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 "Faint Yet Pursuing", Grace Baptist Partnership Month of Prayer and Giving, March 2022):
Some seasons of ministry may require us to press on despite personal weariness, but if we are exhausted and exasperated, it should not be because of any lack of provision. Through your prayers and giving, you encourage us to keep pursuing the mission of God even when faint. “What does a typical week look like for you?” Ryan King, pastor of Grace Baptist Church Wood Green, is seldom lost for words. He loves stories, and telling them. He loves reading, and writing things to be read. He enjoys good preaching, and delights in preaching himself as a personal act of worship. He enjoys personal conversation, listening and being listened to. All of these activities require words, and Ryan admits he usually has plenty of them. But if you ask him about a typical week: “...(pause). That’s a good question. I’m not sure how to answer it.”
It’s not that nothing is happening - rather, so much is happening it is difficult to keep track of it all. Sure, there are expected routines: two services on a Sunday with a food bank ministry and street evangelism in-between, men’s and women’s small groups (and soon to commence geographically-organised home groups), prayer meeting, daily personal discipleship, community work, and leading GBP’s Grace Baptists in Europe team. But the community and its needs are so diverse, the challenges of ministry so predictably unpredictable, and spiritual warfare so real that two verses readily spring to Ryan’s mind when discussing the life of the church: “you don’t know what a day might bring” (Proverbs 27:1) and “his mercies...are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22- 23). “It is impossible for me to do what I do without the church doing what it is supposed to do”, Ryan says. “My task is to equip the church for the work of ministry, not do all the work of ministry myself. We all are united to Christ. We all have the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We all are gifted according to God’s varied grace. But how can the church do the work of ministry if I do not lead the way? So I work hard and hope others will follow.” So how was the past year? “At times, painful. Often exhausting. Even this new year so far has already seen my long planned sabbatical postponed by six months, vicious and ungodly personal attacks, and the grief-filled responsibility of caring for Ukrainian family and friends [Ryan’s wife, Uliana is from Ukraine], plus more usual ministry responsibilities and my general anxiety for the churches. But it’s also been richly blessed by the Lord. We appointed three new deacons. The church is growing. We have had frequent baptisms and additions to membership - just since January we’ve had 5 baptisms, eight welcomed into membership, and more headed that way. People are maturing. We are certainly ‘faint, yet pursuing’, but the Lord renews our strength.”
- Pray for the constant work of evangelism and discipleship to bear fruit in the maturity, purity, and unity of the congregation.
- Pray for the provision of additional leaders - and potentially staff - to efficiently meet the needs of the growing congregation.
- Pray for the swift and successful completion of work on one of the church’s halls - used for ministry training, outreach, and a ministry to London’s Albanian community.
- Pray for financial provision for necessary work to the church building and minister’s flat, making them more efficient and useful for ministry, and a better witness to the community.
- Pray for Ryan’s wisdom and endurance as he leads the church and GBP’s Grace Baptists in Europe team, and serves his community