Central Christian Church’s new pastor Ryan Gallegos, (back left) and his family — wife Mary, and their children, Chloe, 9, and Jireh, 7 — come to Carroll from The Blended Church in Indianapolis, Ind., where Ryan was a pastor. Gallegos will begin preaching at Central Christian Church in Carroll this Sunday.
Central Christian Church’s new pastor Ryan Gallegos, (back left) and his family — wife Mary, and their children, Chloe, 9, and Jireh, 7 — come to Carroll from The Blended Church in Indianapolis, Ind., where Ryan was a pastor. Gallegos will begin preaching at Central Christian Church in Carroll this Sunday.
Thursday, January 5, 2012

Most members at Central Christian Church in Carroll heard through the grapevine that Ryan Gallegos would begin as their new lead pastor this Sunday.

But for anyone who had not, Gallegos made the announcement official via a video on the church’s webpage after his Dec. 11 visit to Central Christian Church, where he preached for the congregation and met with the church elders.

“After lunch on Sunday, I had a meeting with the elders and the rest of the leadership team, and during that meeting I was offered the position to come on board and be the lead pastor here at Central (Christian Church),” Gallegos said in his address to the congregation. “After much prayer … and a very long drive back to Indiana talking as a family, I’ve accepted the call to be your pastor.”

The position with Central Christian Church is a change Gallegos and his whole family, including wife, Mary, and the couple’s two children, Chloe, 9, and Jireh, 7, were eager to make.

“Mary and I are so excited about the opportunities that lie ahead,” he said. “We are so looking forward to the awesome things that God is going to do through Central (Christian Church). When we were out there we really felt the presence of God there in that church, and we know God has big, mighty things to happen.”

The Gallegos family made the move from their native Indiana to Carroll this week.

“This is a big transition,” he told the Daily Times Herald via phone on Tuesday, as his family finished boxing up belongings in their Indiana home. “I decided about six or seven months ago that I wanted to seek a senior-pastor position at a church, and when we went out to Carroll my family and I fell in love with Central Christian Church.”

The hunt for a new pastor began last May with the resignation of Ben Kolars, said Jon Sampson, one of the church’s elders.

“We received over 200 responses to our search and chose Pastor Ryan from our top four candidates,” Sampson said. “Pastor Ryan comes from The Blended Church in Indianapolis, a large multi-cultural church. He has ‘an addiction to changed lives’ and is very passionate about his calling. He will challenge people to grow in their faith and encourage them to share it as well.

“He is a powerful preacher who teaches the Bible with contemporary-life illustrations and videos, and he considers himself an ‘outside the box’ pastor who will do anything short of sin to reach people for Christ.”

Gallegos is a graduate of the Masters Theological Seminary in California and Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis, Ind.

He served six years as associate pastor at The Blended Church in Indianapolis, and also has experience as an assistant pastor at Countryside Christian Church in Brownsburg, Ind., as an intern pastor at Hope Community Church in Brownsburg, and as co-pastor at Reformed Baptist Church in Indianapolis.

But a life of ministry didn’t always appear to be in the cards for Gallegos.

“I wasn’t always a good kid,” he said. “When I was younger, I got caught up in college life and got into drugs and alcohol. One day someone told me about Jesus, and I started to realize just how out-of-control my life was becoming, and I’ve never done drugs or alcohol again.”

The experience, Gallegos said, made him want to help others turn to ministry and give up the business he was running.

“Jesus can change people’s lives,” he said. “I know that because it is what happened to me, and I know that can be the same for others. I’ve become addicted to seeing God change people’s lives, and it helped me to feel the calling to ministry. My family has been a great part of the process, which I would not change for anything. It’s incredible to be a pastor and see how God can change people’s lives.”

Gallegos will start helping people realize God’s power this Sunday when he begins his service at Central Christian Church with a series to give church members a “fresh take on syncing up with a fresh vision from God that can radically change your perspective on how you live your life.”

As pastor, Gallegos hopes to make Central Christian Church a more central part of the community.

“They already have a great foundation, but now they just need the direction to achieve in reaching into community and serving people even more,” he said. “I want service and outreach to be a part of the church, and I want to help people connect with God and make it a focus of what they do here. Church should be place people can find refuge from the things in their lives that are broken. Church is supposed to be a place of healing, and that’s what I want Central Christian Church to be. I want Central to be a church that if it wasn’t there, everybody would know and be heartbroken. I know they do great things, and I want people to know where we are.”