When Pastor Ryan was 11 years old he spent three weeks touring the west coast via train. On the that trip he knew that he would spend the majority (if not all) of his life in the West. Little did he know it would be in Las Vegas with the purpose of starting a new church.
After graduating college, Ryan moved to the north shore of Lake Tahoe where he served as a youth pastor for 12 months. Following his year in the jewel of the Sierras, Ryan moved to Phoenix, AZ and served as the worship pastor at Hope Covenant Church for almost four years. While there he married Kristen, welcomed his first son, Landon, and sensed a call back to his home church in Woodbury, MN– Crossroads Church. For six years Ryan served as a worship pastor and executive pastor. In 2011, the he and his family packed up and moved 1,800 miles from the Twin Cities to Las Vegas to start Advance Church.
Ryan is married to Kristen. They have three children, Landon (8), Evan (7), and Selah (5), and a dog named Simon (9).
Jon works as a real estate lawyer for a Fortune 500 company. It’s what he does, but not who he is. While he enjoys his job, it lacks eternal significance. Pastor Ryan had a conversation with Jon in February 2011, during which Jon was asked to be the Executive Pastor of Advance Church. In response to that call, Jon, and his wife Becky, decided, after prayerful consideration, to sell their home in Minnesota and move their family to Las Vegas to be a part of a movement to bring the good news of Jesus to the people of Las Vegas. Jon still works as a real estate lawyer and commutes to Minnesota several days each week, but the job is now simply a means to an end – an end with eternal significance.
Jon’s primary role as Executive Pastor is to be the vision choreographer of Advance Church. This means he will prayerfully ensure the best practices, systems, and strategic plans are properly administered to accomplish the full potential of Advance Church and its vision to mobilize thousands of lives altered by Jesus.
Jon and Becky have two children, Jackson (11) and Claire (10).
Jordan has been playing music and leading worship since he was in high school. For the last four years he has been one of the worship pastors at Crossroads Church in Woodbury, MN. And, though he is passionate about music, Jordan is even more passionate about seeing people connected to Jesus through the use of music and art.
In February, 2011, after months of prayer and discernment, Jordan and his wife, Kristen, sensed God calling them to join Advance Church. After months of planning and preparing, they moved to Las Vegas on August 1, 2011.
Jordan is instrumental in coordinating the weekend worship experiences at Advance Church. He has a passion for these experiences to be the best hour in a personʼs week.
Jordan and his wife Kristen welcomed their first child, Judah, on March 8, 2013.
When Leah’s long-time friends, Pastor Ryan and Kristen, announced they were moving to Las Vegas to start Advance Church, Leah was interested but it seemed that the door of opportunity was shut tight. The idea of moving to Vegas for Advance Church was always on her mind, though. In the months that followed the Luncefords’ decision to leave Minnesota, Leah experienced God’s love, grace, and faithfulness in major ways through extraordinary circumstances. During that time, God made it abundantly clear that Leah’s path led to Las Vegas to become part of the work God was going to do through Advance. That’s also when Leah’s daughter, Alayna (14), felt the strong urge to make the move to Las Vegas, too. United in their mission, Leah and Alayna left family, friends, work, school, and the Minnesota river town Leah grew up in, and started anew in Las Vegas in June, 2011. Even through some difficult times in Vegas, Leah has been blessed for her obedience to God and enjoys a stronger relationship with Him than ever before.
Leah’s robust accounting background, plus her unwavering commitment to integrity, make her the perfect person to help handle the business of the church. She works closely with Pastors Ryan and Jon to ensure the safekeeping of Advance’s finances, and to see that administrative processes support Advance’s long-term goals.
While sitting through his engineering classes in North Dakota in 2008, Shawn sensed God calling him to a more purpose-driven life than the one he was living. He started following Jesus and realized he didn’t want to be devoured–like so many of the young professionals around him–in a hollow pursuit of the American Dream.
Shawn’s career aspirations changed when he was called to Las Vegas to help his cousin (Pastor Ryan) plant Advance Church. He declined a full-time job offer, packed up only his car, and moved to Vegas in the fall of 2011.
Shawn has an incredible heart for outreach, service and evangelism fueled by the love he finds in Christ. His role is to help our church to be a church known more for what it does than what it says by helping people be mobilized into their world. In his spare time, Shawn loves being active outdoors, reading, and meeting new people.