Ryan Brown Elder

Growing up in Rockford, church was always part of the rhythm of our life. Sunday morning service, Sunday evening service, and Wednesday evening youth group were always a part of the family calendar. I am thankful to God for such grace to be born into a family that sought the Lord. It was through our family's church that I was exposed to the great news of Christ's life, death, and resurrection. The Lord began a work in my heart, but I turned away from him and went my own way.

In high school, I met my wife-to-be, Tina. Through her and some amazing YoungLife leaders at my high school, I started to notice Christians who reveled in the freedom and power of the gospel to change lives. They were real with their struggles and victories and invited me into their world. The Holy Spirit opened my eyes. The double life that I had built to separate the guilt and shame of who I was from who I was supposed to be was unable to stand. I was forced to choose for whom I would live. God in His grace allowed my faith to be renewed and like the prodigal I came running back.

After I graduated high school, Tina and I became YoungLife leaders and started attending another local church. Then, a year after Tina and I were married, we attended a Passion conference and had the opportunity to hear John Piper preach. It was through that experience and seeking out DesiringGod resources (and similar ministries) that we were exposed to expositional preaching, God-exalting, Christ-centered worship and liturgy, and the pursuit of knowing God as he has revealed himself in the Bible (i.e., theology). Because of what God was doing in us, we started attending Rock Valley Bible Church and have been blessed by God to worship and fellowship with the people of RVBC. The Lord has blessed us with 3 children: Thatcher, Cora, and Piper.

RVBC Leadership Team