New Berean was established in the summer of 1989 but was born in the heart of God from eternity past. The Lord chose Leroy E. Ricks, Sr. to carry and preach the gospel of Jesus a few years earlier. While working as an inside machinist for a local government agency, God’s appointment of Ricks started through a workplace bible study. He was subsequently invited to the lunchtime study where he was confronted with a truth that would disturb him in his spirit.
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). They shared with him the truth of the scriptures had concluded that no one was exempt from the wrath of God (Roms 3:10). As he continued to contend with attendees of the bible study, he was told everyone who dies in the flesh without Christ, will ultimately die a second death which will result in an eternal damnation in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14). Ricks completed his work day unable to shake the truth revealed to him from the word of God and returned home only to ask the Lord to saved his soul.
God used the leaders of the bible study to guide him to their local assembly where he received training, education and nurturing as any newborn babe in Christ should receive. As He grew spiritually, he grew in wisdom and knowledge and began to challenge the elders in the scriptures, God gave him favor with his Pastor where he began his teaching ministry as a Sunday School class teacher. He led the couple’s class and other teaching assignments. Shortly afterwards he was ordained as a deacon and later as an associate to the pastor. After serving as the assistant to the pastor he received and accepted God’s calling of him into the ministry of pastor during a Missionary Conference message preached by Joseph Wigfall.
Pastor Ricks prepared for the calling by attending Luther Rice Bible College, Washington Bible College and Tabernacle Bible college where his completed studies and was awarded the bachelor’s degree.
He has continued to grow in the wisdom of the word by being a perpetual student of the scriptures. He is still fascinated and excited as God continues to reveal more of himself to Ricks through the written word. He attributes his faith in the Lord to the teachings of the word (Rom 10:17) and as he has been able to withstand the rigorous demands of the ministry.
His heart’s desire is to remain fearful of the Lord and faithful to his calling. He wants people to know the God of the bible is the eternal and self-existing God who loves his creation to point of offering up his only begotten son, Jesus Christ to die on their behalf and absorb God’s full wrath. He wants them to know that if they would only believe as he had to do, God will save them where they are and not experience that second death, but obtain eternal life.
Pastor Ricks, is married to the former Vanessa Hinton, his high school sweetheart. The two have been married for over 45 years and have 3 sons; Leroy, Jr. (Felicia) , Dr. Lamont (Tracy) & Lance Ricks (Ericka). They also have 4 granddaughters and reside in the city of Chesapeake, Va.
The Legacy of Leroy E. Ricks, Sr.
On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, Leroy Edward Ricks, Sr., Founder and former Pastor of New Berean Baptist Church was called to his eternal rest in the Heavenly realm by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For thirty-plus, Leroy Ricks, Sr, faithfully served and took the oversight of the ministry of New Berean Baptist Church. He He lived his calling with his commitment to his wife, Vanessa, his family and the local assembly in which was called to serve by the Lord God. Leroy’s legacy is summed up in his nickname “Serious” from his days as a young Christian at Calvary Evangelical. After the Lord called him into salvation, Leroy took to God’s grace and love for him as a privilege and an honor to be protected, appreciated and cherished. As he grew in that grace, knowing more about his Lord became his motivation and along the way, wanted to share the Lord with everyone who crossed his path especially those of his household and family.
Little did he know, the Lord had plans for him to serve and found the ministry of New Berean. He was prepared by faithfully serving in different ministries at his local church. By faith, he followed the Lord calling and direction to step out in the summer of 1989.