Church Planting, Leadership, Pastors, Preaching, Sermons and Sermon Series Ideas, Uncategorized

Post Easter Sermon Series

Download the Parenthood Mailer.

Our 2011 Post-Easter sermon series is entitled Parenthood: For Parents, Grandparents, and Mentors.

It begins on Mother’s Day and ends on Father’s Day and will feature sermons relevant to anyone who is looked up to in any way, not just parents of small children. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, mentors, and anyone who influences someone else will be included.

Notice how the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day titles honor all men and women regardless of whether they have children or not (some people would love to be parents but cannot).

We will mail this two-sided direct mail piece designed by Outreach to 10,000 homes in Gahanna, mail some specifically to new residents in our area and give some to our members and regulars to give to people they know (word of mouth).

Whenever I hear that direct mail doesn’t work anymore or that it’s not worth the money, I laugh. Direct mail has worked for me in every ministry setting I’ve used it, and Outreach is very reasonable in price. We always have several new families show up after every mailer, and the effect is residual. The more mailers you send throughout the year, the more people come. We send three mailers per year.

We use these mailers in connection with our Big Day Sermon Series Strategy that I implemented at Stonybrook three years ago. Click on the Big Day link to read more. This strategy could be the primary growth engine of your church.

My Sermons, Pastors, Sermon Illustrations, Sermons and Sermon Series Ideas

Roots: A Wesleyan Lent- “Scripture”

The sermon audio is the short version of the sermon (25 minutes). Download extra material not found in the sermon audio in the long version PDF below. The PPT file fits all of the sermon files.

Download the Sermon Audio (Short Version)

Roots: A Wesleyan Lent “Scripture” Rev. Ryan Gear

Download the Sermon PDF (Short Version)

Roots: A Wesleyan Lent “Scripture” Rev. Ryan Gear (Short Version)

Download the Sermon PowerPoint

Roots: A Wesleyan Lent “Scripture” Rev. Ryan Gear

Download Sermon PDF (Long Version)

Roots: A Wesleyan Lent “Scripture” Rev. Ryan Gear (Long Version)


The United Methodist Church affirms biblical infallibility. Biblical infallibility is usually defined as the belief that the Bible is a reliable guide in matters of faith and practice, while biblical inerrancy extends the reliability of the Bible to accurately addressing all matters of history and science.

A commitment to biblical infallibility is a common stance within both mainline and evangelical churches. For example, Billy Graham holds to infallibility but not to inerrancy (

My personal view is to affirm biblical infallibility, because I believe that the clear purpose of the Bible is to serve as a guide in matters of faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17). I do not believe that the purpose of the Bible is to serve as a history or science textbook. Therefore, in my view, biblical inerrancy is simply unnecessary. In fact, I view the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, spelled out very recently in the 1978 Chicago Statement, as an overreaction to the theological liberalism of the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Unfortunately, in attempting to defend the Bible from science and liberalism, those who hold to inerrancy surrender the Bible to a debate in which science is still the reference point. This violates Scripture, as the biblical authors wrote long before the Enlightenment and never intended for their writings to be interpreted in the light of science. As society moves out of the modern period, inerrancy is increasingly becoming a moot point.

Pastors, Sermon Illustrations, Uncategorized

Nazareth = Bucyrus?

I’m speaking on Luke 4v14-30 soon. In Luke 4, Jesus is rejected by his hometown of Nazareth.

I overlayed an Ohio map on top of a map of Palestine, in scale.

If Jerusalem = Columbus, then Nazareth = Bucyrus 🙂

…Oh, and Pickerington is floating on the Dead Sea.

Leadership, Pastors, Sermon Illustrations, Uncategorized

Don’t be George Masoned

It’s not how you start.

It’s how you finish.

Pastors, Preaching, Uncategorized

Japan Relief

I just watched another piece about the horrific tragedy in Japan, this time on 60 Minutes. A young man told about his experience of being trapped in a gymnasium with schoolchildren and being able to save some while watching others get washed away by the surge. The gym floor is still covered with 85 bodies.

I can only think of the Kyrie Eleison, “Lord, have mercy.”

The United Methodist Committee on Relief is already structured to get relief to Japan quickly. If you would like to donate, this link will take you to the donation website:

Donate to Japan Relief

Leadership, Pastors, Preaching, Uncategorized

Sacraments- Communion

This is part two of my posts on the sacraments, Baptism and Communion.

Download A Wesleyan View of Communion


Until I was six years of age, I was part of the local United Methodist Church in which my grandmother served as a layspeaker. Being so young, I do not remember exactly how often the congregation observed the Communion (it was probably quarterly), but it seemed like yearly. I have very few memories of receiving Communion as a child, but those I do have, are associated with a very somber, funeral-like experience. Located in the Appalachian region of southeastern Ohio, the small congregation was influenced by American frontier religion, and they seemed to reverence Communion so much that they hardly ever observed it. Incidentally, I was also not baptized as an infant, because the local congregation practiced only believer’s Baptism… (Download the paper to read more)

Church Planting, Leadership, Pastors, Preaching, Sermon Illustrations, Uncategorized

The Missional St. Patrick

A few months ago, I wrote a paper on the life and ministry of St. Patrick. I find him to be an inspiration and a model of missional church in 21st century America.

It is useful to learn about St. Patrick’s life and ministry for sermon illustrations or as a model for your church’s mission efforts. Patrick is one of the most innovative and perpetually relevant models for church planting and monastic communities.

The bibliography includes a great little book by George Hunter III entitled The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West… Again.

Download my paper St Patrick.


Patrick’s calling came to him through roundabout and potentially devastating circumstances. When Patrick was 16 years of age, Irish marauders invaded his village in Britain, and Patrick was abducted and taken to Ireland to serve as a slave.[1] Separated from his family, he tended sheep alone underneath the stars, surrounded by the Irish countryside for several years. According to Patrick, at this time of his life, he did not know God and was rebellious.[2]

Patrick was born into a family of church leaders around A.D. 389, as his father was a deacon, and his grandfather served as a priest in the Celtic Church in a time that most priests were married.[3] Britain had been a Roman province for over 300 years, and Christianity had been spread to British Isles primarily through Roman soldiers and missions efforts.[4]

The time spent in the Irish countryside deeply affected Patrick. He experienced what he later referred to as God’s revelation of Himself though nature, and Patrick was converted during his enslavement.[5] Amazingly, in his Confession, Patrick regards his captivity as God’s chastening of him and praises God for God’s grace.[6]

[1] Philip Freeman, St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), 18.

[2] Hopkin, Alannah. The Living Legend of St. Patrick. (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1989) 163.

[3] Tucker, Ruth A. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1983) 38.

[4] (Tucker 1983, 38)

[5] (Hopkin 1989, 163)

[6] (Hopkin 1989, 163)

Also see “Introducing the Missional Church Review”.