Anchorage Baptist Temple Pastor Ron Hoffman’s one big, hairy, audacious goal

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By JOHN QUICK

It’s the biggest church, in the biggest city of the biggest state in America, and Pastor Ron Hoffman has one big goal for it: to reach everyone in the entire 425.8-million-acre state with the message of the love of Jesus.

I was recently given the opportunity to record a series of vlog-style (video) profiles of Pastor Ron of Anchorage Baptist Temple and his team. What an incredible experience it was to spend the day with the ABT team.

Pastor Ron is motivated by the desire to see Alaskans succeed, no matter what they are going through. He is dedicated to spreading the loving message of Jesus and helping people embrace their destiny. He has also become a proponent of Christians getting involved in the political process.

Reaching every Alaskan with God’s Word is daunting; Pastor Ron is using technology to help him and his team fulfill ABT’s mission i”s “to make a BIG deal about following Jesus.”

With a Bible and a copy of Lead Like it Matters by Craig Groeschel, Ron facilitated a discussion with his team to begin envisioning the church in 10 to 20 years. He spoke to the importance of being able to move with the times as various tools become more widely available than ministries ever dreamed they would have centuries ago.

With the rise of online streaming from churches as a response to the Covid pandemic of 2020, the church expanded its reach to a wider audience extending beyond the bounds of the physical church. Anchorage Baptist Temple now offers its services under its Sermons page, where the sermons are live every Sunday at 11 am, and Wednesdays at 7 pm.

The church has also recently partnered with ABC Alaska to broadcast services on Sundays.

Pastor Ron recognized the need to expand services online for those who may not have the ability to physically get to the church, which is on Northern Lights Blvd. in Anchorage. Yet, with the growth of online communities, there are opportunities to reach more Alaskans through social media groups. 

While some things may change with how the church interacts with its members and future members, Pastor Ron reminded his colleagues that some things may never change. No matter how technology advances in a church, Jesus is steadfast, and there will always be the need for courageous and encouraging pastors, and people joined in fellowship through Christ. That has always been the core of the church that he would never want to lose. 

With Alaska being the biggest state in the nation, Pastor Ron intends to use every instrument he has available to help those in Alaska who are starving for a relationship with Jesus because he believes that is what will strengthen the state and the people. 

What does Jesus say about fear? Pastor Ron Hoffman explains in 10 seconds.

I asked Pastor Ron about his intentions for the church in the near future; his answer was to unite the state through the spirit of the Gospel. Once Alaskans embrace God’s purpose, they can create a great state that helps everyone.

I listened to him describe helping lost souls find their way back to Christ, and he reminded his team of their vital role in Alaskans’ everyday lives. One of ABT’s members was able to help a young man simply find the church. He met with him to hear his story and helped him join the church the very same day. Another focus of the ministry is with couples who seek help for their troubled marriages. During these meetings, while the husbands and wives would come in and sit on opposite sides of the room, many couples received the support through the staff at ABT to heal their broken relationships, and they would leave together, at each other’s side.

Witnessing the church members’ happiness by helping broken families brought a glow into the room as Pastor Ron began to prepare his closing prayer for their team meeting.

I asked Pastor Ron why he loves Alaska so much. “I’ve always felt a burden and a passion for Alaska, I’ve never thought that I would ever leave nor would I take another job anywhere else in the states,” he said. “So it’s truly just a love for the people, I really engage and love what we do here.”

His next project with ABT leader Kevin Whitley is to reach a larger audience through the church’s music program. In a recent Must Read Alaska video story, Whitley said his love of music was heavily influenced by his family, which was full of musicians and singers, the church, and his school. Continuing his passion for music as he became an adult, he believed that his ability to express himself through music was something to be shared with others and what God has given him to help make Alaska a better place.

When I approached him with the question about why he loves Alaska so much, Whitley said that it is having such a close-knit community in a big city like Anchorage, knowing that he can always call on someone and doesn’t have to feel alone.

“The gift that I have is not mine to keep to myself or to hold for myself but it’s something that you give back whatever way that the Lord kind of leads you to,” Whitley said.

Whitley gave Must Read Alaska viewers a preview of a song from the upcoming album, “Elevation,” which you can listen to at this link:

Keven Whitely from Anchorage Baptist Temple will inspire you

The Anchorage Baptist Temple opened its doors in 1956. What started as a small church of only 200 members has turned into over 2,000.

It also opened elementary and secondary schools emphasizing spiritual development. Due to its rapid growth, the church has expanded its services beyond its doors.

