Walking Worthy Interviews Ryan and Regan King
So tell us about yourselves. Where are you from? How old are you and which church do you go to?
Ryan: I am originally from Arkansas in the USA. In 2003 we moved from rural Cleburne County to the London borough of Haringey, having been called by God to plant churches in England. We now live in Wood Green. My brother and I are 17.
Regan: I go to Grace Baptist Church, Angel Islington, on Sunday morning and Grace Baptist Church, Halstead, Essex, on Sunday evening. I am usually at these and a couple of the other church plants for Bible studies and prayer meetings.
How do you differ from the kind of teenager who will only unplug from his iPod and go to church if there are doughnuts…and short sermons?
Ryan: That kind of teenager is happy staying where he is and doing what he is doing. I’m not. I want to move forward by God’s grace. I want to serve more and sin less and I will do so by the Spirit’s work. I don’t like iPods. They numb the brain, impede conversation, invoke the ‘teenager’ image, and keep you from overhearing other people’s conversations... (laughs- that sounds pretty bad but they are great for sermon illustrations!) I enjoy church. When the Word is preached, length is not the issue: Substance is. Although they are not what draw me to God’s house, I do sympathise with the young person who likes doughnuts – particularly if they are chocolate covered.
Ryan: I am currently active in preaching and church planting. From when I was just a baby, I was taken by my father to churches where he was preaching, and was involved in Bible memorization programs and this helped acquaint me with God’s Word. Our church had a pastors’ conference and a missions conference each year. The teaching I received at these was also very important. All of this training in my early years would mean absolutely nothing if God had not graciously saved me. One night, after a church service, I was leaving on a trip with my father. We talked about the gospel and my call to be saved. We pulled into a gas station and it was in that gas station parking lot that I asked Jesus Christ to forgive my sins and to be my personal Saviour and Lord. I was baptized shortly after that.
Around the same time, God was calling me to preach. Again I shared this with my father and the church. I had memorized Psalm 99 earlier in the year and my father suggested that I preach a sermon from that psalm. I was given some things to read and a lot of guidance as I prepared. On a Wednesday night I stood behind the pulpit on a little wooden box some men in the church had made for me and my brother, also preaching that night, and I preached a message of about 18 minutes entitled ‘Our Holy King’. I was nine years old. I began then with two or three messages a year, but now I preach two or three times a week.
I would not be preaching or church planting if it were not for the Christian encouragement I have received from God’s people in different places. I thank God for them. Especially for my father, who has never ceased to teach and train me for the Lord’s work.
Regan: Before I even came to faith in Christ, I went along with my dad to places and conferences where he would be preaching. I took notes, I listened, and I learned. Shortly after my conversion in 2000, I realized my call as a Christian to proclaim God’s Word. My first preaching opportunity came in 2001 at the Wednesday evening service of the Tumbling Shoals Baptist Church that was holding its annual pastors conference that week. I delivered my message that evening from Psalm 98. Since that time I was given many other opportunities to preach and the past year or two I have had the opportunity to preach at least twice every week. Evangelism is very important for Christians and I have had the opportunity to aid in church planting evangelism in five different places as well as participating in special evangelistic events with other like-minded congregations. I too am currently in my first year studying a BA course in Christian Theology with Highland Theological College in Dingwall, Scotland (near Inverness) after completing their Access Course last year.
What do you think is the best way young people can serve in their church?
Ryan: I have been blessed by a father who encourages, helps, teaches, trains, and stands by his son in his struggles. To all the Christian young people without such dads, I say, be encouraged, you have a Father in heaven. His will prevails. Always. For now do what you can. Live like a Christian. Express your desire to serve to your pastor. If an opportunity comes to read a Scripture verse aloud in church, don’t hesitate. The same with prayer: lead out. Distribute Christian literature. Share the gospel with people. Don’t be kept back, exercise the gifts that God has given you. Make use of the gifts God has given you for the encouragement of believers, the reaching of the lost with the gospel, and the glory of God. ‘…Fan into flame the gift of God’ (2 Tim 1:6), follow Christ, and know that doing this could involve leaving family, friends, and country. Serve Christ, serve the church, and be the means by which sinners are saved – and live out your Christian service at home by respecting your father regardless of his opinion of your calling.
