete’s one bit of advice to others in ministry is to emphasize being a servant. He says, “The moment you feel like you are too important to move tables and chairs, you need to find something else to do because you have lost your priority about why you are doing what you are doing.”
Listen to Pete’s full interview as well as interviews with other alumni by visiting the Sojournal podcast archive.