Name: Ricardo Thompson
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Job title: Senior Pastor of Living Water Community Church
Church Name and Location: Living Water – 1501 Riverland Road, Fort Lauderdale 33312
How and when did you come to know the Lord?
I came to know the Lord back in 1982 after being raised Catholic while living in New York. My family and I moved to Florida 4 years earlier and we were not going to a church when a Christian Missionary Alliance Church, called West Broward Christian Alliance, started meeting in the elementary school up the street. The Pastor knocked on our door and invited us to come. I heard the Gospel for the first time while I was there and I gave my heart to the Lord.
How and when did you become involved in Ministry?
At some point, my mom started going to another church called West Lauderdale Baptist Church and invited me to attend. I absolutely loved it there and it was at that time that I got involved in children’s ministry and a prison ministry called Jesus Lives Ministry. Then, at the age of 18, I moved out of my house and went to live with a couple of young guys from the church,. We formed a couple of local Christian Rock bands: 360 Zip and R.E.I.G.N. (Ruling Everything in God’s Name) – I was in the latter. We played all over the place; those where some good times.
What is your church/ organization doing that is exciting or unique?
I’m not sure how unique we are except to say we’ve stuck with the basics of preaching and teaching and trying to obey God’s word. The Bible teaches that people are on the heart of God and so we structure what we do to reach out to and love on people. Besides the usual ministries for adults, youth and children, we have a weekly outreach to those who are in need in our community for groceries. We try to minister to their physical needs as well as their spiritual ones. I have a great team that facilitates that ministry .
What is the best part of your job/most difficult part of your job?
The best and most challenging part of my job is teaching, loving and encouraging the people. We are in an older building and we recently had a leak due to old rusty pipes. Fortunately, we have some people in the church with some know how in these areas and we had it taken care of. As I thought about the problems that old buildings come with, I thought to myself, I’d rather have “old building problems” than “no building problems”. (That is to say not having a building at all – which by the way was truly a blessing and a gift from God. Ask me, I’d like to tell you that story some time.) It’s the same with people and their issues. I’d rather have “some people issues” than “no people issues”. Truly, it is helping people work out their issues that is the best and also the most challenging aspect of being a pastor.
If you weren’t doing what you’re currently doing, what would you like to be doing?
There truly is nothing I’d rather be doing than what I’m doing… but if I wasn’t doing this, I’d probably be in Nursing as I was prior for 10 years or so as a Psych Nurse. Teaching somewhere would also be a possibility.
Do you have a favorite quote, motto or bible verse/area of scripture and why?
My favorite bible verse is Matthew 6:33, “Seek First the Kingdom and His Righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you.” This is my life verse and my personal experience with the Lord. As we learn to put Him first, He takes care of all of our needs.
Besides God, who has been the most influential person in your life?
There have been Pastors and Youth Pastors and also other godly men in the church, like Brother Tom Hall who led a very powerful bible study I used to attend. In addition to that list I’d have to add two very special ladies, my Mother, a very godly influence on me, and my Wife of 23 years, Deborah. She truly is a gift from God and has walked with me every step of the way.
What is your favorite way to relax?
I like to watch movies, UFC, and take an occasional cruise.
What is the last book you read (besides the Bible), and what did you think of it?
The last two books that I read were a Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, which is excellent, and Fearless by Max Lucado. We read Fearless as part of a book study with several of the men from our church and it was awesome considering what’s been going on in our economy.
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited, and why?
I’ve been to a few places in my life: Russia, Belarus, Germany, France, Israel and Austria. All of them were great and unique experiences. But the one I found the most interesting was Israel because of all the biblical history. Every Christian should go there at least once in their life – it was amazing as you walked in the places where Jesus and the patriarchs of the bible walked.
What encourages you the most/frustrates you the most about Christians in our society?
I’m most discouraged by the apathy of some. Jesus said that the Harvest is ripe but the Laborers are few. I’m most encouraged when people “get it” and see their place in God’s plan and start to walk it out in their everyday lives.
What is something that God has been teaching you lately?
To be faithful, especially in the little things. I believe with all my heart that there is a revival coming to South Florida and it’s going to take faithful men and women to help bring in the harvest.
Tell us something about your family or yourself that most people do not know.
My wife and I minister from a place of transparency, so most of the people around us know us very well. This has had its ups and downs and comes with certain vulnerabilities, but we’d rather genuinely love and serve people from this place than any other place. For those who don’t know us, I come from a Caribbean background and my wife comes from a Jewish background, which makes for interesting kids, as we have 4 beautiful children ages 11 to 22. We jokingly tell people that this mixture makes our kids “Jew-maicans”. With that said, our church reflects the diversity of our family – families from all over the globe including Anglo, Hispanic, Caribbean, Haitian, Hungarian, as well as others. We truly have a multi-cultural church that loves Jesus and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
For more information on Living Water Community Church, please visit: www.LWCCFTL.org and see their place in God’s plan and start to walk it out in their everyday lives.