Leadership, Pastors


Open Minded Church With the help of a growing network of church leaders, I put together a new website at openmindedchurch.org.

Because the church I pastor, One Church, live streams our services and uploads on sermons on Youtube, I frequently receive the same question from various parts of the country, “Do you know of any churches like One Church in my area?

Most of the time I don’t, so I decided to ask some friends to compile a growing database of forward-thinking Christian churches with contemporary worship music around the country.

In a few weeks, we’ve created a directory of 66 churches in 22 states. We know, however, that there are many more out there. For example, Doug Pagitt believes that there are potentially up to 200 contemporary, progressive congregations in the U.S.

Let’s find them and connect them! You can visit the continually expanding directory at openmindedchurch.org. If you know of a contemporary, open-minded church in your area where thinking people are encouraged to wrestle with their questions and doubts, please submit the church.

Thank you.

Church Planting, Leadership, Pastors, Uncategorized

Church Planters and Pastors: Are You Welcoming New Residents?

United Van Lines 2014 Migration

United Van Lines, the moving company, just released it’s 38th annual domestic migration study (how many people move in and out of each state).

The map shows the states where people are moving to and from.

The old church growth theory goes that churches grow fastest in places that are growing fastest. On paper, since some percentage of new residents are looking for a church, if you’re church is there and welcoming, it will grow just because of the influx.

If you’re a church planter or pastor in those blues states, more people are moving to your state than out, so it would be wise to creatively welcome new residents. Some potential ways to do that:

  • Send new residents a welcome packet in the mail.
  • Provide lots of user-friendly entry points into the church, especially for people who are looking for new friends.
  • Provide groups for all ladies and moms.
  • Don’t shut down your church ministries in the summer (that’s when many people move).
  • Create fellowship activities.
  • Offer a sermon series on adjusting to new circumstances (stepping out on faith, seeing opportunities, adjusting to sudden change, making new friends, etc.)

Obviously, churches reach people all over the country by loving people in a way that is relevant to their ministry context. And, of course, new residents move into every state, so there are always new people arriving in your area. Showing hospitality is a biblical value.

Church planters, however, should be aware of growth trends for the simple fact that more churches will be needed in the growing states just to keep up with the growth.


Church Plant Coaching

sb10062615aa-001 Church planting is not for the faint of heart.

It’s tough, and church planters need support. Lone rangers can quickly find themselves giving up.

Don’t let discouragement ruin the dream God placed in your heart to plant a church.

Coaching is available.

My wife and I relocated to Chandler, Arizona to plant One Church three years ago. We were blessed with helpful training opportunities beforehand, but I have also learned lessons the hard way. If you are a church planter, I would happy to provide coaching to you. If you are looking for training, ideas, or just a sounding board, I can help especially in the following areas:

  • Fundraising
  • Preaching
  • Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Community Outreach
  • Progressive Theology
  • Self-care and Family-care
  • Reaching the “spiritual but not religious”

You can contact me at ryan.gear@onechurch.com.

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

What Is Love? (Baby, don’t hurt me…)

This is the first sermon from the series I’m currently teaching at One Church, Love.Sex.Marriage. It’s entitled, “What Is Love?” (Sing it with me: “Baby, don’t hurt me…”)

During the sermon I quote from two great marriage resources, The Zimzum of Love by Rob and Kristen Bell and Love to Stay by Adam Hamilton.

My Sermons, Pastors, Preaching, Sermon Illustrations

Marriage Resources


During the sermon series Love.Sex.Marriage., I’m sharing relationship resources with the One Church congregation.

Two excellent marriage resources are The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage by Rob and Kristen Bell and Love to Stay: Sex, Grace, and Commitment by Adam Hamilton.

Zimzum contains study questions in the back of the book, and Love to Stay has a companion DVD curriculum and study guide.

I think either resources would make a great small group study or would help any couple have a closer, richer marriage.

My Sermons, Preaching, Sermon Illustrations, Sermons and Sermon Series Ideas, Uncategorized


Love Sex Marriage Bling 960

Today, I started a new sermon series at One Church entitled Love.Sex.Marriage.

There are three big “back to church” times of the year- 1) Christmas Eve/January, 2) Easter-Mother’s Day, and 3) August-October (Back to School).

These are natural times of the year for unchurched and dechurched people to visit a church service. To give new people extra incentive to visit during these three times of the year, I schedule a sermon series that appeals to a top-of-mind felt-need.

For this January, I scheduled the series Love.Sex.Marriage. The series will last 7 weeks, longer than usual for the sermon series I create, but the topic is always relevant. One Church has a more holistic approach to sexuality than many of the churches in our area, so hopefully those who hear the sermons will gain a new, refreshing take on sexuality, guilt, dating, making a marriage work, etc.

One Church sermons are available for free download at http://onechurch.com/all-sermons/.