Regan: Any person young or old who is a believer has been called into Christian service. You don’t have to have the label ‘Pastor’, ‘Church-planter’, ‘Missionary’ to serve Christ and His Church. Actually, every Christian is in ‘full-time Christian ministry’. I would be just as much in full time Christian service if I worked for a garbage dump or picking up litter on the street. It’s honourable work and as a Christian I would be called to serve Christ in that work. Young people can serve in the church by sharing the gospel with those who surround them in work or study, and by gathering for fellowship with the body of believers for worship and Bible study. As for the possibility of those who have family who are disgruntled with their purpose to serve Christ and His Church, they should be reminded of the cost of discipleship as seen in Luke 14:26-33, knowing that what may be lost on this earth will be far surpassed by our reward in Christ Jesus. If you are still living with your parents, this should be done, though in a respectful way, seeking to remain honouring to your earthly and heavenly father.
What sermons/books/articles have shaped you significantly?
Ryan: Many good sermons, but particularly a sermon my father preached on several occasions before our family’s move from the United States - ‘The Lion hath Roared’ from Amos 3:8, which reads ‘The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?’ It encapsulates why I am in this country and why I preach. As for books and articles, the books and articles that have shaped me the most are the ones I disagree with, the ones that attack my faith and calling. They achieve the opposite, as being injected with a small bit of a virus builds resistance against disease. Yes iron sharpens iron, but stones sharpen swords. Especially useful for my preaching: Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students, Stuart Olyott’s Preaching: Pure and Simple, Haddon W. Robinson’s Biblical Preaching, and Gareth Crossley’s Growing Leaders in the Church. History books and Winston Churchill’s speeches are also things without which I don’t think I would be quite the same. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell was quite helpful recently.
Regan: What a person sees and hears his whole life shapes him. I have heard word for word and verse by verse preaching from God’s Word my whole life and those messages have stockpiled to shape me. No list of internet sermons and books or articles could compare to what I have gained from the Holy Bible and the preaching of God’s Word with the fellowship of His people. Some messages I have listened to recently and greatly enjoyed are ‘My wife’s death in Biblical perspective’ and ‘When God was at His best’ – both by E. V. Hill, and ‘Amen’ delivered by S. M. Lockridge. I also find useful resources in people like John Piper, Al Mohler, and John MacArthur, but primarily in the Word of God and week-by-week exposition of the Scriptures. (More on this from my blog: http://reganbking.blogspot.com/).
What is the one thing Christians must concentrate on in 2010?
Ryan: Exploitation and Imperialism! That is, taking advantage of opportunities to preach the gospel and plant churches and thus building the empire of Christ. This is not new stuff; this is getting back to the basics.
If you could be anyone in church history… Who? Why?
Regan: Instead of focusing on who I am not and can never be, I like to focus on who I am in light of Christ’s grace within me. I was created to be me for a reason and am a part of the history of Christ’s Church. Yes, I respect and appreciate great leaders of the church in previous ages, but sometimes we can focus more on great Christians of the past than on Christ and His power within us today.
What is the best thing about living in the UK?
Ryan: It would have to be the access to all the different peoples and cultures that can be found in London. When one begins to think of the scale of London’s diversity, it is mind-blowing.
What hope do you see for the next generation in Britain?
Ryan: The hope of salvation by grace through faith in Christ! I see ignorance, apathy, and outright hatred for the things of God. I see darkness. But I see more: if they turn to God, then he will turn to them, and save them. This is grounded in the teaching of Scripture: ‘For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts’ (Malachi 3:6-8).
Regan: The hope for the next generation in Britain is the same as for every generation under the sun - that is Christ and the power of the Spirit. The other day I was privileged to be at a seminar where 50 young and genuinely interested men came to learn about church planting work in the UK. In dark times, such people are bright lights, signalling the coming of the Morning, when the Son will shine in splendour throughout the World.
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