Spotlight Interview: Heiden Ratner

By Prestonwood Network Staff

Prestonwood Network: WALK Church just recently celebrated its 4 Year Anniversary in a very difficult city (Las Vegas), can you share with us how God has worked these past four years (and more) to use WALK Church to reach so many for Jesus?

Heiden Ratner: We recently celebrated our 4-year birthday at WALK Church and praise God, we have so much to celebrate and thank Him for! Within our 4 years of planting, we have seen over 100 people respond to the gospel by faith and take their next step of baptism. We have also seen God use us to bring hope, encouragement, and resources to a public school in our city, Schofield Middle School (The school we meet at for Sunday services). We launched a Food Pantry out of the school that now feeds hundreds of people every other week. We are seeing kids and students in our WALK Youth Ministry come to know the Lord and so much more. And we truly believe this is just the begging of all that God has in store for us at WALK!

Prestonwood Network: What is the story behind the name WALK Church?

Heiden Ratner: The name WALK Church comes from a verse of Scripture that radically changed my life during my college years. That verse being, Colossians 2:6: “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him…”After reading this verse, I began to realize that Jesus doesn’t call us just to believe in Him, but also to walk in Him. We are passionate about seeing people set free to walk in Jesus!

Prestonwood Network: Why is it so important for church planters to have strong relationships and partnerships with other churches?

Heiden Ratner: It’s important for church planters to have strong relationships and partnerships with other churches because we can always learn from one another in some capacity. We truly believe leaders are learners. We also embrace the Kingdom mentality that believes we can do far more together than we can on our own. I also heavily believe in the subject of honor and how Romans 12:10 calls us to “outdo each other in showing honor.” Partnering together with other churches in the gospel is a great way to establish a culture of honor in our churches and cities.

Prestonwood Network: What are a few ways that WALK Church serves the local community?

Heiden Ratner: We serve our local community by making a difference through our food pantry at WALK Church and Schofield Middle School (SMS). We also facilitate a cook-out for all the staff at SMS on a monthly basis, just to bless the teachers and administration. Every year we reserve the month of March to do what we call “Love Strong” month. It’s during this month we identify partners all around our city to serve with and help meet needs. We also partner with our Women’s Medical Resource Center and a Homeless Ministry named Goodness Gracious Ministries.

Prestonwood Network: How do you personally ensure that you are leading your family well, before focusing on leading your church well?

Heiden Ratner: I personally ensure that I’m leading my family well before our church by inviting my wife, Neena into this conversation and listening to her words. Weekly we have a date-night carved out, which I do believe is helpful for our marriage and relationship, and during this time I will often create space to ask how I’m doing in these areas. She will be honest with me and I really do value what she has to say. There are times I need to improve in this area and reprioritize how I’m spending my time and Neena is God’s gift in helping me see that. She is the best!

Prestonwood Network: What is the greatest lesson that God has taught you this year?

Heiden Ratner: The greatest lesson God has taught me this year is: The lesson of God Dependence. When it comes to God dependence, I’ve learned more than ever this year the power of personal and corporate prayer. Not necessarily because prayer in itself is powerful. Rather, because of the One we are praying to. One quote we have adopted as a rallying cry for our church is: “When man works, man works. But when man prays, God works.” As our prayer life has leveled up, so has our church. There is a powerline connected to WALK that is different in this season, and we believe much of that has to do with our prayer life increasing.

Prestonwood Network: Why do you believe so strongly in church planting, and why is church planting especially important today?

Heiden Ratner: We believe especially in church planting and its importance because we are convinced that we can’t reach our city on our own. The task is too weighty and too large – we don’t have the capacity in ourselves to reach 2.6 million people. However, by planting churches that plant churches we have a chance.

We believe the most effective way to make disciples and reach cities in North America and around the globe with the gospel will come from planting new, vibrant, gospel saturated, and multiplying churches. Statistics show that people are more open to visiting a new church than an already existing church, and while several churches are dying each and every year, we are faced with the challenge to plant more churches all the more. (Tim Keller, Defining a Gospel Movement) This is something that needs to be on the forefront of our ministries and that’s one of the reasons we are so grateful for the Prestonwood Network.

Prestonwood Network: How can we be praying for you, your family, and your church?

Heiden Ratner: Please be in prayer for me (Heiden) as I’m in the process of developing a new discipleship pathway at WALK.

Please also pray for my family, Neena, Epaph (4), Asa (soon to be 2), and Heiden Jr. (5 months) as we are learning this new stage of being a family of 5. We are excited about this season of life and are learning one step at a time. Our boys definitely keep us on our toes, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Pray for Neena and I to have good and healthy communication and to continue to grow closer to one another the more we parent and lead our church.

Please also be in prayer for our WALK Church as we are getting ready to plant our first church out of WALK this upcoming year. We are also needing to hire a new kids director and we need wisdom on who this will be. Thank you!

Prestonwood Network: Thank you so much, Heiden. It is a great joy to hear about how God is using you and WALK Church to reach the city of Las Vegas with the Gospel. Keep pressing on, and we will continue to keep praying for you.

Heiden Ratner serves as Lead Pastor at WALK Church in Las Vegas, N.V. Follow him on Twitter @HeidenRatner.

More information on WALK Church can be found at http://www.walkchurch.com. Please feel free to share a word of encouragement or prayer with Pastor Heiden at heiden@walkchurch.com.

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