The following is an account of the realization of an impossible vision. It is the vision of creatio ex nihilo, that is, the creation (the beginning of a church) from nothing. This is what Jesus called making the stones come alive (Luke 3:8). While walking and praying through the streets of Ottawa, Dr. Rich Ganz knew that this work would be completely dependent upon the supernatural intervention and power of God.
One year earlier, Rich, his wife Nancy, and their little daughters, headed off from the U.S.A. to make a film in Switzerland. The project was a disaster. Rich became an itinerant teacher, preacher, counselor, and university guest lecturer, as he moved his family from country to country, always wondering where God was leading him. He would soon find out.
One night, during Passover in March of 1980, Rich was leading a Passover Seder in the Netherlands. In the middle of the Seder, a phone call came from a man who had tried to track Rich down through four countries with one question, a question which he finally got to ask during that call: “Would you like to start a church in Ottawa?” Hearing this, Rich remembered being on his face praying in Switzerland several months earlier. He had cried out to God to be used by God as a preacher of the gospel, and not just teaching in universities around the world.
The good news was that here was his answer to prayer. The bad news was that there was only one family wanting such a ministry. The good news was that this one family was a wonderful family - the Joy and Aubrey Ayer family. The bad news was there were (basically) no people, no money, and no building. The good news was, as Rich recalled it, “This is perfect.”
As Rich walked the streets of Ottawa, he remembered what he had committed to do: Preach the gospel. Jesus came to preach and teach. Rich was going to preach and teach. Everything Rich would do in this ministry would centre on the Word of God and prayer.
Right there on the streets, Rich began preaching, teaching, and evangelizing. Three months later, Rich began doing it in a rented nursery room in a community centre. The church began to grow, and grow, moving into its own building in 1995. Over the years, tens of thousands of people have been influenced by Rich’s ministry, and thousands have come through the open doors of the Ottawa Reformed Presbyterian Church (Ottawa RP Church).
In 1982, Rich started a seminary, the Ottawa Theological Hall (OTH), to train men for pastoral ministry in Canada. Many men and women have received varying degrees of training to help them in their walk with the Lord.
On the streets of Ottawa, Rich became convicted again and again of the necessity to preach the Word of God in every situation, and at all times. “Be ready, in season and out, with a word for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
Our growing church is blessed with children. Right from the beginning, a biblically-based Sabbath School was essential. Rich’s wife, Nancy, began working on a curriculum. These early lessons and studies later became the internationally acclaimed Herein is Love commentaries for children. Our church, our seminary, our church planting, our mission work, our Sabbath School, our pastor’s books, and his wife’s commentaries are all designed to show forth Christ from God’s Word.