Rancho Santa Margarita, Ladera Ranch, Rancho Mission Viejo
South of Los Angeles, Orange County is home to over 3 million people, making it the third most populous county in California, and more populous than twenty-one US states. The county is famous for its beaches, tourist destinations, and political conservatism.
Bryce is a visionary, proactive leader with a pastor’s heart. He thrives in discovering creative ways to reach unbelievers with the gospel and helping believers grow in their faith and use their gifts to love their neighbors.
For the last five years, Bryce has been the RUF Campus Minister at the University of Utah. He started the ministry in 2009, since which time it has grown and seen many students put their faith in Jesus. At RUF Bryce has preached weekly, discipled students, lead a staff, planned and strategized and fundraised for the RUF budget. Before coming to RUF, Bryce served as a church planting apprentice at Harbor Presbyterian Church and as Assistant Pastor at Christ Church of Pasadena.
Bryce met his wife Ashley when they were both in high school. They both grew up in Orange County, graduated from Westmont College and, after marrying in 2002, moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, where they both completed graduate studies. Bryce studied at the Free Church College and graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2006, and Ashley completed a Masters (2004) and Ph.D. (2013) in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh. Together they have 4 children: Ezra, Porter, Camden and little Harriet.
Bryce and Ashley are partners in ministry, and are looking forward to returning to Orange County and embarking on a new adventure together.
Jason is a gifted musician with a desire to serve people. A graduate of Moody Bible Institute, he has assisted and lead music in church and ministry contexts since high school, as well as played in a few bands. After years of working in the investment banking industry, Jason is excited about transitioning into fulltime vocational ministry.
Jason and his wife, Karla, have 2 children: Jack and Charlotte. They have long desired to move to southern California and are excited that God is calling them to be a part of this new church plant.
We believe that God loves Orange County, wants to see it flourish, and will make this happen through vibrant, gospel-centered local churches.
The vision for this new church can be summarized in three words:
The heart of our message is the gospel—the good news that God is reconciling all things to himself through Jesus. We believe that the gospel changes everything—the way we relate to God, other people, ourselves and the world around us. We also believe that the gospel is the only foundation for true, lasting change of any kind. This church is a place where sinners will hear good news. We will place great emphasis on personal conversion, experiential grace renewal, evangelism and outreach. Our gospel emphasis reflects our belief that the foundation of Christianity is God drawing us to himself.
In an area of the country where people often think they have arrived and are dependent on no one, we believe that God desires to call together a new community of people to himself; a community characterized not by self-sufficiency but by humility. Because the gospel enables us to stand before God unashamed, we are free to take off our masks and be honest about who we really are. We desire to be a church of people not defined by appearance or image, motivated not by shame, but by grace. We will therefore place great emphasis on deep community, small groups, radical giving and the sharing of resources, spiritual disciplines, and caring for one another and our neighbors in tangible ways.
The church exists as a foretaste of the coming Kingdom of God, and we desire to be a church that incarnates this future feast in the unique cultural context of South Orange County. We want to both embrace the good in the culture and challenge the bad. We will pursue beauty, depth and excellence in all our worship, including music. We will emphasize a pastoral equipping of individuals to carry out the work of ministry in their homes, workplaces and neighborhoods. We will gather around gospel-centered, thoughtful preaching. Our church life will be sensitive to families, and our worship will involve liturgy that is beautiful, earthy, and accessible. We want to encourage the arts and creativity in our daily lives and professions.
- Finalize oversight details
- Begin fundraising
- Continue fundraising.
Goal: 100% of budget comitted by May 2015
- Transfer Bryce’s credentials into South Coast Presbytery
- Prepare transition away from RUF
- Hales’ and Reeds move to Orange County
- Resurrect network of high school friends
- VBS targeting RSM, Ladera Ranch & RMV
- Start launch team & 3 small groups
- Goal: talk to 1,000 individuals pre-launch
- Continue meeting with launch team
- Continue gathering and networking
- Hold several “vision meetings” and parties
- Develop launch indicators
- Locate worship facility
- Teams & logistics
- Welcome & Followup
- Leadership development
- Small groups
- Monthly preview
- Launch weekly worship service
Planting a new church will be an incredibly difficult task, and we hope to enlist the help and support of many people in different ways. We will need input and advice from experienced church planters; we will need an outflowing of prayer from friends and family; we will need relational support and ecclesiastical oversight, and we will need financial support from friends, family and like-minded churches. We envision at least 4 categories of formal support:
Church Planting Coach
Doug Swagerty is an experienced church planter and pastor with almost 30 years of ministry experience in southern California. Doug has agreed to serve as a coach, providing invaluable input and advice, as well as pastoral support to the church planting staff and families.
To provide relational support, prayer and encouragement, as well as ecclesiastical and administrative oversight, the elders of Redeemer Newport Beach will serve as our temporary session. This will involve issuing Bryce a call as an Assistant Pastor with the expressed purpose of planting a church, approving the church plant budget, providing oversight of the church plant, encouraging the church plant, and eventually examining the men who will become the elders of the new church plant.
Because we believe that the work of planting a new church is dependent on God alone, we desire to raise up a team of 100 churches and individuals who will commit to praying for this new church on a weekly basis.
Starting a new church in southern California will require a significant financial investment. Bryce and Jason will both work to raise funds from family, friends, other individuals, and churches.
The goal is for this church plant to be self-supporting by the end of its fifth year of existence. During the first 5 years, we will be dependent on churches and individuals outside of the church plant for financial support as the congregation grows. This means that we will need to raise $800,000 over a four-year period from sources external to the new church. This budget will support the Church Planter, Worship Director and part-time Children’s Ministry Coordinator, administrative expenses and worship space rental, as well as ministry relations necessary to reach out to Christians and unbelievers in Orange County.
All fundraising money will be collected by the PCA’s Mission to North America and released in regular increments to the church plant.
Will you join with us?
Mail Donations Only to:
Mission to North America
PO Box 890233
Charlotte, NC 28289-0233
Designate “Byrce Hales” on the check memo line
Please use the form below to contact Bryce. If you would like to speak by phone, please just include your phone number in the message body.