For time to time, I will take random questions from across the presbytery! This will be an experiment that we hope will be a monthly offering. As I lead best by asking questions, I appreciate the questions you have asked and are asking!
“Were you able to find a home nearby?”
Even in this competitive housing market, Danielle and I were able to find a good home in January we could purchase in the Saint Louis area and are happy to make Hazelwood in north Saint Louis County our home. I sympathize with the many pastors around the country who during the pandemic have not been able to secure a home in even the state or region of the people they serve, so I am grateful to share some measure of proximity with you!
“Sweets or salts? What is your preferred snack or dessert item?”
Ooooo, this is a both/and for me. Sometimes desert is soft-baked dark chocolate cookies and banana pudding. Other times it’s butter popcorn and chips. (Since my spouse is a personal trainer, she often screens my food to help me with moderation while also giving me permission for food-joy). For those churches who make both sweet things AND salty things available for your fellowship hour (when it’s safe to have), I feel seen. To those churches, I see you too and love you back.
“Are you visiting congregations?”
Yes! It is my joy to bring greetings on behalf of the presbytery and one of my favorite things is sharing the gift of preaching the Word when I can. My personal practice is to join your pastor side by side in worship because that helps me learn most about you and helps us make the greatest impact of our time together. If you know your congregation is celebrating something in your ministry, please let me know so I can celebrate with you! I really value these occasions to get on our shared calendar together because it helps me get to know you more. Please know I usually need to schedule about two-four months out, but I can be flexible if the schedule allows it!
“Why do you, um…talk so quickly?”
It’s a New Jersey/New York thing. I’m working on slowing down. 🙂
“Are you a Saint Louis Cardinals fan, or are you a Saint Louis Cardinals fan?”
It is in my bones that I will always be a Philadelphia Phillies fan. HOWEVER, when I was a child, my father encouraged me to write letters to baseball players around the MLB that caught my eye. Only one responded. It was from the Saint Louis Cardinals organization that said, “I’m so sorry Ryan, but Ozzie Smith is at practice right now, so he can’t respond to your letter. Here are some baseball cards he wanted you to have.” I have never forgotten that response, and the Cardinals have had a small place in my heart ever since.
“Are you going to change everything?”
I appreciate how the arrival of a new presbytery leader can bring some questions about change! I have arrived with the understanding that you have done a LOT of work to get to where you are. There are occasions when a system in crisis or major transition would need to be more proactive about hitting the reset button, but I hear you are seeking to capitalize on the positive momentum you have earned in the years leading up to the pandemic and are seeking stability, focus, and direction. There will always be things to change and tweak along the way, but at this particular time, the biggest changes would be the ones you have already committed to and have been in motion before my time and just need a little guidance to see them through to completion. Most of the work I am finding I am doing now is relationship-building, smoothing out communication channels, strengthening processes, and empowering our ministry committees as you continue to adjust to the new organizational structure you adopted at the beginning of 2021.
What is the best way to contact you?
I can be most quickly reached by my cell at 314-409-9002, or by email email@example.com. I do text on that number too!
Looking forward to being in touch with you again soon!