blue ocean senior Leadership team

  • Dave Schmelzer

    executive director & CO-FOUNDER

    Dave grew up an atheist in San Diego. As a student at Stanford University, he had an encounter with God that, after two years of exploring religions, he came to understand as being an encounter with Jesus. Afterwards he helped found a ministry to kids in a nearby high-crime neighborhood before spending a decade as a working playwright in San Francisco, where he met Grace in a local church. After being married for two years, Dave and Grace were invited by friends in Cambridge, Massachusetts to consider moving there to help start a new church. (By this time, Dave had also picked up a Masters in Theology from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena.) The church boomed, a surprising outcome in a city with a 2% churchgoing rate (compared to about 35% nationally). This led to conversations with many church leaders in the U.S. and Europe, and ultimately to the formation of a new network called Blue Ocean Faith.  He and Grace have five children and live in Santa Monica.



    Grace grew up in Houston and as a child used to pray every night for God to help her grow in her faith (something which at the time seemed completely mysterious to her). In college, she discovered a vibrant Christian fellowship group on campus and after graduating, moved to inner city San Francisco to join in with a team doing kids' ministry & church planting among the large S.E. Asian refugee community in the neighborhood. In 1995, she & her husband Dave moved to Cambridge, MA to be part of starting a church there. She particularly enjoyed helping lead Seek classes and developing the church's International Initiatives & overseas partnerships - including launching a long-term team to the Middle East in 2008.

    In 2012, Grace & Dave began to sense God inviting them to move to L.A., not sure what He would have for them there. That next year, they and their five kids made the big move cross-country, and the Blue Ocean Faith network was formed as well. These days in L.A., Dave & Grace are working with a team experimenting with new "forms" for church, leading home-based spiritual direction groups practicing meditation, centering prayer & faith.

  • Ryan Bauers


    Ryan Bauers was the Lead Pastor of a progressive urban church that he and his wife started with some friends for 12 years.  Since then, he has worked at various nonprofit organizations serving in executive leadership roles. He has been part of Blue Ocean Faith since its inception has enjoyed dreaming with the team about different iterations of church, faith, and spirituality.  

    Ryan holds a Bachelor of Arts in both Communication & Spanish from the University of Minnesota Duluth and is pursuing his Masters of Business Administration with a focus on Leadership & Change from the College of Saint Scholastica.  Ryan enjoys cooking, hunting, mountain biking, camping and surfing when in warmer part of the world.  He lives in Duluth, MN with his wife, three awesome kids and Springer Spaniel hunting dog.  


  • Kristina Kaiser


    Kristina was born in Central Wisconsin, the oldest of 6 children. She grew up believing in God, but first experienced God as a relational Being in her late teens. It was her graduate studies as an opera singer that brought her to the East Coast back in 2002, but when she graduated two years later, she couldn't shake the sense that she needed to do something with her life that involved connecting others to God in a tangible way.

    Kristina, together with a team of others, founded The River Church South of Quincy, MA in the fall of 2010. Her areas of emphasis have come to include social justice, social sciences, and multi-style teaching. Her and her husband are now parents to 4 children and so while most days are (happily) quite full, they also enjoy the opportunity for a lazy day on the sun porch, large coffee in hand, dreaming about what sorts of fun things they might do together next.



    Christina is originally from St. Louis and grew up in a large Greek family. She met her husband, Chris, while doing international humanitarian work. In 2009, they moved to Madison, WI to start a new faith community, Foundry414.  

    Christina studied Benedictine Spirituality at Holy Wisdom Monastery where she serves as an oblate and leads spiritual formation retreats.  She has a B.S. in Organizational Development & Leadership and enjoys coaching and encouraging others to develop their gifts.   

    Christina & Chris have 2 daughters and 1 son.