Pastor Gary is a devout believer that “a great church seeks to live out the Great Commandments and the Great Commission.” Thus Jesus’ charges to “love God with all your heart,” “love your neighbor as yourself,” and “go and make disciples of all peoples” form the foundation for his pastoral ministry.
Dr. Olsen is an Equipper for the ChristCare small-group ministry system, having trained in St. Louis with Stephen Ministry. Along with the rest of the Rolling Hills Equipper team, Gary has outfitted over 60 church members for Christian ministry leadership. Utilizing ChristCare for the first time ever in the design of a research project, Pastor Gary earned his Doctor of Ministry degree May 2007 at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. His dissertation’s title was “Disciple-Making Boards: The Impact of Training a Church’s Governing Board in Small-Group Spiritual Formation Leadership.”
In 2002, Gary and his wife Joyce each earned the Certificate of Advanced Church Leadership from the Beeson Institute, a three-year seminary program to take pastors and church leaders to cutting-edge, teaching churches across the United States. Through Rev. Olsen’s leadership, Rolling Hills has been a pilot congregation for the latest programs from Stephen Ministry and Purpose-Driven Churches.
His latest venture in 2008 has been to become a certified online workshop provider, exploring the possibilities of the Internet to make and grow disciples of Jesus Christ.
When asked about interests and hobbies, Gary lists his wife, their two children and their spouses, and their two grand-children!
A native of southern California, he has earned: a B.A. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a major in Urban History and a minor in Cultural Geography; a Masters of Divinity from Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary, near Milwaukee, Wis.; and Clinical Pastoral Education units at Pawtucket Memorial Hospital, Pawtucket, R.I. through Interfaith Healthcare Ministries. Rev Olsen possesses ordination standing in the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
The Rev. Dr. Gary L. Olsen began his ministry at Rolling Hills Community Church on October 1, 1992. Our unique four-denominational concept was a positive force in his decision to become our pastor. His enthusiasm and dedication to the unique challenge are readily apparent as he continues to fulfill a very vital role in the leadership and spiritual growth of our church.