Ralph Starling is responsible for the ministry of “Christian Invitation 360”. This ministry is rooted in the practice of Christian hospitality and is an invitation to the Christian spiritual life. The spirit of Christian hospitality is primarily an expression of love and is not only practiced within the church but to the world around us. It has been said that the remarkable explosion of Christianity in the first century was due not only to the proclamation of the gospel, but to the extraordinary quality of Christian hospitality.
ministry has taken him throughout the world. He has led mission projects in
countries such as Tanzania, Slovakia, the Caribbean Islands of St. Kitts and
Montserrat, the Central American countries of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and
coming to Richmond’s First Baptist Church, Ralph was a minister in
northern California. While living in the San Francisco bay area, he hosted a
weekly cable talk show, ‘Evening Journal’, interviewing a variety of guests
from the San Francisco bay area.
earned the Master of Divinity degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological
Seminary, in Mill Valley, California. He did his undergraduate work at
Valdosta State University, where he played college baseball. He continued
playing baseball after graduation with the Valdosta Red Sox, a
semi-professional baseball team made up outstanding college and professional
ball players recruited from around the country.
he completed a three-year program, “Becoming a Spiritual Director,” at San
Francisco Theological Seminary. In addition to his interest in Christian
Spirituality, he participates bi-annually in the Leadership in Ministry
Workshops in Colorado Springs, studying family systems theory and
Ralph is currently assisting new Americans (Bhutanese refugee families) who have lived in refugee camps in Nepal for the last 15 years. Over 400 Bhutanese have resettled in Richmond during the last two years. As the pastor for the Ministry of Christian Invitation, Ralph is seeking to help Richmond’s First Baptist Church become the visible presence of Christ in Richmond and around the world.
During the fall season, Ralph will be helping with the Divorce Recovery Ministry, leading small spiritual formation groups such as Companions In Christ, spending time connecting with college students at Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as exploring ways First Baptist
Church can offer spiritual support and encouragement to the business community of Richmond.