In 2011 God gave an unexpected yet specific vision to Mike and Deb Rydman to plant a new church in Juneau, Alaska. Mike had previously led the planting of Soteria (now Port Gardner Community Church) in Everett, Washington in 2005.
The Rydman’s spent a week in Juneau in September of 2011 to celebrate their wedding anniversary, and while there experienced the confirming call from God to relocate and begin this new work. In late January of 2012 Mike and Deb packed up, and sold their Everett home the same day they boarded a ferry for a three-day sail for Juneau.
The Rydman’s spent their first month in town living in a hotel room, and invested the first year in finding employment, discovering the culture and making new friends. ChangePoint Church in Anchorage and Radiant Church in Fairbanks provided relational encouragement and financial support beginning this first year. Mike was provided preaching opportunities in Alaskan churches, began meeting weekly with the Legislative Prayer Fellowship, and also initiated a Tuesday morning “Man School” that continues to develop leaders who represent several churches in Juneau.
2013 was devoted to forming a gospel community consisting of people in Juneau who wanted to be a family of servant missionaries learning to be and make disciples of Jesus Christ. We met in homes, learned to be family, and cared for State workers in town for the Legislative session and college students who come to Juneau each year for the summer tourist season.
2014 saw the initiation of corporate Sunday worship services and the birth of a second gospel community. God brought new people to align with us, and we began the equipping of potential elders. We felt led by God to identify closely with Radiant Church Fairbanks, and after much prayer and conversation they adopted us, we adopted their name and collectively we became the same Radiant Church (albeit separated by 1,000 miles.) 2014 also saw the birth of Plant Alaska, a cooperative of several churches across Alaska for the purpose of making disciples, training leaders and planting new churches in Alaska and the circumpolar north.
God’s calling continues for us, that we would be a family of servant missionaries learning to be and make disciples, and that our church would multiply churches.
(Photo courtesy of Ron Gile)