The ABT kids programs host fun, activity-filled Sundays where youngsters can play games and learn about the Word of God. The church also has a dedicated room for mothers and their newborn infants. ABT understands that it may be difficult for some to get to the church due to the spread out nature of Anchorage, and so it offers a bus service that can come straight to a person’s doorstep. The AWANA program for young children is the church’s after-school club that runs throughout the school year.

For older groups ranging from high school to older adults, ABT utilizes their school and community groups to help build connections among their followers.

For adolescents, the church has been able to offer after-school and Sunday groups for those wishing to develop their relationship with God and make new friends.

For those in adulthood, the church offers a variety of programs. From Spanish classes for those interested in learning the Bible in Spanish, to the “Transformation” support group that helps those who are on the wrong path or suffering from marital problems, to the marriage preparation group named “Forward,” and even several programs for the elderly to be active in the church, ABT knows that a church needs to be more than just a place that meets on Sundays. It has to be a place where people can feel at home and have fun.

Pastor Ron is the leader who helps light the way for Anchorage Baptist Temple. His own life journey is what has led him here, losing his own family at a young age, which forced him to move to Anchorage. In Anchorage, he was able to attend ABT’s Christian School, which helped keep him on the right path and eventually find his future wife, Crystal. The couple moved to Virginia, where he studied at Liberty University.

But Alaska called him home. Upon their return, Pastor Ron began working at the Anchorage Christian Schools and taught for about 25 years before moving on to work in the youth ministry. He is the founder of Frontline, which still runs to this day and is a community group for adults. Knowing the ins and outs of both the school and the church, he eventually became the lead pastor in May of 2019 and has been able to help grow the church’s programs and strengthen the community. 

John Quick is vice president of Must Read Alaska, and is living his best life in Nikiski.

27 COMMENTS

  1. God love us so much he sent His Son to make a way for us wayward broken confused chained people. Jesus loved the Father so much to do His will telling us the Truth even when he was persecuted, hunted, ostracized, and killed. So we can see our Lord is worthy to be called Lord for He overcame all -even death.

    • Charlie Kirk on the recent dr james dobson family talk spoke of the Church and the need to call-out the churches pandering and promoting woke ideology even hosting drag queen children story time inside a church. Cause that’s what our Lord does in His love — He tells us the . Truth.

  2. I am a” newbie” there and enjoying it very much!! I’ve been in town since “83” and been a part of or attended half a dozen churches in Anchorage during that time. Since I am not a “ Baptist” if you would have told me 1,5,10 or 20 years ago that I would be attending ABT regularly I would have said “no way”!! But it’s a new day, a new era and an entirely different society. I feel that ABToffrs what I need at this time because;
    A.) Ron is an excellent preacher and teacher and I perceive that both he and his wife are genuine.

    B.) The church is well organized and intentional. ie, they seem to know where they are going re ministry and how to get there. And while I fully believe in being in submission to and being led by the Holy Spirit, I also realize that for most of us that will be made tangible thru human leadership that’s scripturallysound.

    C.) Although doctrine is important, ABT doesn’t present as a strongly denominational church so that ALL Christian’s would feel welcome there and that’s a big deal but necessary inthis current age.

    D. Meals are frequently available there ( Wed nite and Sunday morning) and for someone like myself who is single , and normally eats EVERY. meal alone that availability is significant.
    As stated above, that all inclusivevision for Anchorage and Alaska is quite significant and as you will imagine, involves plans to serve a need in the community without an emphasis on pressuring people to e ie e the gospel. And yes, those plans are being utilized and yes , community need of a practical nature are being met. The latest instance being feeding a complete meal to those housed at the Sullivan Arena at no charge and with no “pressure”

  3. Ron Hoffman is a lot more down to earth than Jerry Prevo was and a lot more approachable. Prevo was a bit corporate, although was also a very good preacher. I hope for many good years ahead for Pastor Hoffman. ABT is a definite asset to the state. Wish we had 10 more of them.

  4. The harder you try to convert me to Christianity, the harder I will try to make you an Atheist. ABT’s theology is ridiculous, but their good works are indeed commendable. You don’t need one to do the other. #secularhumanismworksjustfine.

    • Please define “good” without recourse to Judeo-Christian theology. Without God, good is null and void. It becomes “what is best for me” rather than what adheres to the 10 Commandments. Atheists benefit from Judeo-Christian western civilization but try to refute it at every turn. Rather like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Be blessed, and try to avoid the ignorance it takes to maintain your world outlook.

      • I’m a science gal and an atheist. “Good” is what produces the best outcome. Could be donating time at the animal shelter or buying lunch for a pal. Maybe avoiding gossip or acting without evidence. All that can be done without your god.

