On any given Friday afternoon, you can expect a certain Crystal River man riding down a back road through the hills on a bright red and black accented Harley Davidson. The air is crisp, the leather jacket is in tow, and for him there is nothing but road for miles. On the flip side, every following Sunday morning you can find him preaching and pastoring a congregation
of about 600 members, leading the people, and having a laugh with members in the lobby about the latest family outing.
Senior Pastor Ronnie Reid is a highly respected member of the town, having influence among the city. This last October marked his and his family’s 19th year as being Senior Pastor of Crystal River Church of God, and he and the family couldn’t be happier.
“I feel like I am doing what I was created for, and certainly right being in Crystal River,” comments Reid. “I am beyond blessed for being asked to come here so long ago, and I look forward to the coming years.”
Coming in 1993, Reid came to the church as the new pastor with a congregation of about 40 people; he knew he was supposed to come here, but not without some concern.
“Moving here and not knowing anyone, I was pretty nervous about the people liking me and the way I preach,” chuckles Reid. “But I suppose they did because 19 years later I’m still here.” The church often has more than 600 attendees on Sundays
There are many ministries that have bloomed from the leadership team led by Pastor Reid. When he first arrived there was only a youth group, now the
church proudly has a variety of ministries that includes married couple classes, a food pantry with weekly free food distributions, a nursing home ministry, KIDS Church, a women’s ministry and others as well.
One of his most relaxing ministries to join in with is “Riders in the FOG”, a roughly 50-member motorcycle group from the church that rides together at least once a month.
“We created the group for some of the congregation to ride their bikes in a fun but healthy environment,” explains ministry leader Jim Hajek, who usually co-leads the ride Pastor Reid, each with their own red Harley. “The group always has a good time in fellowship. We start before the ride with a devotional and prayer, and then we hit the road for the day.”
“I love that Pastor Ronnie can come ride with us. It shows that he’s a normal man that not only leads his people, but has fun with them too,” states Personal Care Pastor Roger Cash. The simplicity of the day is what the group enjoys the most: the relaxing ride, the beautiful scenery, and the good pit stop food and fellowship. Pastor Reid’s face lit with a smile, his heart for his ministry shines through.
“Pastor Reid has such a heart for this church, and it shows everyday when he comes to work and every time he steps up in the pulpit,” comments Youth Pastor John Herndon. “It’s a pleasure to have the chance to serve with him.” Pastor Reid holds great responsibility on himself to do good works; he doesn’t want to “just preach.”
“I have a passion for this,” smiles Pastor Reid, as he explains the different duties he has. He has opened himself up to meet with congregation members, martial counseling, hospital visits, and more. Some people may think that he only works on Sundays and Wednesdays when he preaches, but that is not so. In reality, he works 24/7, on call every day with some days good, some days difficult.
When asked about the hardships of the job, Pastor Reid explains, “Of course it’s hard; nothing worth doing for God goes without trials. Only by the grace of God I can do what I do. By my own strength I would fail, and even sometimes I still do.” Those likewise in ministry or those closest to him can only truly feel the pressures and responsibilities. “He holds the burdens of the congregation and takes their lives seriously,” says his first lady and wife Sherry Reid. “He knows he is called for this, and ultimately the blessings and joy outweigh the hardships.”
“Growing up as a rebellious pastor’s kid myself, I would have laughed if someone would’ve told me I would be a senior pastor at a church,” grins Pastor Ronnie Reid. “It was until I accepted God in my heart and got my life on track that I could see his faithfulness. And thought I never would have believed it, I couldn’t be more thankful for being here right now. It really goes to show that his plans are for our good, and he is our ultimate Shepherd.”