Alumni Council Spotlight: Rev. Rick LaDue
How did you come to know the Lord?
I was a church kid who grew up in an urban United Methodist Church in Rochester, New York collecting perfect attendance pins in Sunday school and enjoying my fair share of potluck dinners. It wasn’t until I was 15 years old that I first understood it was possible to have a relationship with Jesus. I was on the way home from a Young Life camp in the Adirondack Mountains when I quietly prayed and accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. It hasn’t always been easy, but my life has been better because of my relationship with Him.
How were you called to ministry?
I was on a college study trip to Haiti, which was, and still is, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. While there, the students decided to change the trip from a study trip to a mission trip – we simply couldn’t witness the poverty and not do something to help. As I was processing that experience the last night of the trip, I “heard” God say to me, “Since you’ve come face-to-face with economic poverty and felt compelled to help, when you return home to spiritual poverty, you must do the same.” I interpreted this as a call to vocational ministry.
How did you decide to come to Asbury?
I looked around my United Methodist conference for the pastors that I respected of healthy, growing churches and asked them where they went to seminary. All but one of them was an Asbury alum and that one told me that he had wanted to move to Wilmore, but he couldn’t afford to attend out of state. That’s all it took. Asbury was my only choice.
What were some of the best parts of your time at Asbury?
I made some life-long friends, had some great classes and loved chapel, but I have to say the best part was my off-campus involvement with the Ichthus festival. Because of my connection during my student years, I was later asked to return to Wilmore as the Festival Director of Ichthus. Those were some of the best years of ministry of my life and I never would have had that opportunity if I hadn’t first volunteered as a seminary student.
What has your ministry been like after (or even before) your time at Asbury?
Rev. Jim Buskirk hired me out of seminary as his youth pastor and provided me with invaluable experience as a member of his pastoral staff in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have used the lessons I learned from him in my pastoral appointments in New York State where our flocks tend to be a little smaller, but more relational. I am currently appointed to a suburban church east of Rochester, NY since 2015. Prior to this appointment, I served 10 years in Jamestown, NY.
How has staying connected with Asbury assisted you in ministry?
For the last ten years, I’ve been booking speakers for an annual summer Bible conference in our conference. I’ve relied extensively on my connections at Asbury for speakers or for help in pointing me to excellent speakers. It has been such a blessing for me to be able to share “my” professors with campers who might never get to seminary. I am also eternally grateful for the evangelical foundation that Asbury provided that empowers me to preach Biblical sermons, teach orthodox theology and share the gospel boldly.
Personal: Tell us anything you would like to share about your family, hobbies, etc.
I am single and I love to travel. I’ve been to all 50 states, 12 countries and five continents. I still play tennis. I am a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Marvel movies.