About The Pastor
James Zimbalist Ransom was born on May 1, 1961 in Lakeworth, Florida to James and Moroline Ransom. He is the second of five children. Pastor Ransom accomplished all of his primary education in Palm Beach County, Florida where he grew up. He moved to Ames, Iowa in 1978 after being awarded a football scholarship to Iowa State University where he lettered all four years. He was honored as a pre-season all-American by GamePlan Magazine and chosen team captain during his senior year. Pastor Ransom testifies,
“I was raised in the church; however, I was not born again. While in college, I did not give any attention to God or the things of God. After four years of a successful academic and athletic tenure at the university, I met a young freshman named Tresa Jenkins, who was not impressed by my athletic achievements and not afraid to witness about Jesus Christ. I consider her my first teacher. As a result of pursuing my wife, I started attending church, heard the Gospel, and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. We were married on June 17, 1985. I began going to church for the wrong reasons, but I got the right thing — the Gospel! From that point on, I began to faithfully serve in the church and have not stopped since.”
After graduating from Iowa State University, Pastor Ransom became chairman of the deacon board and Mrs. Ransom served as choir director at the B.C.C. Christian Worship Service, the college ministry they were a part of in Ames, Iowa (now known as the Body of Christ Church). Two years later they moved to Des Moines, Iowa and attended Mrs. Ransom’s home church, Morning Star Baptist Church where the pastor is Rev. Alex Crawford, Jr. It was there that Pastor Ransom answered his call to the ministry and preached his trial discourse on October 2, 1988. He served as the Youth Minister, Sunday School teacher, van driver, janitor, and any other area where there was a need. Mrs. Ransom also served as the Youth Choir Director, Sunday School Teacher and in other areas where needed.
In 1990, Pastor Ransom was asked to come back to the B.C.C. Christian Worship Service to serve as the pastor. Again, his wife was by his side teaching and ministering wherever needed. In 1992, God called Mrs. Ransom to preach the Gospel. Throughout the five years of ministry at the B.C.C., both Pastor and Mrs. Ransom had full time secular occupations. Pastor Ransom worked in the information technology area where he held various positions as a computer programmer, programmer analyst and wide area network specialist. Mrs. Ransom worked as an electrical engineer. Pastor Ransom states,
“Although my wife and I had full time secular occupations, I must say that it was a joy to travel the 90 miles three or more times a week with our two little girls (at the time) to serve the church.”
In 1995 Pastor Ransom was asked to become the Assistant Pastor of Cornerstone Family Church in Des Moines, Iowa, where the pastor is Rev. Dan Berry. This time, it was necessary that he leave his secular occupation and work only for the ministry.
“Although the church could not pay me close to what I was earning secularly, neither my wife nor I allowed this to be an issue because, first of all, God had spoken to me before I was asked to go to Cornerstone that this was His plan for me. Secondly, although things were slightly tight, we were financially able to do this because we always had lived below our means. Again, we believed that where God guides, He provides.”
At Cornerstone, Pastor Ransom ministered nationally and internationally. After serving there for eight years, Pastor Ransom was asked to become a part of From the Heart Church Ministries. Pastor Ransom describes the challenge of leaving his home.
“I had to leave my wife, four children, and mother-in-law in Iowa for about six months while I was going through pastoral training at the Parent Church in Temple Hills, Maryland. I am a family man, and to me, being a family man means that I am a responsible man, I am a present man, and I am the protective man. I am security and law-enforcement. I was able to take comfort because again, God had spoken to me about this assignment even before I was asked to come. I had to remember that where God guides, He provides. God provides not only for me but also for those I am responsible for.
We also faced another challenge. In order to fulfill the call on my life, my wife left her successful career as an electrical engineer and my children and mother-in-law left our family and friends in order to relocate to Richmond, Virginia. We are striving daily to move from the fulfilled into the fullness of God. Our heart is to see the church reformed. If God could give up His Son for us, and Jesus laid down His life to ransom us, it is no big thing that we lose our lives for Him. I am privileged to pastor From the Heart Church Ministries of Richmond — a beautiful body of believers precious in my heart.”
Family is very important to Pastor Ransom. Pastor and Mrs. Ransom have four children, Traya, Trakaya, Trinity, and Samuel. He plays a very active role in his children’s lives. Mrs. Ransom’s mother, Ms. Tiny Jenkins, also lives with them and is a very integral part of their family. He is truly a “family man.”