In the 1980s, Chris Reinke, then pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Anchorage, planned a ministry to go into communities that are too small to support traditional churches and pastors, gather people for ministry, and recruit and train lay leaders. Throughout Alaska there have been over 60 lay ministers who were trained for Word and Sacrament ministry. Some continued their education and became ordained pastors.
In 1993 a four-wheel drive truck and fifth-wheel trailer were purchased through an LWML grant. Pastor Ken Schauer was called as the first circuit rider/missionary pastor. He and his wife, Sandi, ministered on the road system. Early in their ministry it became apparent that children’s ministry was a good in-road into a community. In 1995 Sandi Schauer became the first servant events’ coordinator. Some of the annual 100 plus servant events have included Vacation Bible Schools, Christian athletic camps, and hammer and nail projects.
In 1998 Corbie and Nancy Cross were called as full time missionaries to southwest Alaska. During the summer of 1999, and for two more consecutive summers, they lived on a houseboat on the Kuskokwim River. However, their village contacts moved quickly beyond the river and the houseboat was no longer a useful tool for their type of ministry. It was then sold but Corbie and Nancy continued ministry in the Southwest until 2009 when Corbie took a call to become the pastor of Star of the North Lutheran Church in Kenai, Alaska. AMC hired David Grosz to continue the ministry in Southwest Alaska.
Ken and Sandi retired at the end of 2006. Ruth Zellar took on the responsibility of Servant Events Coordinator for the Road Ministry. Ruth and her husband, Gerry, have lived in Alaska for over 35 years and have served in lay ministry with The Alaska Mission for Christ since its beginning, and also in helping to coordinate summer servant events in the northern interior of Alaska. Her love for Alaska and past experience with the ministry has been a great benefit to the AMC staff.
Todd and Kim Roeske, former missionaries to the Philippines, arrived in 2006 and took over the ministry of the Copper River Basin, which included the mission church at Copper Center. The following year they were instrumental in the establishment of Mt. Drum Lutheran Church. In 2008 Todd assumed the duties for the Highway Ministry and for the lay ministry training. In 2010, Todd became the Interim Coordinator of Ministries. He continues in that role to the present time.