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.

  • 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.