About

Hey, I’m Ryan! I have the honor of being lead pastor at First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio. Originally from Kentucky, I have been in ministry for over a decade with stops in Indiana and Colorado. I’m passionate about communicating God’s love for ALL PEOPLE through speaking and writing. I also speak regularly at events around the country and write for different outlets as well as this blog. I love traveling, 90’s music, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and University of Kentucky basketball. My wife, Jenn, and I have three children, Story, Journey, and Asher.

Jesus for All People?

jesusforallpeopleIf you follow me on any avenue of social media, no doubt you’ve seen the hashtag #JesusForAllPeople      
Odds are, if you’re Facebook friends with someone who attends to my church, you’ve seen them use the hashtag as well. As a church, we’ve printed the phrase on bumper stickers, t-shirts, signage in our building, and at one point First Christian collectively signed their names to the statement, promising to be a place that truly does love ALL PEOPLE, unconditionally, without judgment.

 

When folks ask what kind of church I pastor, I always start with the phrase “Jesus for all people.” Honestly, I can’t think of a better place to begin. But you might be wondering “What does that even mean?” Well, it’s pretty simple.

 

We love all people.

 

No, really.

 

If you were to ask a non-believer what word first comes to mind when they hear the phrase “Christian,” you will probably hear terms like “judgmental” “bigot” “homophobe” or “hypocrite” thrown around. Sadly, this is partly our own doing. For a season (and often still) Christians were known much more for what we stood against than for what we stood for. We boycotted Disney and got up in arms over people spelling Christmas with an “X.” None of that makes people think of love, hope, or goodness when it comes to Jesus.

 

At First Christian, we’re tired of that. We’re tired of being known for the wrong things, and want simply to be as much like Jesus as possible… Jesus was for ALL people.

 

Jesus welcomed the non-religious, the marginalized, the promiscuous, the broken, those beat up by religion, and, well, I think you get the point. Bottom line, if Jesus loves all people, we do too.

 

In Luke 2 (the story of Jesus’ birth) an angel declares to a group of shepherds standing in a field “I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people.” Notice: it’s good news for all people… not just church people, saved people, or folks that seem to have it together.

 

It’s not just for those who grew up a certain way, have a certain status, or demand some amount of respect. Jesus is for everyone.

 

It’s not my job to determine who’s good enough or respected enough or spiritual enough. It’s not yours either.

 

So, at FCC we strive to love everyone… black or white, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, abled or disabled, gay or straight, republican or democrat, religious or atheist.

 

We stand for truth but lean on grace. We open our doors to everyone and pray Jesus might take hold.