Pastor Ron Stewart was not raised in a Christian home. "As a teenager, I was confused and running the streets of Columbus, Ohio with no goals in my life and no purpose in my actions," he said. His life was changed at age 16 when he became a Christian through the influence and witness of his uncle.
In 1962, Pastor Ron married his high school sweetheart, Becky. Prior to entering the ministry, he worked for a large electric utility company in Columbus, Ohio and as a supervisor for General Motors.
With a wife, three young children and a comfortable secular career, God called Pastor Ron into the ministry in 1970 and he enrolled in Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee and pastored his first church while in college. Upon graduating from Belmont, he packed up his family and enrolled in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, where he first earned a Master of Divinity and later a Doctor of Ministry. After graduating from Southern, he accepted his first full time pastorate in Ohio where he and Becky had their fourth child. He pastored four churches before being called to Grace in 1988, which at that time had a weekly attendance of around 200 that worshipped in a traditional sanctuary built in 1957.
Pastor Ron's willingness to embrace change, relevant teaching and sound leadership have been key factors in Grace's growth. "We need a theology of change in our churches to influence our world," he explained. "Few churches handle change well -- in fact, they resist it. Churches must be willing to change how they do church, or they will die."
He has been a strong advocate of using media to reach people with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ through The Miracle of Grace, the church's radio and television programs, which air on Joy 62 (WRJZ) radio and Fox 43 (WTNZ) television. Grace's worship services can also be seen live worldwide via webcast. Pastor Ron has served as President of the Tennessee Baptist Convention and as a trustee at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He currently serves on the board of trustees at Carson Newman College.
Pastor Ron enjoys sports and played on the basketball team at Belmont University, where he did his undergraduate work. College teams he follows are the University of Tennessee and Ohio State. The Cincinnati Reds are his favorite pro baseball team. Also in his spare time, he enjoys golf and spending time with family. He and Becky have four adult children and nine grandchildren. The couple also enjoys the outdoors and have bicycled in 15 states.
Pastor Ron credits his personal relationship with Jesus Christ for his enduring marriage, Christian family and ministry achievements. "Over 40 years ago, I made the greatest decision I have ever made in my life when I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior," he shared. "Since that day, I have been on an incredible and exciting journey of learning more about Jesus and more about myself."