By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
Ridgecrest Baptist Church’s pastor R.J. Nanny may be young, but his ministry philosophy relies on tried and true concepts.
“The direction I wanted to take them was getting out of a Bible study mentality and focuses on discipleship,” he said. “Bible study is where you sit and collect data, discipleship is where I teach you to follow Jesus and then train you to teach others.”
A recent graduate of Criswell Bible College in Dallas, Nanny was contacted by Ridgecrest after their former pastor was called to the mission field.
“I’m very young and a lot of churches are very cautious in that,” he said.
“After meeting the community and the church, I could really see the Lord’s hand on it.”
According to Nanny, he was struck by their international focus.
“They’re really passionate for missions and outreach, and their resources go out,” he said. “Their priority is outside of Commerce.”
Nanny also hopes to upgrade Ridgecrest’s facilities in the near future. The church was a plant of First Baptist Church of Commerce in the late 60s and became autonomous in the 70s.
“One the first things I told the church was that we need to either rebuild or relocate,” he said. “The facility isn’t the main thing, but we want to have a strong children’s program.”
Nunny has met with Commerce ISD Superintendent Blake Cooper and the Boys & Girl’s Club of Northeast Texas to see what Ridgecrest can do to benefit the community.
“We want to help, not hurt,” he said. “It’s our responsibility to help our community and to love them, so they know Jesus doesn’t care about your status. In fact, Jesus hates the status quo.”
Building up leaders is another important part of Nanny’s plan.
“We need to raise up leaders,” he said. “That means being active and accountable, putting people in place and training them up. We have leadership epidemic in the nation. Need to raise up leaders in the community so that they can understand they’re accountable for their community.”