David Ramirez in his Own Words
Every leader's pathway is unique, and David Ramirez' path is no different. He is currently in the Denver area and is pursuing online education.
What is your current status? (job title, church)
Connections Resident, LifeBridge Church in Longmont, CO.
What was your background in volunteer and leadership before residency?
I was a middle school small group leader at Westside Church in Omaha, Nebraska, and I did an unofficial internship at CityLight Church in Omaha as well. I helped lead an Alpha program. I also helped jump-start a youth program.
Why did you choose ministry?
I chose ministry because I saw the need for church leaders. I saw that church attendees were getting older and not younger. We need to always keep improving as church leaders. When we rest on our laurels (telling stories of stuff that happened 20 years ago) the church suffers for it. I came in to the fold of ministry because God commissioned me to make the church excellent and I want to do my part.
What were your expectations beginning residency?
That it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew this job would follow me home, that every action I took would be watched. I didn’t expect it to be this much fun.
Was it (or is it still) difficult? What’s been the most difficult thing – or perhaps can you relay a story of a time that your residency was difficult?
The most difficult thing is that the seasons are unbalanced: one really slow season and one really fast paced. Both can be really tough to navigate. Also difficult is people being opposed to change. We stopped having Saturday night services because it wasn’t growing, and we wanted to put our effort toward something else. I got to see some conflict play out over that decision.
What did you love/ dislike?
I loved that sometimes it was almost too much to handle. This residency helped me shape how I manage conflict, care about people, and handle my time. I disliked continually fighting traditions, traditions that have no meaning. Constantly fighting my brothers and sisters in Christ is something I hate. I’m growing and have learned a lot here in that way.
Since a lot of college students are still doing just a summer or a semester-long internship, we are wondering if you could speak to the benefits of staying as long as you have? What do you see paying off?
In these past 6 months I have just begun learning the culture of LifeBridge. I couldn’t imagine doing it any less than that. How can I then be expected to lead out in bigger ways if all my time is taken up by just learning basics?
What do you think is your impact long term? Are you equipped?
I can always learn. I can always improve. There is a certain aspect I can learn through powerpoint slides and theory. That is good. There is another aspect, more importantly, I can learn through doing. I am very new at this, but I know I can rise to the occasion in doing. I might fail. That is the point of a residency, to help you to fail forward.
How are you living out your calling?
For me right now, living out my calling is to give my all to the need in front of me. To get the whole picture before jumping to conclusions. To not send an email or text in the heat of emotions. I keep showing up.
If you had several senior pastors sitting at a table with you what would you say to them about your experience & whether they should do this?
Do it. If you have a healthy staff, this will be a very important thing you do. Residents bring something fresh to the table and might even fill a position you have a need for. It would be a headache if you threw a new guy into a very demanding position without a mentor. You can invest in the next generation of church leaders.
What was important to you when you began vs. what’s important now?
What was important before was being above reproach, keeping a good name, and making sure people knew me. Now what is really important is grace and making sure I’m doing my part…I’m doing what’s been asked of me to do.
What would you say to 20 year-old you?
Get into a residency as fast as possible. Focus.
What would you say to a student in high school or college about preparing for ministry?
Don’t go into ministry because it is the right thing to do. Don’t go if you think it will absolve you of your sins. Don’t go if you just have a lot of Bible knowledge. Don’t rest on the opinions of people that say you should go into ministry. Go because God breathed the will in you to change the church. Make it something it was never before. If you still choose ministry, CLING to the grace of God and jump. If you fail, you will always have that grace of God.