Ryan King came to a realisation that he was a sinner and trusted in Christ for salvation at a young age, calling out to Jesus to forgive him in a small town parking lot in Arkansas. Coupled with that conversion came a calling to proclaim Christ and lead his people as a pastor in a missionary context. Ryan moved with his family to London, England in 2003. He was part of the February 2004 library-hall church plant that ultimately became Grace Baptist Church in Wood Green, an urban town centre in Haringey (one of London’s 33 boroughs) with a high population density and great ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic diversity. Grace Baptist Church is committed to local church discipleship, local area evangelism and community engagement, associational fellowship, and international missions. The church has been heavily involved in planting, replanting, and revitalising churches in a range of contexts. The congregation called Ryan to be assistant pastor of the church in 2010, and as pastor in 2013.
Alongside local ministry, Ryan works with Grace Baptist Partnership as team leader for Grace Baptists in Europe – an initiative to partner with local churches across Europe in leadership training, discipleship, evangelism, and church planting. He is also district secretary for the central district of the Association of Grace Baptist Churches (SE), which involves facilitating and leading associational activities, providing encouragement and support, and promoting pastoral renewal and local church reform among seven London churches. Ryan enjoys free time with his wife and wider family, reading books, watching films, and exploring the city and continent. He studied theology at Highland Theological College - University of the Highlands and Islands in Dingwall, Scotland, completing his degree with a dissertation on the early English Baptist contribution to religious liberty of conscience. He is married to Uliana, whom he met while speaking at an Effective Evangelism Conference in Ukraine.
Update from Pastor Ryan King (May 2022):
We are approaching the halfway point of this year - and what a year it has been thus far! For us it has been characterised at times by great sorrow and struggle, but also great strength supplied by the Lord. We are insufficient for the magnitude of the task before us, but God is able. We give him praise.
We are grateful that in spite of a substantial attempt by someone to sow division in the church, the congregation has grown in unity, generosity, service, and the pursuit of faithful Christ-proclamation and Christian practice. The usual rhythms and routines of Grace Baptist Church Wood Green’s life continues, and God continues to add to our number. A particularly significant development involves our small group ministry. Previously we had a weekly men’s group and a biweekly women’s group. While we continue to have opportunities for men’s and women’s discipleship, we have progressed to 5 fortnightly house-based mixed small groups, led by men other than Ryan who are already serving in offices of the church, or are being prepared and tested for such ministries. In these environments, men and women, from diverse backgrounds and across all ages are able to meet and grow together with others in the church who live nearest them, with a view toward fostering stronger local fellowship, service, and mission. The plan is for at least one of these groups to develop into a church plant. Pray for the continued success of these newly formed small groups, and for them to achieve their ultimate purpose not only of local discipleship but also of more effective community mission and disciple multiplication. All of our previously reported ministries still need your prayers: Sunday services, weekly prayer meetings, weekly foodbank ministry, the Albanian language fellowship we host, the alcoholic support and other community groups we host, and weekly evangelistic and social action initiatives of the church and its members.
At present, we are blessed to have an intern working with us for 6 weeks as part of his Beeson Divinity School Cross Cultural Ministry Practicum (CCMP). Later in the month, two more students from Beeson will join us for a 2 week CCMP, and again we will host a 2 week CCMP in August. Pray for these students’ ministries among us to thrive and be fruitful, and for their time working with us to be enriching and usefully preparatory for ministry.
Ryan has had opportunity to serve in several churches outside our own this year, as well as speaking at the SALT youth conference in Scotland (on identity and speech), and the Association of Grace Baptist Churches South East Pastors and Elders overnight conference (on local church and associational apologetics, outreach, and evangelism). As he did last year, he also researched and wrote most of the articles for this year’s Grace Baptist Partnership Month of Prayer and Giving, to encourage the churches and resource them for informed and concentrated prayer. Grace Baptist Church Wood Green has corporately agreed, in addition to more general support of Grace Baptist Partnership and specific support of church planting work in Ukraine and Netherlands, to also be a supporting church of the Wimbledon Project, an effort to plant a new congregation in South West London. Pray that the word of God faithfully explained, illustrated, and applied will take root and bear fruit not only in our local church and community, but also through the wider efforts described above.
Church members we sent out to plant in Rotterdam, Netherlands have now completed their first year. In that time, they played an important role in the formation of a new church and the development of its culture and mission. With that church operational with an elder and deacons, they are looking to their next project - the planting of a bilingual international church, also in Rotterdam. Pray for Adrian and Abigail Yeboah as they prepare for bilingual international church planting at an international church in Amsterdam. Pray for the successful formation of a core group in Rotterdam that will develop into a church plant in their area of the city. Pray for focus, faithfulness, and fruitfulness.
The Russian aggression in Ukraine has been a source of great personal concern and grief to us, with so many of our family and friends there. As a church, we have supported Grace Baptist Partnership/Grace Baptists in Europe efforts there since 2014, when Ryan began corresponding with pastors and church planters in various parts of Ukraine, while planning and preparing for a 2015 conference there. Every year since has seen some ministry there: preaching, teaching, conferences, seminars, training courses, and the publication of a Ukrainian language booklet by Ryan (translated by Uliana), “The Bible-driven Leader: Basic Ministry Principles”. Since January 2020 we have financially supported a church planting effort in villages of the northern Zhytomyr region, not far from the border with Belarus. The displacement of millions of Ukrainian people by the Russian invasion and ensuing atrocities is a crisis we could not in any way ignore, and have mobilised to address it in several ways.
We have raised and distributed funds to our partner churches House of the Gospel in Khmelnytskyi and Open Bible Church in Sushke (Zhytomyr Oblast), for their vital relief efforts to refugees, internally displaced people, and territorial defence workers. Thousands of people have been housed and fed since the war began using these funds. Another church in need that we did not have capacity to assist was connected with a church in the USA, that has helped and encouraged them. We have advised and coordinated different people attempting to evacuate to other places in Europe in the confusing early days of the war, including the wife and children of our supported church planter in Sushke. Ryan, Barry King, and Mariusz Bartkowski went to Krakow and Polish border towns to see what the needs on the ground were, what churches were doing, and what could be done to assist, while also distributing gospel literature, and speaking and praying with refugees in transit. We have successfully worked with neighbours to get people from the most embattled cities rehoused under the Homes for Ukrainians scheme in our area, and have attempted rehousing others across the UK. Uliana has started a Telegram app based support group for Ukrainian ladies in and around London, and has hosted picnics, walks, and tours for them. We are hoping to launch English classes soon. The church - with support from partner churches and our local community - has contributed many goods, including vital medical supplies, for transportation to Ukraine by a pastor from Mariupol, who now resides here and is making frequent relief trips across the continent. In all of these efforts, the church has been able to shine the light of Christ locally, nationally, and globally all at once. Praise God that in the darkest of times, his light burns brightly through the life and love of the local church. Pray that acts of hospitality, generosity, service, and provision will be a blessing to neighbours near and far, and bring honour and glory to God. Pray that Christ proclaimed and practically portrayed would bring many to know and love the Lord Jesus. Pray for wisdom, strength, human resource, and financial provision to made for these great tasks.