KODIAK — Christian singer, composer and guitarist Ryan Stevenson wants to infuse a dark culture with the bright words of hope, and his music is his “megaphone” that clearly carries the message.
Lyrics of his composition “No Matter What” express his oft-told message: “All I know is God will never let go of you, no matter what.”
Stevenson, whose Christian songs are available on You Tube, will be performing in Kodiak, Monday at the Kodiak Bible Chapel in a benefit concert for the Kodiak Christian School. The concert begins at 7 p.m. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Kodiak Christian School, said principal, Katherine Baquero, who has listened to Stevenson’s music. She said this is a great opportunity for Kodiak.
After years of writing songs and performing live shows, Stevenson was discovered by Christian artist, TobyMac, who signed him to his label, Gotee Records. TobyMac was impressed by Stevenson’s understanding of the “delicate balance” of writing songs.
Stevenson has released three extended plays —”Yesterday, Today, Forever,” “Champion of the World,” and “Hold Nothing Back.” He’s had five songs on billboard charts.
“My ministry is about resonating with people, connecting heart to heart,” Stevenson said in an interview. He added that he wants to be a source of hope and a voice of compassion.
Stevenson said he’s hopeful that his music will draw believers “to a new realm of worshiping the Creator, breaking down walls and embracing those the world considers unembraceable.”
Stevenson was brought up in the rural agricultural town of Bonanza, Oregon, where he was exposed to hymns in church.
Stevenson credits his late mother, Phyllis, for fostering his musical skills. Also influential in Stevenson’s life was his youth pastor, who, during Stevenson’s senior year in high school, gave him a guitar, because he felt that God was telling him to do so.
“Up until that point, I’d never played, sang or written songs,” Stevenson said.
While attending Northwest Christian College Stevenson met and played music with Christian artists such as Shawn McDonald, Paul Wright and Tyson Paoletti.
“God lit a fire in my heart, and I literally learned to play overnight. It just fit and made sense to me, so I started writing songs and leading worship during chapel services,” he said.
While at Northwest Stevenson and his roommate, Paul Wright, formed a small band, primarily focusing on acoustic music, and performed at restaurants in the vicinity of Eugene, Oregon.
After graduating, Stevenson put his musical aspirations on hold. He got married and worked 50 hours a week as a paramedic.
Stevenson said this job greatly impacted his music.
“For several years, I spent time in the ambulance, encountering people in some of the most horrific and catastrophic circumstances of their lives. The Lord used the time to truly give me a unique perspective for life; a special sensitivity and value for life. I really got to see first-hand how uncertain this world is, and I got to witness a lot storms that people were facing. Because of this experience, it also encouraged me to hold on to hope as I’ve faced my own storms throughout the years,” he said.
Stevenson continued pursuing a career in music after winning a musical contest at the Idaho State Fair.
Stevenson’s wife, Kim, is a worship leader at the Vertical Bible Chapel in Illinois.
This will be Stevenson’s first trip to Kodiak, but he has been to Alaska before.
“I was in Anchorage in January,” he said.”We were snowed in, and did not leave the hotel.”
It is appropriate that Stevenson is sharing his talents for the benefit of Christian education.
“I am a huge supporter of Christian education,” he said. “I believe that the answer for the world’s problems is Jesus. I believe that our great country needs revival, and also feel that it’s up to Christians to usher revival in. However, we have to be careful, in our Christian schools, to avoid creating our own bubbles of isolation, and find ways to integrate students of all races and socio-economic statuses. Christian education should never be just for those who can afford it. It should be a priority for us as Christian families to find ways to create environments of nurturing and safety for all students.”
Baquero said she is “looking forward to seeing the community come together (at the concert) in support of KCS and its ministry.”
Tickets for the concert are available at Fly By, the Kodiak Bible Chapel and Oceans United in the Assembly of God Church on Sean Circle.
For more information about the concert, contact Sue Rohrer at 539-5835.