The Unsermon Podcast

Weekly, Pastors TJ and Ryan Lucas upload their Sunday Sermons and Unsermons. You can play these messages directly from your browser window or by downloading the Podbean app. 

Sunday Sermons

These episodes are recorded live from the pulpit on Sunday morning. They are typically uploaded in the afternoon after the service. 

Un-sermons

The unsermon episodes are really the heart of what we want to offer on our podcast channel but we are still in a beta-testing kind of phase with it. Our hope is that the podcast conversations between us (and sometimes guests), will be centered around our faith and how we live it out or interpret current events through it. It is a message for those who want to hear a word from God outside of the traditional Sunday Sermon. 

The Unsermon Podcast

Pastor Ryan's Welcome Letter

Hi! I’m Ryan. I enjoy everything outdoors and I love to help people. I have been in school since I was 5 and have collected degrees and certifications in small business management, theology, ministry, firefighting, and emergency medical services. My wife and I have two amazing daughters and we are glad to be a part of your churches.

 

Throughout my discernment as an adult I have seen the above credentials as calls to ministry. It is not by happenstance that I journeyed through seminary and survived to tell about it and it is not by coincidence that I have been better connected to the community by my time in emergency services. God’s plan for me is one that I would not have chosen to follow if it were not for the Holy Spirit’s calling. 

 

So, what do I envision as to what my ministry will look like here in Ebensburg? I have a couple ideas where God is calling us. First of all, I’m not the answer to fix this broken world. I would love to think that I have some tools and ideas to work towards a more just and peaceful world but it’s in God’s hands and I just have to do whatever small part God has called me to do. Secondly, ministry is hard. If everyone could be happy and things always went the way we wanted them to then there would be no point in needing Jesus. I will try my hardest to do the best I can in any given situation but I’m a work in progress, much like you all.

 

On to the real ideas:

  • Mission used to mean - take things, “help” people, and indoctrinate others to believe what I believe. This is a broken understanding of God’s call for us to love our neighbors. We have seen the ramifications of the work of conquerors, settlers, and even “missionaries” and people have been harmed and the Gospel has been misused. Mission simply means loving your neighbor in community (spaces of belonging). Through that love we share our faith, walk with others regardless of where they are on life’s journey, and constantly listen for God’s still speaking voice.

  • I would love to cultivate space for the growth and spiritual nourishment of our youth. In the 21st century, we have to be creative in our approach to youth ministry and not just expect children and teens to seek out a place of worship. Church needs to be a place where kids can wrestle with hard questions, grow to see who God has called them to be, and be in a place where they are loved and supported.

  • As a worship leader, I want to inspire you to go into the world and live out the Gospel. I want to challenge you and I want you to grow. I also want you to know that you are loved for who you are and I want you and your family to feel welcomed and uplifted. We should always remember that worship is not for us but it is for our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.

  • Lastly, I’m not what some would call a “maintenance minister”. I’m not interested in checking all the boxes and making sure that I do a list before the end of the week and call it good. I am more interested in building community, helping people grow in their faith, and showing others that God is active, calling us to actually respond to Jesus’ commands. We cannot maintain a system of inward focus and neglect the fact that there is an entire world that needs us to take on the yoke of the Gospel for the sake of our neighbors. 

 

My office hours are for you. They aren’t for me to work on my sermon or to put motivational quotes on our facebook page, that time is for you.  With that being said, I will, at times, not be available when I’m typically in the office. Meetings, my children, weather, and the occasional fire call will force me away from the office but my focus and dedication is on the congregation. I know some folks are concerned that my other obligations may distract me from my job as a pastor but I assure you that this is not the case. Also, if you need to talk, vent, or just need someone to listen, I can be reached anytime via my cell phone.

 

Last thing: 

I’m not perfect. It is only a matter of time before someone questions a decision or a statement I made and that is fine. We all have room to grow and I am happy to receive thoughtful ideas on how my thinking is not faithful and what may be good reasons for change. Conversations are always welcomed.

 

So where do you see us going as a collective body of believers? Is there a place in the community in which God is pointing you to create spaces of belonging? Is there something that you feel called to do in the community like being a firefighter? :-D

 

Peace and grace,

~ Pastor Ryan

ABOUT US

The First United Church of Christ, a welcoming and diverse UCC congregation located in Ebensburg, PA, offers worship services, events, children’s programming, prayer hours, announcements and many other religious services. We invite everyone to participate. Visit our sister church in Portage, PA. 

ADDRESS

(814) 472-7156

217 E High St

Ebensburg, PA 15931

 

firstuccebensburg@gmail.com

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