Andrew Ruth, Pastor
Andrew Ruth gets to be a husband to Claire, a dad to Jack, and a Pastor to Oakland. He is a product of “God’s Plan A” for salvation. His parents took him to church regularly and taught him the great truths of the Bible. By Middle School, he believed these facts but did so the way he believe the multiplication tables. What actually governed his behaviors was an insatiable need for the approval of authority figures and attractive women, which led him to perfectionism and womanizing. Then on a mountain top in Tennessee on a church retreat, Andrew met Jesus in some mystical way, and everything began to change. Christianity was no longer about the minimum standards for being a Christian or minimum entrance requirements for Heaven. Christianity became the adventure of following Jesus one day at a time motivated by an insatiable spiritual hunger for the abundant life Jesus promises. God fed him through his parents, Highland Presbyterian Church, and the ARISE Retreat during this time.
At Davidson College, Andrew fell in love with YOUNG LIFE, a Christian ministry for non-Christian kids. Young Life taught Andrew about God’s heart for the lost and gave him the practical tools to study the Bible, teach the Bible, preach, mentor, and lead worship. Young Life also gave him his crazy, awesome wife, Claire.
While selling cars in Atlanta, God called Andrew to seminary and fulltime church work through the words of two Jewish bosses. After finishing an M.Div. at Duke Divinity School, Andrew and Claire followed Jesus to Zambia (in Africa), where Andrew was apprenticed to African pastors. Andrew and Claire learned from some of the most rapidly multiplying disciple making movements during their 15 months abroad in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Nepal, and India.
Back stateside, Andrew and Claire took a calling at Oakland Presbyterian Church after recognizing the spiritual hunger of the congregation and the exploding population of unchurched people in the surrounding community.
Sarah Leonard, Youth and Family Ministry Director
Sarah and her husband, Edward, have lived in Johnston County since 2007. They began
attending Oakland in 2010 shortly after learning they would be expecting their first child since they both wanted to raise their family in the church. Little did they know that God intended to grow them up in the church as well, as Sarah and Edward both quickly became involved members of Oakland and felt the flame for serving and discipleship grow in them. In 2016, Sarah joined the Oakland Staff as the Office Administrator and Children’s Ministry Coordinator.
She served and grew tremendously in that role over the 4 years she held it, and now is looking
forward to taking on new challenges in an expanded full-time ministry role as Oakland’s
Children’s and Youth Ministry Director. Sarah and Edward enjoy finding new ways to follow the Lord together with their two little rascals, Liam and Sam. They also love finding time to enjoy the outdoors, taking trips all over but especially to amusement parks to ride rollercoasters, and playing games together whether it be a board game or video games.
I am so excited to see all that God has planned for me and Oakland as I step into my new role
as the Children’s and Youth Ministries Director. God has been shaping and growing me for this
position over the last 4 years while I served as Oakland’s Office Administrator and Children’s
Ministry coordinator, and through my years of service with Bible Study Fellowship. I love serving people, showing the love of God through my actions, and getting to share Bible stories and lessons with the kids of all ages at Oakland. I believe that our relationship with Jesus is a model for our relationships with others, and I love having opportunities to grow those relationships and make connections at all our family events from Sunday school classes, to Vacation Bible School, to family night out activities. It is in our everyday moments that we grow closer to each other and closer to God as we learn to see God in everything.
Kate Swift, Office Administrator
Kate was raised in North Raleigh, graduated from Sanderson High School, and then went on the graduate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is married to her husband Ben and they have twins Autumn and Logan. Kate and her family have been attending Oakland since 2016 and officially joined in the summer of 2017.
I feel blessed to not only be a member of Oakland but also on the staff team as well. I get to be one of the faces and voices doing God’s work here at Oakland. One of my passions in life is helping people, serving people, and communicating with others and this job allows me to do all three and for the glory of God.