Ryan Denton founded Christ in the Wild Ministries in 2016 while serving as a Pastor in Navajo Nation, NM. Since then he has been engaged in gospel proclamation in the "wild" on a daily basis.
The LORD saved Ryan at age 22. Until then he'd been living with a woman out of wedlock. He was using whiskey and marijuana regularly. His cussing would’ve humbled any sailor. He’d spent time in jail for physically assaulting a police officer. And then a friend died. The Lord used DEATH to show Ryan that he too was mortal. Ryan realized his bones would one day be plunged into the earth, regardless of what he accomplished in this life. He realized how vain it was to trust in his own strength, "whose breath is in his nostrils." He realized life truly is "vanity of vanities, all is vanity."
God gave Ryan a hunger for the things of Him. He began to read the Word of God. One night Ryan took a walk in rural New Mexico and looked at the stars and saw that "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge." The majesty of God pummeled him. The beauty of Christ enflamed him. The Holy Spirit sealed him, shedding abroad the Love of God in his heart. The reality of Christ's death and resurrection became more tangible than any drug or woman he’d ever known.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8
Convicted of sin, the outward ones began to vanish, the boozing and the smoking and the whoring and the cussing, but he became aware of an even fiercer battle between sin and holiness that was taking place in his thoughts. This warfare continues today, as each day he labors to become more conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and as each day his flesh attempts to resist him. Yet one thing he does, "forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead," he seeks "to press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called him heavenward in Christ Jesus." He can say with Paul that even though he’s “the chief of sinners” and hasn't yet attained "the goal," by the grace of God he is what he is.
Ryan graduated from the University of New Mexico with BA’s in Philosophy and English, then St. John’s College in Santa Fe with a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts. The whole time while in secular academia he was resisting God’s call on his life to preach. It was after Santa Fe when he gave up the world's pursuits for good. The repulsion and futility he felt towards secular academics and the ambitions of the world catapulted him into the sole pursuit of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he’s done ever since, through the grace of our Lord. Ryan married his wife Tasha soon after. He and his wife live in El Paso, TX.
"Preach the gospel. Die. Be forgotten." - Nicolaus Zinzendorf
Even while growing up, Nathan Santillana thought preaching in the open air was the pinnacle of Christianity. Nathan was saved at a young age and was preserved from falling into the typical temptations of drinking, drugs, and sex. Eventually, however, the bombardment of secular thought nearly tore apart his faith. Only through the preservation of the Holy Spirit did the Lord keep Nathan from rejecting or denying the faith.
After beginning his studies at the University of Texas at El Paso, Nathan was aware the Lord was calling him to preach in the open air. A year passed, and the fear of man kept him from doing it. Eventually the call became deafening, and the Lord worked mightily by bringing key people into his life that began to aid him in his walk and encourage him as a preacher. He met Ryan Denton one day after hearing him preach on campus. Nathan soon realized this was the aid the Lord provided, and soon he began preaching.
Since then, the Lord’s direction and guidance continues to be immense. Not only is Nathan preaching on a regular basis now, but he has learned more about biblical conversion, the true gospel, and how to defend the faith biblically. One important thing has also been learned: preaching in the open air does not produce the levels of praise that were expected. Most do not see it as the “pinnacle of Christianity.” Nathan realizes that open air preaching brings about much reproach from both unbelievers and, unfortunately, sometimes believers. But as man diminishes, the Son of God increases, and for this Nathan rejoices.
Nathan works and attends college in El Paso.