Pastors Mike and Sue Bryan have been ministering to children for more than 35 years. They have dedicated their lives to teaching children about God. Their love for God and their ability to teach children about that love has truly touched thousands of lives.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Mike Bryan started his young adult life as a graphic artist and electro-mechanical designer for the government. Mike was approached by a co-worker who wanted to share an experience he had. He told Mike he had just come from his truck where a bright light had filled his cab and he heard the voice of God. Through this experience his co-worker came back to God and in turn, led Mike to receive Jesus. Mike then went on to become active in the children’s ministry at his home church. “I’ve always felt called to Children’s Ministry,” says Pastor Mike.
I’ve always felt called to Children’s Ministry Pastor Mike Bryan
Pastor Sue was raised in the Bay Area also. She grew up going to church, along with her six siblings, and received Jesus at the age of nine. “Through my teenage years as a young adult I drifted away from the Lord. It wasn’t until my junior year in college in 1973, at Pepperdine University, that another student told me about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I knew this was what was missing in my life—the power to really live boldly for Jesus. I came back to the Lord and received the infilling of the Holy Spirit. She left the LA area in 1979, moved back to northern California and a few years later went to Rhema Bible College, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, graduating in 1983.
Pastors Mike and Sue were married in 1984 and for their first nearly 5 years of marriage were youth pastors. In 1989, Pastor Mike felt a call to attend Rhema Bible College also. While attending Rhema, Pastor Mike took a position a large children’s ministry as head of their graphics department, also volunteering in the church children’s ministry. It was there that God was preparing them for the type of growth momentum they would experience at The Rock and what it would take to manage a large children’s ministry. Upon leaving that ministry in 1993, they pursued traveling, doing children’s ministry worker training and children’s evangelism, then in 1994 they were asked to join the sta at The Rock Church as Children’s Pastors. This move was monumental for both Pastors Mike and Sue and The Rock Church.They brought all the knowledge and experience they had obtained over the years, being a part of a growing, successful children’s ministry.
When they first came to The Rock there were about 50 children regularly attending. Pastors Mike and Sue immediately began to put systems in place that would insure that children were ministered to in a safe and clean environment. These were needed to maintain the level of excellence that The Rock is known for and to assure parents that their children are more than safe while they are here. Since 1994, The Rock Children’s Ministry has grown to more than 2,500 children in attendance every week, with a licensed preschool/-daycare (KidzRock) and K-12th Christian School (TRCS). “In our classrooms we definitely teach the Word—we don’t compromise with that—we just break it up into bite size pieces,” muses Pastor Sue.
When asked to recount a defining moment in Children’s ministry, one that really sticks out, Pastor Mike said that perhaps the most dynamic time was when they were making the move to the new building the church had built in 2003 and Founding Pastors Jim & Deborah took him and Pastor Sue to lunch. “We began to discuss the needs that would exist by having an extended wing of classrooms—just the logistics of overseeing the services was overwhelming. Pastor Jim began to ask what kind of staff we would need and with each position we mentioned, he agreed and a whole team approach was born. We can’t take credit for all the phenomenal care the children receive at The Rock; God has blessed us with an amazing team of staff, as well as over 400 capable and wonderful volunteers!”
When thinking of why he loves ministering to kids, Pastor Mike said, “Recently I was in Seaside elementary class, when this one kid, a little boy with blonde hair and glasses asked, ‘Will you play Connect Four with me?’ I said ‘yes’,” and when we sat down to play he asked, ‘Do you want to be the yellow or the red?’ I said, ‘I’ll be the red since I’m part Native American.’ The little boy said, ‘Oh really? I’m a half breed too!’ Surprised, I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘My grandma says, I’m half country and half city!’” Pastor Mike laughed, “That’s why I love children’s ministry!”