Chase Ringler graduated from Grace Theological Seminary in 2016 with his master of divinity degree in pastoral studies. After several years serving as a youth pastor in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Ringler is now serving as a full-time pastor and praying each and every day that God uses him for His glory. We sat down with Chase to catch up and hear about how he’s doing as a full-time pastor. Read the full interview to learn about how Chase’s master of divinity degree has prepared him for the job!
Q: What role are you serving in ministry right now?
A: God has graciously allowed me to serve as the Senior Pastor at Aboite Baptist Church (ABC) in Fort Wayne since August of 2020.
Q: What is most exciting about being a new pastor at a church?
A: What is most exciting about being at ABC is that God doesn’t need me to build His church; He already has Christ for that. He simply calls me to faithfulness and obedience. This sounds strange: “God doesn’t need me.” Let me explain. I came to ABC in the middle of a global pandemic and social unrest. On top of those things, I experienced the ordinary pastoral transition craziness.
I’ve only been at the church for about nine months and already there have been several obstacles to “success.” What is wild, is that I have seen the Lord do amazing work over the last several months, and I can’t take credit for it. Just a few of the amazing God things include a maintained attendance (and we may be growing, it’s hard to tell with online views), increased giving, increased giving toward missions, baptisms, and most importantly, the salvation of individuals in the church! People are really embracing the gospel and what it means for their lives outside the church house walls. As I said, I can’t take credit for it — all glory goes to Christ — but God uses me as an instrument for His glory. I pray the Lord continues to use me for His glory.
Q: What are you preaching through right now and what are you learning?
A: We are committed to Christ-exalting expositional preaching at ABC. That means we go through books of the Bible and show how the meaning of the passage points us toward Christ. Right now I am preaching through the book of Judges, which has been incredible. Many people who have grown up in the church remember flannelgraph stories about Gideon, Samson, Deborah, etc. and they might think that the point of the book of Judges is for God’s people to become heroes of the faith like whatever judge. But that’s not the point! The book of Judges shows us that we are already too similar to these biblical deliverers and the people of Israel. We forget God’s faithfulness and run after idols of our own making. We long for the acceptance of the world over a relationship with Christ. The book of Judges serves as a mirror in that sense and shows us that we need a better deliverer than Gideon or Samson. The good news is that God has provided a better deliverer in Christ, who is able to crush the idols of our hearts and fulfill the longings of our hearts with what we truly need.
Q: You graduated with your master of divinity degree some time ago, as you look back on seminary, what was most impactful to you?
A: I’ve been out of seminary for five years. There hasn’t been one week of ministry where I haven’t used a skill that was enhanced or developed while I was at Grace Theological Seminary. I am so grateful to Dr. Harmon and Dr. Rata for showing me how the Bible is one related story (just because I say story doesn’t mean it’s not true!) with Christ as the pinnacle of the story. I am also so grateful for the way my courses enhanced my thinking and communication skills whether it was in a sanctification class with Dr. Hill or a preaching class with Dr. Rock.
Q: What would you tell students who are considering whether or not to go to seminary?
A: Seminary is hard, and if it isn’t hard you’re either a certified genius or lazy. Yet, it is the hardship that brings spiritual growth and personal development that is necessary to serve Christ and His church. Ministry is very rewarding, but it is not for the faint of heart. If you are considering ministry, don’t try to take the easy path. Seminary will strengthen and equip you for your calling. The Lord used my time at Grace to sanctify me in such a way that I can truly say I would not love Jesus like I do today if it were not for my time at Grace.
Secondly, and I really believe this strongly, become a member of a local church while in seminary. Don’t wait to serve Christ until you are out of seminary. Be a part of a local assembly. Love older saints and take in their wisdom. Instruct younger saints with the Word. Sit under a group of elders. Give of your time, talent, and treasure. Sing with the saints. Laugh and cry and live with a small group. You need the church more than the church needs you, so be connected to the church as you get ready to serve the church.
Q: What is your favorite story from your time pursuing a master of divinity degree?
A: My greatest memory of Grace Theological Seminary is something that is still being lived out today. While I was at GTS, every professor made time to meet with me, talk with me, and invest in me. I’d like to say that’s because I was such a great student, but that wouldn’t be the truth. The professors at GTS truly loved me and gave of their time to invest in me, and my story is not unique. My greatest memory of GTS is still being lived out today. My professors continue to be there for me, whether I have a question about ministry or life. They continue to be a part of equipping me to serve Christ, and for that, I am indebted to them.
Do you want the lifelong mentorships that come from seminary that Chase mentioned? You can!
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John is the Director of the School of Ministry Blended Program, an accelerated Bachelors/Masters program. He gives oversight to the operations and student support of the program.
- Th.M. 2014 New Testament, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
- M.Div. 2012 Exegetical Studies, Grace Theological Seminary
- B.S. 2009, Youth Ministry, Grace College