Cliff Ryan, Education and Administration Associate Pastor

Describe the calling you felt to ministry.

After becoming a believer in 1971 as a High School senior, I entered Florida State University and became active in the Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM) there.  During that first year, I helped out at a youth Bible study ministry in Panacea, FL and was involved in Spring Beach ministry in Ft. Lauderdale.  Through these and other experiences and my ongoing discipleship through the BCM and First Baptist Tallahassee, a sense of direction began that was confirmed during the summer of 1972 at home in Lake City. It was during that summer, in prayerful discussions with my pastor, that I shared with my church family at First Baptist Lake City, my sense of calling to vocational ministry.

How did you end up in Callahan, FL?

While serving at Tampa Baptist Church (now Christ Fellowship in Tampa), I received a phone call from Pastor Lynn in the early part of 1999.  I think he was surprised I knew where Callahan was (in high school Fernandina High was in our athletic conference…past Baldwin there was a light in Callahan, one in Yulee and then Fernandina—NO TRAFFIC). Meeting with Pastor Lynn and the Search team there was a real sense of God’s leadership from Tampa and to Callahan that began for me and my family in April of 1999.

What phrase from the Bible do you cling to when going through tough times?

‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’ Joshua 1:9(ESV)

If you could change places with a Bible Character, who would you choose and why?

John Mark, first seen in Acts 12, and a cousin of Barnabas. It was to his mother’s home that Peter retreated in Acts 12.  He joined Paul and Barnabas on Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13). Though there was some tension about him that led Paul not to take him on missionary journey two (Acts 15:36-40), later in his life, Paul asked for John Mark as a “useful helper” in 2 Timothy 4:11 and Peter referred to him as his “son” (1Peter 5:13). John Mark seemed to be able to navigate his life between some very powerful personalities while demonstrating a spirit of peace and faithfulness.

What household chore do you hate the most?

Washing dishes.  Vacuuming is a close second.

If you could go back to high-school, what is a piece of advice you would tell yourself?

  1. Enjoy it as much as you did the first time…but…
  2. Study more
  3. Take typing