Ryan Jeffrey Silver Ahlgrim

Born in Chicago and growing up in the suburb of Lombard, I had two competing ambitions in high school: to become a writer or a pastor. I'm doing both. This website is a way for me to share some of my creative output as a pastor and as a writer.

Graduating with a B.A. in English from Goshen College, I became youth pastor at Lombard Mennonite Church, my home congregation. I then went on to study at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary, receiving a Master of Divinity degree from AMBS. While completing that program I served as assistant minister at Dunlap United Methodist Church. Following graduation, I helped a Bible study group begin a new congregation: Peoria-North Mennonite Church, which I served as pastor for eleven years. During these years I had numerous articles on theology, ethics, biblical studies, and humor published in several denominational magazines. I also completed the Association of Chicago Theological Schools Doctor of Ministry in Preaching program through McCormick Theological Seminary, and turned my doctoral thesis into the book, Not as the Scribes: Jesus as a Model for Prophetic Preaching (Herald Press, 2002).

In 1995 I became the pastor of First Mennonite Church in Indianapolis, serving the congregation for nineteen years. While in Indianapolis, my wife, Laurie, and I raised our two children, Garrett and Savannah. I continued writing articles for magazines and the occasional journal, and had one of my sermons included in Keeping the Faith: Best Indiana Sermons (Guild Press, 2003). I co-taught a course at AMBS and another at Christian Theological Seminary, and taught several communication courses for Ivy Tech Community College.

I now serve First Mennonite Church of Richmond (Virginia) and have had my second book published, Sick Religion or Healthy Faith? Beliefs and Practices for Healing Christian Communities (Wipf & Stock, 2016).