Pastor Rick Van Wagner
Rick Van Wagner is the founder and senior Pastor of Family Christian Center in Clermont, Florida. Being involved in volunteer ministry positions since 1980, Rick began his work in full time ministry in 1991. In October of 1993 Rick became the founder and Senior Pastor of this ministry which started with a handful of friends and family as a Bible study in his parent’s home.
Since it began in 1993, FCC has seen tremendous growth and is well known for passionate community outreach to kids and families in transition. Rick’s compelling vision and deep desire to share the hope and love of Jesus has lead Family Christian Center through many notable accomplishments.
In November of 2010 Rick became involved as an elected government official to the Clermont City Council where he is serving his second term and has run unopposed.
Pastor Rick and his wife Beckee live in Clermont, Florida along with their three children Abbey, Gabby and Ricky.
Family Christian Center Milestones
This list highlights only some of the great things happening at FCC and is not by any means all inclusive.
October 15, 1993 – Incorporated as a church
February 1999 – Purchased 34 acres of prime real estate on Hwy 27 with no money down
September 29, 2002 – First service in our new sanctuary with 150 people (now the Gr8 Kidz room)
October 2002 – Added 1 additional church service and 3 more in the next 12 months to accommodate growth
April 2003 – 1st Annual Saturday Easter Egg Hunt that’s grown to over 80K eggs and 10K people in attendance
August 2004 – Founded Family Christian Center Preschool for infants to age 4
May 2005 – Added a new modular buildings to accommodate over 1400 people in 11 services
Oct 2006 – Built Paradise Park Community Park and pavilion in partnership with the Brittney Black Foundation
Jan 2009 – Expansion to add 12 school classrooms including rooms for Florida State funded VPK4 program
August 2010 – Became the largest VPK4 (Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten State Funded program) in Lake County
August 2010 – Founded Family Christian Center School for ages K5 – 3rd grade
September 2010 – Opened a food pantry that now provides over 70K lbs of food annually to families in transition
August 2011 – Family Christian Center School added grades 4th – 11th grade and added 8 new modular classrooms
June 2011 – Opened SKY ZONE indoor trampoline park (franchise) on campus, open to the community
September 18, 2011 – First service in the new 1,410 seat sanctuary.
March 2011 – Started “Snacks in a Sack” program providing food for over 1100 Lake County kids each week
August 2012 – Family Christian Center School added 12th grade
March 2014 – Entered permitting phase to add 4 additional school classroom
Q & A with Pastor Rick
Question: What would people be surprised to know about you?
Rick: I think people would probably be surprised to know that I am VERY competitive and I love playing sports. In high school I played both baseball and basketball and I was actually ranked in the top 5 best hitting averages for the entire State of Florida. Also, I think I’m very funny and I laugh at my own jokes.
Question: What is your favorite part about being the pastor at FCC?
Rick: My favorite part about being the pastor at FCC is probably getting the free Sky Zone passes. Not really. I love the opportunity to just share God’s Word and Hope with people who are looking for something more in their lives. There is nothing more wonderful than watching someone’s life change right before your eyes. And I have made some really wonderful friendships over the years.
Question: When did you first know that Jesus is real?
Rick: When I was 5 years old there was a bus that would drive into our neighborhood and pick up kids and take them to church. My parents agreed to let my sister and me ride the bus and go to church. I will never forget watching hand puppets tell me about the love of Jesus and how He died on the Cross for me and that my sins could be forgiven. I just knew that I wanted Jesus in my life so I raised my hand one day in Winter Park, Florida and my life has never been the same.
Question: How had being involved in local city government impacted your life?
Rick: Being in this position has really challenged me and I’m glad to say that in the middle of it all I have held true to my convictions. It’s made me stronger as a person and I have felt tremendous amounts of kindness from the citizens of the community. I also love the thought of government actually representing THE PEOPLE and really strive to be a good listener to all of the people of this community. I have also made some really great friends.
Question: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not doing church stuff?
Rick: I like to hang out with my family and watch a good movie or TV show.
Question: Ok…so what are your favorite movies and TV shows?
Rick: I really enjoyed Star Wars, Rocky, Father of the Bride (One and Two). I also really liked the Lord of The Rings series. As far as TV shows, I enjoy Survivor, Shark Tank, Love it or List it (yes, that is on HGTV) and Marvel Agents of Shield (which my wife refuses to watch).