New Granite Falls First Baptist Church Pastor Ryan Martinson grew up in Central Illinois.
Bio: New Granite Falls First Baptist Church Pastor Ryan Martin grew up in Central Illinois. Even as a young man, he believed the Gospel of Jesus and was drawn to Christian service. He enrolled at and graduated from a small Baptist Bible college in Northwestern Wisconsin, studying Bible and church music. A year later he married his wife Jennifer, and the two moved to the Minneapolis area, where Ryan began taking classes at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Pastor Martinson has earned the Master of Divinity (2004) and Doctor of Philosophy (2013) degrees from that seminary. In 2009, Pastor Martinson was ordained to gospel ministry by Bible Baptist Church of Elk River, Minn. (now in Otsego). The Martinson family moved in early 2010 from the Twin Cities to western North Carolina. There Pastor Ryan served at Bethany Bible Church in Hendersonville, N.C. as the Associate Pastor. He is also a board member of Religious Affections Ministries.
Past Martinson and his wife are grateful for their five healthy children: Jared, Judson, Sebastian, Jonathan, and Anna Magdalena.
AT: What brings you to Granite Falls? What are your first impressions?
RM: I came with my family to Granite Falls to answer the call to be the pastor of the First Baptist Church.
We had visited Granite Falls several years before, so we are not completely unfamiliar with the area. Coming from North Carolina, it is immediately striking how much colder it is here than "down South," but, having already spent several years of our lives in Minnesota, we do not expect that to require a great adjustment.
Coming back to Granite Falls several years later, it has impressed me how vibrant the town is. There seems to be many young families in town, a healthy sense of community pride, and many people committed to helping southwestern Minnesota thrive. In the endless fields and Minnesota River, Granite Falls has a real Midwest American beauty to it.
AT: What inspired your entrance into the seminary, and what do you hope to accomplish as a pastor?
RM: I've always had an interested in serving Jesus Christ's church. While studying church music in college, I found that I had an increasing interest in preaching and teaching, so I began taking additional classes to prepare myself in those areas. I also received encouragement from the churches I was involved with to pursue this.
More than that, I love telling others the good news about Jesus Christ. The message of Jesus that we have in the Bible is a beautiful, coherent, meaningful message, and one that still warrants a hearing today. There is no greater joy and peace than knowing that God has forgiven your sin through the death of Jesus. Because I have the peace that comes from knowing the crucified Christ, I want other people to know that peace too.
So why seminary? Christian ministry is a very serious and daunting responsibility. Since the Bible is God's Word, it should be taught carefully and accurately. As I found myself lacking in so many ways, I wanted to learn more at the feet of other skilled Christian teachers. For Jesus sake, I wanted to be the best pastor I could possibly be. For all these reasons, I enrolled in seminary.
As a pastor, I hope to preach and teach the Bible well so that the believers who sit under my ministry will grow in their faith in and love for Jesus Christ through God's Word. I hope to help the members at First Baptist further mature as Christians, built upon the teachings of the Bible. I also hope that I can see the church grow as sinners turn to their only hope, Jesus Christ.
AT: What is your favorite thing to do within the church? How about outside of it?
RM: In the church, I love gathering on the Lord's Day to worship God in prayer, singing, and the other parts of Christian worship. I have to say that I also love having an active preaching and teaching ministry. It is a rare joy and privilege to bring people to Christ through the Word of God.
Outside the church, I enjoy spending time with my wife and family. I also enjoy classical music, technology, baseball, Scrabble, and reading.
AT: What do you think is one, or a few, of the most important messages people need to hear today?
RM: In one respect, I could say the Bible, as God's Word, is the most important message people need to hear today.
But more specifically, the most important message for people to hear today is the good news about Jesus. Christians believe that this message is central to our faith, but it is far more than a 2,000-year-old antiquated report about who Jesus was; it is still as relevant today as it was then. The never-ending truth of this message is seen in the fact that God raised Jesus from the dead. This good news, or "Gospel," assumes that there is some "bad news." God created us for his glory so that we might love and worship him. All human beings, however, have turned away from God; we not only break his laws, but we are not really interested in loving or worshipping him. Our best good works are tainted with sin and selfishness. There is a day of judgment coming, and we will all give an account to God for the way we lived. We believe the Bible when it tells us that Jesus will condemn sinners. We find in ourselves that we are unable to please God. We stand helpless, needing God to be gracious to us despite our sin.
The Bible, however, is not all bad news, as serious as this bad news is. Against it is the good news, that Jesus, the Son of God born of the virgin Mary, came into this world and lived the holy life we could not live. He willingly submitted to the Father and died on the cross for our sins. When we could not save ourselves, Jesus suffered on the cross the punishment we deserved for our sins. Then God showed his pleasure in his Son's death for sin by raising him in his real resurrection from the dead. (Many followers of Jesus saw the risen Christ, and they gave credence to his resurrection when they willingly suffered martyrdom for their Lord.) People who repent of their sin and confess that this Jesus is the Savior, coming King, and Jewish Messiah promised in the Old Testament will be forgiven of all their sins. They will be restored to God, and put back into a position where they can worship the one true and living God, the very reason that they are living. In Jesus God's rich grace is on display.
I believe this message (a couple paragraphs really does not do it justice) is the true and only way of salvation. Although it is increasingly rare to hear of it today, I am committed to preaching it, for it comes to us from the true God.
AT: How would you describe First Baptist church to potentially interested outsiders?
RM: We are a group of friendly believers committed to the Gospel message I just explained. We want to obey Christ and follow him faithfully. As a church, we want to love each other and help each other follow Christ. We want to take the Christian faith seriously, conserving it for the next generation.
I think it is important for folks to know that, from those core commitments, we are a conservative church. We meet, not to be entertained, but to worship the living God. We are also a church that takes Christian teaching seriously. In my sermons, I want people to understand what the Bible says and how its teachings apply to the way they live. We encourage families to worship together, and we emphasize Christian fellowship through a weekly "potluck" meal. As a Baptist church, this means we are committed to historic Baptist views like believers' baptism and congregational government.
Each Lord's Day, we begin with a prayer service at 9:15 AM. The worship service follows at 10:15 AM. After this service we share in the weekly fellowship meal. Sunday School follows the meal at 1:30 PM.