        • Here, we all thought Lucinda was a homosexual man. Angry. Very angry. Exactly what is your main problem, Lucinda?
          You sound off the rails. Are you getting counseled?

          • While I haven’t read other comments made by Lucinda, your response to her comment here is totally inappropriate. As a conservative and a Christian I am offended by this unkind and uncalled for response to her comment. We should be able to discuss anything without commenting on people themselves. Most of us are here to dialog about ideas and actions not about people themselves.

      • Parochial school, high school, Christian university, altar boy, acolyte, Sunday School teacher, Church Elder, dependable churchgoer, tither, choir member…I’ve done it all – for decades. But I never really believed any of it, and so I finally just cast it off. Don’t need it – and life is just fine without. Call me an apostate, but I think for myself, and don’t need any theological fantasy to live a life full of purpose and good deeds. My life philosophy can be summed up in one thing – The Golden Rule. All else can stem from that. See? No promise of eternal life, or threat of eternal damnation required. Try it!

        • Whidbey, I totally understand. First, we have to separate church, churchiness, mad-made ceremonies/activities/ hypocrisies, etc., from God. This amazing planet was designed and created. As crazy as church-goers are sometimes, it is even more crazy to believe all the beauty in this world happened by accident. A greater being/beings created it.

          That is all you need to know and ignore the extremely screwed up nature of mankind.

      • Dear Tamra-one does not need your commandments to be a good person or community member. I get you believe it works for you.

        How about bearing false witness against your neighbor? What about when your religion besmirches rational thought purposefully?

        By only taking in theocratic, authoritarian news and repeating that back out you are ignoring the voices of the rest of us.

        Got any women pastors at your church?

    • Atheists murdered approximately 100,000,000 human beings in the last century in China, NAZI Germany, Soviet Union, Cambodia, Vietnam and elsewhere. No thank you…

      • ABT has a big hand in Alaska Republican politics. THAT concerns me about a chirch taking their ‘Jesus’ to the bigger state.

    • Just my humble opinion but, “someone” put into all of us the ability to understand what a “good work” actually is, Whidbey. If you read C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”, you’ll come to a part where he opines that men/women are separated from the animal world by our sense of right and wrong; our conscience. I know at times it may be difficult to see that in everyday life but, without it I think that we’d be incapable of it, care enough about another person to perform a good work and, probably, meet an inevitable doom much faster. Just sayin’.

      • Certainly worth considering, Brad. But of course one could also take the evolutionary view that cooperation between members of a species promotes it’s survival. If one looks closely, acts of cooperation and compassion exist in the lower animals as well as in Homo Sapiens. If one believes that God instilled these traits in Man, then one gets into all sorts of questions the can’t be answered either with logic, or with a straight face. Who was the first person into which God instilled these behaviors, or had a Soul? Where in the archaeological lineage of Man did they begin? And so forth…

        The debate continues, but of course, will never be definitively settled.

  5. You’re really going to try and play that card? The world’s religions, including Christianity, have plenty of blood on their hands, too:

    ‘https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war

    • Yet not nearly as much blood on their hands as has been shed by governments, primarily against their OWN people, just since the start of the 20th century.
      .
      Face the truth, Whidbey: government, aka organized institutional coercion, is profoundly evil. Not just some governments, but ALL of them, by their very nature.

  6. First Western country to ban slavery …. England.
    Driven by the politician Wiberforce after his conversion to Evangelical Christianity.

    Were the supporters of slavery atheists?
    I’d say so, even if they ‘claimed’ Angelican Christianity, like Henry VIII

  7. ABT infomercial on MRAK. There are many conservatives that are not evangelical Christians, and promotions like these are one of the reasons they vote for more moderate candidates.

  8. Absolutely love ABT. A fearless church that is unashamed of being followers of Jesus Christ. When I was moving out of Seattle, I had plenty of options. ABT was one of the primary factors that drew me to Anchorage. I pray for the best for ABT and hope to be a contributing member to their mission.

  9. Got it! (The liberal bloggers are):

    1. Whidbey thedog
    2. Reliable voter
    3. Maureen Sutterman
    4. Lucinda

    *reference for all MRA comments from them

  10. Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath. He kept it on the Seventh day and made it holy. The seventh day is Saturday. The 10 commandments include keeping the Sabbath. The Sabbath falls on the seventh day which is Saturday. It’s a mater of historical record that Constantine and the Catholics changed the Sabbath to Sunday. Therefore I ask the question is this church preaching and following Christ as they declare or are they just plain wrapped up in theology of men. They claim to teach truth so which is it? God says he hates men’s feast days. How important is the true Sabbath to God? Is it something men can just choose to do away with?

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