Outreach—a way of life and who we are

Ryan and Seané Rice’s lives revolve around relationships with people. “Living in New Orleans as a church planter is all about building relationships with people. In fact, this is what our city is all about,” says Ryan. Though Ryan grew up loving VBS and Sunday School as a kid, when he got older, he stopped going and, even disliked the idea of church. He started to go his own way and, in his words, became his “own sort of god.” When he met his wife in college, Ryan began to slowly take the truth of the gospel seriously. Seané would invite him to church and, of course, he tagged along.

“Her dad actually did something we all should do with people we care about, he shared the gospel with me. He would ask me questions that started me to think about my life. I started to remember some of those stories I heard as a kid,” Ryan shares. He began to remember his favorite thing as a kid—hearing the stories in the Bible, especially those about Jesus. A year after Seané’s dad shared the gospel with him, Ryan’s heart and eyes were opened to the truth. “As a sophomore in college I placed my trust in the Savior and never looked back. I believe God used those seeds of the gospel planted in my heart years ago to bring forth the fruit of salvation in my life”, says Ryan.

Years later, Ryan began to seek God in prayer regarding His direction for their family. It took 4 years for Ryan to accept that God was calling them to become missionaries in the city where he grew up. Ryan shares that he and his wife make outreach a way of life. It is not just something they do, it is who they are. “The greatest joy is reaching, loving and pointing people to Jesus”, says Ryan. Each day is unique for the Rice family. Life for Ryan, Seané, their 2 sons, and 2 daughters, includes family time, school time, work time, and relationship time. “If not every day, we try and make sure we center our family time around the mission that God has placed us on—reaching people—and we include our kids in this, as well,” says Ryan.

A great pastor shared 3 things with Ryan when they first started their ministry in New Orleans: “Be faithful to the Lord. Be faithful to your wife/family, and be faithful to the people who God called you to reach.” Through that experience, Ryan believes that being loyal to people, and the vision God called you to, will always lead to a great blessing.

The Rices recognize that since their church is small, they cannot serve every need, but they can still serve, love, and reach people. “New Orleans is a unique place to minister. Only 11.1% of people are affiliated with an evangelical church. Just to put that into perspective, that is out of a population of 1 million people in the greater New Orleans area.” Their heart has been to continue to be a diverse, multiethnic community of believers, which is unique for a church in their community. For that reason, they have to be intentional with their leadership, music, and outreach efforts to reach every person in the community. “The gospel of Jesus Christ should be shown in our words—by preaching the gospel, our hearts—by loving people with the gospel, and our hands—by serving people with the gospel,” shares Ryan.

Ryan says, as disciples, we are the “hands and feet of Christ on our jobs, homes, and in the world.” Connect Church Algiers vision is to preach a message of hope, healing and restoration. “There have been times where the best thing we could do was simply listen, pray, and help them walk through healing,” says Ryan. One verse he loves sharing is John 16:33, which states, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (ESV1).

Please join us in praying for the Rice family, as they continue to support, love, and grow in their love and service for Jesus. Pray that, as missionaries, they will fulfill the ministry God has given them. Pray that they could continue to reach families in their community, and that leaders would rise up to serve. Pray that members would have a heart for evangelism and, therefore, share the gospel with friends and neighbors. Let us all be reminded of Romans 12:1–2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV2) What is God’s will for you? May we continue to love with our words, heart and hands.

By Tessa Harvill, Preschool Resource Intern


1Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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