Senior Ryan Ross leads chapel on the prodigal son

By Morgan Smith, Faith Editor

“I’m excited to get the opportunity to speak to you about God’s Word,” Ryan Ross said during chapel on Wednesday, April 19.

The OBU senior was given the opportunity by the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry to lead the chapel service that day. He thanked the college at the beginning of his sermon.

Ross is a pastoral ministry major from Oklahoma City. He said it was an honor to speak to his peers during the service.

For his sermon, Ross chose to preach about Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son.

“It’s just a passage that’s really impacted me in my own life, especially the section about the elder brother, because I think we all have a tendency to relate to God in that way, in the way of trying to earn our acceptance from Him and our approval from Him,” Ross said. “I just really had a bit of a personal encounter with that passage and understanding that we relate to God by grace and not by what we do.”

Relating to God through grace was the exact theme of his message, as he spoke about the importance of fully understanding the Gospel.

“Jesus is pleading with you through this text that trying to find life and freedom without Him is not going to work,” he said during the sermon. “You’ll end up empty and unsatisfied.”

However, he also said that, like the prodigal son, no one is ever too far gone to receive God’s grace and mercy.

“When you come home to the Father, you won’t be shamed, you won’t be condemned, you’ll be welcomed with grace and pardon,” Ross said.

After the sermon, Ross said that he hoped students would understand more about walking in the freedom and grace of the Gospel, and that they’ll think more about relating to God.

Junior nursing major Sarah Pruitt was one of the students in attendance at the chapel. She said she enjoyed the sermon.

“I liked how he took a parable and applied it to the life we live now as Christians,” Pruitt said. “I think he worded things very well, like when he said that if you don’t make yourself a son or daughter of the King, you just become a slave.”

Although last week’s sermon was Ross’s first time preaching in front of his peers at OBU, he has had experience preaching to other congregations in the past.

Ross has spoken at the First Baptist Church of Drumright, Asher, the Sunnylane First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill First Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, and others, as well as at various youth weekends.

However, Ross’s first sermon took place before he become a pastoral ministry major.

“After freshman year here at OBU I was asked by the church I grew up in to do a youth ministry internship, and I agreed to do that, not really knowing whether or not I was called to ministry,” Ross said. “Just as that summer went on and I began to do that, I began to sense God calling me to ministry.”

During his sophomore year, Ross officially changed his major from business to ministry.

On June 2, Ross will marry his fiancé.

He plans to continue working in the ministry field after graduation, starting with a pastoral residency at Capitol Hill in Oklahoma City.

After his fiancé graduates, they plan to move to North Carolina and go into seminary at South Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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