About DTS

Art Ringger

Art RinggerWhat do you get when you cross a veterinarian and a minister? Answer: DTS alumnus Art Ringger. Having worked as a vet for 17 years, Art changed careers in 1988 and came to Dallas Seminary for a Master's in Christian Education.

"It actually wasn't as big a leap as you might think," Art said. "As a vet, I dealt with life-and-death issues and with the emotional struggles of people who had attachments to their animals because of painful personal relationships. In ministry, you deal with many of the same issues—it's just a different context."

Art had become a believer in college and quickly involved himself at a local church. Soon he was teaching middle school and high school students, and he began to realize that he was drawn more to the ministry he was doing on the side than to the work he did during the day.

"My vet practice soon became sort of a tent-making venture," he said. "It was how I made my money so I could support the ministry I was doing."

But he says he has never regretted the time he spent in the veterinary practice. Through his years in ministry, he has been able to draw on his business experience as a resource for his current ministry. He said that he also identifies more easily with the congregation because he understands what it's like to work outside the church.

"People ask me if it was a waste—I don't think so at all. It was all part of God's plan to prepare me for this next step. I still use a lot of illustrations from my life as a vet."

After finishing his M.A./CE at Dallas Seminary, Art went to work at Castleview Baptist Church in Indiana under senior pastor Don Geiger (Th.M. '55). He started out in charge of children's and adult ministry, until the church and the children's ministry grew so large that they needed a separate children's director. The church also began a large outreach through a recreational ministry and soon a full-time recreational director was added to the staff.

"Being over 40, I was not your typical children's pastor. I'm gifted in administration more than in the hands-on, in-class training."

So in 1998, when Art heard that Southside Fellowship in Greenville, South Carolina was looking for an executive pastor, he knew that the position would match his skill set and passions. In that role, he currently oversees the day-to-day operations of the church, and the large, on-premises Christian school.

Southside Christian School has 1270 students and is well known in the community. Because of the school, the church has many family connections in the area and is able to reach the town of Greenville with many family-oriented ministries and classes, such as Growing Kids God's Way.

Art has also spent time overseas teaching pastors in Hungary about Christian education at Word of Life Bible Institute. When he was still at Dallas Seminary, God had planted in his heart a desire to use his skills to help smaller churches that couldn't afford a full-time Christian education director, and also to help churches overseas. It was at a DTS missions chapel that he discovered this opportunity, and he faithfully returns every two years.