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 (September 2021):
August was a fast moving month with much to be thankful for. Three highlights are included below for your praise, and also prayers.
Ukraine ministry trip
For some time we have requested prayer for an open door to return to Ukraine, as travel rules have been complicated for some time due to the UK’s COVID regulations, and travel “traffic light” system. It seemed that when the UK was open, Ukraine was closed and when Ukraine was open, the UK was closed. When both were open, self-isolation and quarantining rules made it difficult. Thankfully, various rules were relaxed in July meaning we were able to plan an August trip. Uliana went before Ryan to spend time with her family, who she had not seen in person since November 2019, and tend to some health related matters. Ryan followed later, with a view to keeping long promised ministry commitments. While there, we were able to visit and encourage Vadym, who is planting a church in a very challenging village context, in Sushky, Zhytomyrys’Ka Oblast. We had meetings with pastors and church planters, including a Ukrainian man looking to move from the USA back to Ukraine to pursue ministry there. Ryan preached in two churches, including Open Bible Church where Vadym is serving. He was asked by Vadym to speak on Believers’ Baptism at Open Bible Church. Of those gathered, only Ryan, Uliana, Vadym, and his wife Yana had been baptised as believers. Pray that Vadym and his family will have been encouraged and helped by the visit. Pray for Open Bible Church and Ark of Salvation Church where Ryan preached, that the Lord would build and strengthen them. Pray for others who are planting or pastoring churches, or seeking opportunities to do so, that the Lord will help and guide and that Ukraine will be flooded with the light of the gospel in healthy, Christ-exalting churches.
GBP annual conference
We were very encouraged by this year’s annual Grace Baptist Partnership conference - “We shall but die: clear thinking in calamitous times”. A good sized group from Grace Baptist Church Wood Green was able to attend, including the Yeboah family, who we have sent out to plant churches in Netherlands and who Ryan was able to introduce to conference attendees. The sessions were equal parts challenging and encouraging. Pray that we will face the days we live in with great clarity and gospel courage. The messages we heard have immediate import for us, if we apply them well. Pray that we would do so, and that the culture of our church would be positively affected as a result.
Last Sunday of the month
The last Sunday of the month is generally designated by us as a day for church celebration - new believers are baptised, members are received, other important landmarks are noted, and failing any of that, we will still have a large meal together afterwards (in the warmer months, that means firing up the barbecue grill and cooking out late into the afternoon). In August we gave thanks for babies born to families in the church over 2020 and 2021. In a church that has had few such moments over the years (we have been a congregation of young singles, new couples, middle-aged people with growing or grown children, and some elderly people), it was a delight to pray over eight infants in our church’s families, to give thanks for them and to dedicate their parents to raise them righteously. Pray with us for the six couples represented, that the Lord would strengthen their marriages and sustain them in the important work of parenting. Pray that they will nurture their children in a godly way, to live righteously. Pray for the eight infants, for their health and protection, and for their salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.