Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series profiling the religious leaders in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop.
John McIntosh, proud father of three adult children and a grandfather of nine, was raised on the east side of the Cascade Mountains in the Yakima Valley in the state of Washington.
Brought up in a good Christian home with loving parents, he received a good foundation and basic understanding of faith early on and accepted the Christian example he was taught. However, it wasn’t until attending a church camp at the age of nine that McIntosh went beyond simply embracing his parent’s faith but instead decided to make the life changing decision to follow Christ for himself.
“The campfire speaker preached a sermon on the crucifixion of Christ and at that point, seeing what Jesus had done for me, I gave my life to full-time ministry and my life became His to do with as He desired,” said McIntosh.
Ten years later, as a mere 19-year-old college student, McIntosh married his childhood sweetheart, Carolyn. It was a major turning point for the young couple, particularly for McIntosh who almost overnight he went from being a typical teenager with poor grades, to a married man with a wife he greatly loved and desired to provide for. God used the responsibility of marriage to quicken a sense of responsibility and in no time, he buckled down with college and seminary during the day while working a full-time job at night.
“It was an intense seven-year period,” admits McIntosh who not only grew emotionally and academically during that time but also grew spiritually in a way he hadn’t imagined. His dependency on God deepened during those years causing his strong personal faith relationship with God to over flow into his teaching and public ministries, eventually confirming his calling as a pastor.
“People seemed to hear the Lord speak to them as He worked through me. Joy and satisfaction filled my spirit when I ministered God’s truth. From that I took a sense of His calling being confirmed” he shared.
Presently serving as an interim pastor at Ripon Grace Church, McIntosh shepherds a congregation of approximately 200 members, teaching them what it means to be a disciple of Christ and how we are to love God and love one another as commanded in the great commission.
In addition to equipping believers through the Word of God regularly, his duties include helping the church select a qualified younger man to assume the permanent position of lead pastor. Through much prayer and a careful selection process, when the lead pastor is official chosen, McIntosh will complete his interim responsibilities while helping the new pastor transition into the lead role.
Until that time, McIntosh is implementing his passionate vision for Ripon Grace Church which includes home Bible studies, the ministry of prayer, effective evangelism and life-changing worship. He considers these four objectives as fundamental to spiritual growth, glorifying God and understanding how to demonstrate the love of Christ to all.
Using the Bible as the intended spiritual compass for teaching, correcting, rebuking and training in righteous, McIntosh continues to fulfill his nine-year old vow of serving God with his life by teaching others about God’s plan for theirs.