Q & A With Ryan Ries
By Sarah Komisky
Before the birth of The Whosoevers, founders Sonny Sandoval from P.O.D., Brian “Head” Welch from Korn, and Ryan Ries from C1rca Footwear were gaining public acclaim yet drowning in a lifestyle filled with sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. After experiencing the life changing power of Jesus Christ, these men couldn’t help but go out and shake the world for Christ and this film documents the journey.
Ryan Ries shares about 3Sixty5 and what it means when Jesus said in John 3:16 that “…Whosoever believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
S: For those who don’t know, share a little bit about your ministry and what’s it all about.
R: We started off in 2009 the Whosoevers movement and the year before that in 2008 I launched a series called “Exit concerts” so just from the response of the concerts I decided to start this Whosoever movement with Sonny Sandoval, the lead singer from P.O.D. and he had this name called The Whosoevers and said he saw this name be, like, a world wide movement of people from all different churches, all different kinds of Christianity. Because there’s so much separation in the church. You have all these things that separate people and he just said, “I see, like, a worldwide movement brining them for one common goal: letting them know Jesus loves them and to bring people to Christ.”
My background with working and managing a professional skate boarding team for ten years and working also in the music industry, too, for probably like 15 years and doing music festivals and work with artists and different things I said, you know what? I can just put this whole thing together and let’s see what God does.
It’s evolved and it’s grown and turned into this music movement where we are just helping these kids that the church doesn’t want to deal with: kids that are suicidal, kids that are hooked on drugs, the cutters. The kids that are hooked on porn and a lot of these kids, if you bring them to church or take them to the youth pastor, the youth pastor is not going to know how to deal with them. A lot of these pastors, they don’t know, they don’t come from that background and they don’t even know how to even deal with it. So we, with our background being in the world for so many years and being around all that stuff, everything that I’ve been through, can relate to them very easily and let them know, “hey you’re in a bad place right now but you’re actually in a great place because God can pull you out of that like he pulled me out of that.” It’s very easy to relate to these kinds in that I relate to them so it’s not foreign to me.
S: So what prompted you guys to make this documentary at this time and season in your lives?
R: When we launched a movement, we started getting booked to do these speaking tours and concerts around the nation. So during that time we thought it was a good idea just basically to film the first year of the Whosoevers like document it because we didn’t know. We did it one year and just said let’s see what happens in one year. What happened was we ended up putting it all together a year later. So basically when you watch this movie it is the inception – the start of the Whosoevers for one year – 365 days. That’s why it’s called The Whosoevers 3sixty5.
S: How have you seen God use this documentary so far?
R: Honestly, it just launched and the only fruit that I’ve have seen for the documentary right now because it’s so new is at the event. We did a movie premiere for it and after we gave the alter call and bunch of people got saved, but it’s too fresh to see the see the fruit.
But I can tell you the fruit of the movement over the past seven years has been ridiculous! We’ve had people from the homosexual community become Christians and I’ve seen hundreds of kids come out of drug addition or suicide or depression, and demon possession, and oppression.
S: What is your heart and vision for this generation?
R: My heart is fifty/fifty – fifty in the world and fifty in the church. When I talk about The Whosoever movie reaching the world, I want to reach the world and the things that have happened in the last couple days with the courts approving homosexuality, I’m not offended, I’m not shocked at all. I am kind of like, “yeah that’s what Jesus has been telling us.” In Mark chapter 13, Matthew 24 and 28 it tells us that you will be in the end days when these things start happening. When I heard that happened, I just said, “cool now we know for sure that we are in the end times.” So, for me, where my heart’s at, is that I want to reach as many people as possible and let them know that God loves them. He doesn’t judge them and he wants to set them free and give them purpose and life abundantly. That’s what this world needs to hear. There’s no hope, kids are under depression, social media is destroying them, music is destroying them, and we’re living in a godless country but what’s rad about that is that there’s so many people that don’t know about God. These kids don’t know about Jesus and the harvest is ripe but the workers are few so the most exciting times you could possibly be living in right now is the end times. So I want to go out in Jesus’ name as he opens doors and I want to see revival break out because we know that He’s going to impart His Spirit in the last days and we’re in end times so we know the Spirit’s coming so I want to see revival and reach as many people as Jesus lets me reach, I’m down.
Now for the church, my heart is to see a revival happen in Calvary Chapel. I want the church to wake up and quit playing Christianity. You know Calvary Chapel has been around a long time and they have just kind of went back into their old ways or gotten more conservative and how radical it was in the beginning so I’m praying God would actually break the place Calvary Chapel is in now and take it back to its old ways where it’s just about Jesus and being radical and just depending on the Holy Spirit. I see there are some Calvary Chapel churches that are being risky just like Chuck Smith. He was risky and he didn’t care what people thought and he took risks and look at what happened with him taking risks following the Holy Spirit. Because when you follow the Holy Spirit you take those risks even though it’s scary. You’re nervous you know? But when you do, that’s when God shows up and things start happening. I’m majorly a part of the Calvary Chapel Movement as much as I’m in The Whosoevers – I’m 50/50, I’m in both worlds.
S: You guys came out of extreme lifestyles with drugs, sex, and things like that so what would you say to maybe say to the moral person who hasn’t engaged in that type of lifestyle?
R: There’s a lot of people that are involved that don’t come from those backgrounds. A part of the Whosoevers is to reach those people. Basically, if you look at culture, you got the action/sports culture, skate, snow, surf, motor, you got the art culture, you got the music culture, all these different subcultures and their the subculture but they’re actually the mainstream culture. That’s these kids, so it’s basically that generation just like the back in the hippie days. You have the hippie movement, they were the subculture but they were that next generation and you had to reach those kids. Our goal is to reach the next generation, to reach those kids and who have people that are successful musicians and successful athletes that have never touched those things and been involved in any of that and they’re involved in the movement. I guess the goal is to reach those the church doesn’t want to touch. I mean, let’s face it. People want to go to church and feel safe and they want it to be clean. When you think about it, Jesus’ ministry was messy. He was hanging out with a girl named Magdalene who had daemons in her and cast them out and she’s hanging out with Him. He was hanging out with Lazarus who was dead. He was hanging out with the dirty tax collectors and sinners and the religious people. The church didn’t want those people around them. It’s messy and that’s pretty much where we’re are nowadays is that a lot of the churches don’t want to deal with the Jesus ministry. They want the Christian Christianity. They want it to be clean and kosher and not have to deal with it. It’s sad to believe, I mean Chuck Smith was never about that, but it’s sad to believe that’s where the church has turned now. People are scared. So, people that are not into drugs, alcohol, or anything like that, that’s rad! Come to the table, what are you into? Do you know how to do graphic design? Do you know how to do film editing? Do you know how to set up/tear down stages? Do you know how to talk about Jesus? Do you know how to pray with people? Come on in! It’s Whoeversoever – anybody.
Find out more about The Whosoevers at: http://www.thewhosoevers.com