Staff Spotlight: Ron Hawkins
HOMETOWN: Plymouth, Indiana
FAMILY: wife, Linette; 5 children (4 sons and 1 daughter); 8 grandchildren with 2 more on the way
HOBBIES: a good adventure novel, jogging, and being near water. Our hobby now is our grandkids!
FAVORITE RECENT READ: books by Tim Tigner
FAVORITE SNACK: potato chips
Tell us about your faith journey.
I grew up going to church, but I never remember hearing the Gospel preached. It was all about being good and doing good. When I was a sophomore in high school, I attended a youth gathering where I heard the Gospel clearly, and I made a commitment to Christ. But pretty soon after I backpedaled, because I saw that this “Jesus thing” could get in the way of being popular. I didn’t deny the truth of the Gospel, but I didn’t live it.
When Linette and I lived in New England, we attended a quaint Presbyterian church, and it was there that our faith came alive. As a mentor would often say, we were “forever ruined” thereafter. We were all in. Not that we were perfect, but we were all in.
How did life change for you?
God really turned my life around. A year later I realized I’d gotten where I was in life by my own volition, by my own choice. I never considered consulting God. So I decided to fast and draw near to God. On the third day I heard God clearly say, while not audibly, that He wanted me to be a pastor. That meant quitting my sales job and going to seminary. I told Him, “I sell swimsuits!” The thought that God would not only redeem me—despite all I’d done, all the sin—but want to use me in this way, was astounding.
What were your next steps?
Linette and I talked, and I entered seminary a year later. While a student, we had our third child. Balancing family life was healthy for me, however, because I decided I wanted the education and training, but I wasn’t going to stress over grades at the expense of my family. We had our fourth child during a church plant for the Vineyard that followed, which was a tent-making scenario, so there was no salary. After three years in the church plant, we moved onto other pastoral positions in Presbyterian congregations (and had one more child!).
How do you feel God has uniquely prepared you for your role at CPC?
I feel that all the experiences I’ve had play into this role very well, from my business experience to different positions in various churches. I’ve always been attuned to those on the periphery, desiring to invite, encourage, and welcome them in. I’m also wired in such a way that I love making decisions in a team format versus calling the shots, which works well in the Presbyterian system. We make better decisions together than we do alone. That collaborative part of who I am plays well into transition ministry, but I’m not afraid to make a decision when I have to or no one else will.
What are you learning about prayer?
Prayer is the easiest thing to do and the hardest thing to do—at least for me. I am more of a Martha than a Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Almost by instinct, I wake up ready to do something for Jesus rather than simply be in His presence. And so as the psalmist says, I have to choose to “be still and know He is God” instead of resting in my own competency, thinking “I’ve got this.” Prayer brings me back to dependence on Him. When I choose to have that two-way conversation with God, I am rarely disappointed, and my day is far more Kingdom-focused and certainly more fruitful.