Crossroads has announced that Ryan Howell, currently the Lead Pastor of Curtis Lake Church in Sandford, ME, has been selected as the new Lead Pastor. Ryan will assume the role in September 2019, the start of a new ministry season.
“I am honored and humbled to be called as Crossroads’ next Lead Pastor. Honestly, Wendy and I feel a bit like we have won the lottery! It is a privilege to serve a faith community that welcomes all people and holds the values of Jesus higher than any form of religion,” says Howell. “We are a church firmly rooted in God’s priorities for this world: justice, mercy, humility and love of neighbor. These priorities bring hope, transform lives and strengthen the common good for every citizen in our communities regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion. I will continue to pour my life into these priorities through the mission of Crossroads in Northern Colorado and wherever else God leads our church.”
Howell succeeds Founding Pastor John Smith who stepped down from 23 years of leadership on January 1, 2019. Smith plans to continue to serve organizations and individuals through various leadership and speaking opportunities.
“I can think of no one better to lead Crossroads. Ryan’s experience as a lead pastor, communication gifts, love for Jesus and the Gospel and generous spirit make him the perfect choice to take us into the future,” said Smith.
John and Phyllis Smith plan to remain active members of Crossroads Church.
“Beyond serving as a local church pastor, Ryan Howell brings unique abilities as an influencer, having been the president of Vision New England,” said Katie Martinez, executive pastor. “I am excited to work with Ryan as Crossroads continues to invest in people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. In a day when culture is losing confidence in the church, Crossroads is uniquely positioned to engage more people and make a difference in the world. Ryan is the right leader for the next chapter.”
Prior to his roles leading Curtis Lake Church and Vision New England, Howell served with his wife, Wendy, in children’s ministry, student ministry and as an associate pastor. Ryan earned a Master’s degree in theological studies at Harvard Divinity School.
The Howell Family Story
Ryan and Wendy Howell were high school sweethearts and grew up near each other in Indiana. They both attended Evangel University in Springfield, MO where Ryan earned his Bachelor’s of Arts in Biblical Studies with a minor in music and biblical languages and Wendy studied social work and early childhood education. Ryan and Wendy were married in 1998 and served as children’s pastors for two years while in college.
In 1999, the Howells moved to Watertown, MA for Ryan to pursue a Master’s of Theology at Harvard University. Later that year, the Howells began serving the youth ministry at Trinity Evangelical Church in North Reading, MA. Ryan served on staff at Trinity for almost 9 years in different capacities, finishing his tenure there as the associate pastor. In 2003, while living in Massachusetts, Judah, their son was born; and then fifteen months later, their daughter, Micah was born. While in Massachusetts Wendy worked in finance, administration and human resources at various organizations including Harvard University, the New England Organ Bank and J-Lee Associates.
In 2007, the Howell’s relocated to Southern Maine where Ryan accepted the Lead Pastor position at Curtis Lake Church. At that time, Wendy began to work in the Special Education Department of the local school system until 2013 when she began homeschooling Judah and Micah. Ryan continues to serve as the Lead Pastor of Curtis Lake Church and Wendy, most recently, as their Global Missions Coordinator.
In 2013, while continuing to pastor, Ryan accepted the invitation to serve as the President of Vision New England, a 130-year old association of churches, pastors, marketplace leaders and non-profits committed to uniting, equipping and encouraging the body of Christ throughout the six New England states to go do justice, love mercy, walk humbly and make disciples.
Ryan is a 4th-degree black belt in Kenpo Karate, a marathon runner and triathlon competitor. Wendy enjoys traveling abroad, reading a variety of authors, listening to podcasts and exploring local micro-breweries with friends. The Howell family plays lots of games, loves to camp and can be found binge-watching their favorite shows on Netflix and Hulu.