How well do you really know your pastor? Sure, you hear them speak at least once a week and you always take their advice to heart but is that enough to truly form a bond? For members of Family Christian Center (FCC), getting to know Pastor Rick VanWagner is easy to do. Since FCC was first incorporated as a church in late 1993, through the rest of the 1990s and the 2000s, church leadership have been readily accessible for more than two decades. That’s not a requirement, but a choice, says Pastor Rick VanWagner, FCC’s founder who has held the position for more than 23 years.
While he’s always pleased to see the positive effects that FCC has had on the lives of those who’ve come to the Clermont, Florida-based church, even Pastor Rick VanWagner has benefitted from its existence. That’s because the formation of the church would eventually put him in the position to become the founder of Family Christian Center Preschool in August 2014. The school system offers a safe and fun place for those up to the age of 5 to grow with God. Parents should feel comfortable knowing that this facility founded by Pastor Rick VanWagner is licensed with the Florida Department of Children and Families and is also a member of the Florida League of Christian Schools (FLOCS). The founding of Family Christian Center School (FCCS) in August 2010 was a natural progression from the launch of the preschool program. FCCS offers education at every grade level, from kindergarten through 12th grade and helps students grow their faith, character, achievements and purpose. The school, which is overseen by Pastor Rick VanWagner as its founder, is also fully-accredited through FLOCS and offers college prep courses.
Beyond, FCC and its educational arm, VanWagner took to local government as another way of helping his fellow man. From November 2010 through January 2015, he served two consecutive terms as a Clermont, Florida city councilman. Given that Clermont has an approximate population of 30,000, that’s a lot of constituents but VanWagner’s two terms show that he was trusted with his role. Getting to know your pastor may take little more than a one-on-one conversation, but it’s something that we highly encourage. The net result is gaining a friend in good times and resource during the not-so-good times. As you can see, Pastor Rick VanWagner has made himself a friend of all who resident in the Clermont area and beyond.
Was there a moment in your life when you realized you were on the right track? While there’s rarely a fail-safe guide for us to follow step-by-step, sometimes just following our heart is enough. For Rick VanWagner, the answer came early but unfolded over decades. That’s because the current pastor of Family Christian Center first found God at the young age of five and immediately gave his heart to Jesus. This life-changing event came about thanks to the guidance of Pastor Joe Boatwright, located in Winter Park, Florida. Rick VanWagner says that even though age five may seem like such a young age, he immediately realized the special purpose that God would have in his life. While he couldn’t have possibly known it then, finding God and following his unfolding plan has provided Rick VanWagner with the opportunity to create and continue life-long friendships – including that with his first pastor.
Following in the footsteps of his first pastor, VanWagner would be involved with ministry positions starting in 1980 and spending the entire decade doing work on behalf of God. Thirteen years later, his life would reach a new chapter with implications that at that time would have seemed unimaginable. VanWagner took on the role of founder and senior pastor of Family Christian Center, in Clermont, Florida, in October 1993. This major shift in his life came after two years of full-time ministry work, which commenced in 1991. Since the opening of Family Christian Center, VanWagner says that the “incredible growth” the house of worship has seen has been both humbling and fulfilling.
Outside of his church, VanWagner has served two terms as president of the Ministerial Alliance of South Lake County, a group he has been a member of since 1998.Members of the Florida-based Ministerial Alliance of South Lake County include local pastors and ministry leaders who are striving to touch hearts and minds while expanding the number of believers in the region. On top of his work locally, VanWagner has traveled to South America, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean to minister to both Christian and non-Christian businesses, government officials, professional athletes, celebrities and more.
Thanks to a lifetime of selfless service, VanWagner’s teachings are both uplifting and encouraging. He has seen first-hand how faith shaped his life for the better and wants to offer those experiences to others in hopes of improving the lives of others.