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 (July 2021):
Where has the month gone? We thank God for continuing to sustain us through a period of much activity and growth in our church. We also thank you for your continuing kindness toward us and the work here. We greatly value your prayers and support.
Within a month, Ryan has officiated and preached at two weddings. The first couple, Emmanuel to Cindy, met for the first time during after service tea in July of last year and Cindy - a new believer - was baptised in September (on the same day Emmanuel was received as a member). Ryan preached a biblical theology of marriage entitled “Between two weddings”, looking at three sets of “his and hers” clothes: fig leaves (the inadequate coverings Adam and Eve made for themselves and that we make for ourselves), animal skins (the coverings God made for Adam and Eve, and which he makes for us now in Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away our sins), and white robes (the coverings we shall have at the wedding supper of the Lamb, and for all eternity). The families of the couple come from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Congo and would for the most part profess faith in Christ, but there is little evidence of saving faith. Pray for Emmanuel, Cindy, and Josiah - a toddler son Cindy has from a previous relationship - that they would know the purifying power of the gospel in their marriage, parenthood, and life. Pray that the gospel message will bear fruit in the lives of those gathered and watching online.
The second couple, Adrian and Michelle, have been members of the church since autumn 2019. They knew each other from university, and after Michelle (who lives in our borough) began attending the church, Adrian listened to a sermon recording and decided he would travel almost an hour and a half one way to our gatherings, staying all day Sundays for both services, and returning on Tuesdays and Thursdays for men’s Bible study and prayer meeting. Ryan preached at their wedding from Malachi 2:13-14 on how marriage is built by God’s unchanging character, by God’s faithful conduct, and for God’s growing kingdom. The message was warmly received and quite relevant as there were struggling marriages and unions devastated by infidelity in the room. Pray that Adrian and Michelle’s marriage would reflect God’s character and that the message will have spoken convicting, transformational truth to all present. Adrian and Michelle have now moved locally - pray that they will steward their flat and location well to the blessing of the church. Pray that extensive premarital counselling for both couples will be remembered and applied, for a solid foundation to marriage.
The penultimate training day of the Growing Leaders London group was held this month, on church revitalisation. Ryan, assisted by his brother Regan, led the day’s teaching and discussions. The last scheduled training day of the present course will be held next month and will be led, for the first time this cycle, by Barry King, on church planting. Pray that the Growing Leaders course will have helped the men who attended, introducing them to important concepts that will assist them throughout their ministries going forward. Pray for those in attendance not presently serving in any capacity in their local church, that God would open doors of service for them. Pray for the last session to finish the course strong.
Much of the past month has involved preparing the church for the recognition of deacons and deaconesses this past Sunday. At a January member’s meeting, David, Fiona, and Uliana were nominated for testing. At our April meeting, they were unanimously voted in. Throughout June, Ryan has taught the church each Sunday morning about deacons and last Sunday the elders laid hands on them and appointed them to the work. Pray for David, Fiona, and Uliana, and Michael (our first deacon, appointed in 2019), that they would do their work well. Pray that they will take their roles seriously and excel in service for everyone’s benefit.
A meeting of the deacons and elder Charles with Barry King (representing GBP, who provide the church with with a grant to finance Ryan’s work with GBP/Grace Baptists in Europe) was held on Sunday. It was confirmed that long needed and important work on the minister’s flat where Ryan and Uliana live would commence in the New Year. Also, a motion made and unanimously approved at a church meeting to give Ryan a sabbatical was further detailed: Ryan will be given a sabbatical of three months divided over January ‘22, July, and January ‘23. Pray for clear planning, generous provision, and excellent work to be done on the flat. Pray that the work will be a blessing and not a burden. Pray too for Ryan and Uliana as they plan for how best to steward their sabbatical. Ministry in Wood Green is such that to get away, they have to properly go away so at present, they hope to spend time in both the United States and Ukraine.