Being committed to God's inspired and authoritative Word, it is the mission of Soldotna Bible Chapel to worship God in spirit and in truth, to edify and encourage one another to personal holiness, and to proclaim to a lost world the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Getting to Know Us
We at Soldotna Bible Chapel would like to introduce you to our church fellowship. We are a family of God's people striving to do His will in our lives. The Chapel has been ministering to Soldotna since 1963. It has been a growing vibrant church throughout the years and it seeks always to honor the Lord Jesus above all else.
A Brief History of Soldotna Bible Chapel
The Soldotna Bible Chapel, originally organized under the name of Faith Baptist Church on August 19, 1963, came into being when two groups of believers who had been meeting in the Bob Schmidt and Elmer Gaede homes joined together. Services were held at the Gaede's homestead, at Solid Rock Bible Camp and then later at the Community Hall in Soldotna until land was acquired on which to build. The church's name was changed to Soldotna Bible Chapel on July 14, 1964.
Abram Snavely, a representative of the Billy Graham Association from Pennsylvania, was called to be the first pastor. Because Pastor Snavely was committed to showing films for the Billy Graham Association, he was not able to serve the church regularly. Roald Amundsen, formerly a pastor in Nome, had moved to the community to begin Missionary Aviation Repair Center. He consented to be pastor until a full-time pastor could be found. Carl Lindman, who at one time pastored a church in Anchorage, accepted the call to become pastor of the Chapel. He arrived from Minnesota in August 1968 with his wife Florence, and son Gary.
For a time youth work was led by volunteers. Gary Klodt was called to be Youth Pastor and arrived from Minnesota with his wife, Jeanette, in August 1981. The Lindmans expressed their desire to retire in 1983 and they returned to Minnesota in June of 1984. The search for a Senior Pastor led to the church calling Ted Inabnit from Montana. Ted arrived in the spring of 1985 with his wife, Elaine, and their four sons, Daniel, David, Timothy, and Jonathon. Soon after their arrival, Gary Klodt was designated as Associate Pastor. In the fall of 1991 Dan Inabnit was added as Youth Pastor and served in that capacity until June 1993. Due to concerns about Elaine's health, Pastor Ted took a sabbatical for several months. During that time Pastor Gary led several men in ministering to the congregation from the pulpit. Shortly after the Inabnits' return, Ted felt led to resign his pastorate, effective June 1995. In May of 1995 Todd Beaudin was called to serve as Youth Pastor, and he arrived with his wife, Penny in July 1995. Pastor Gary led as Interim Pastor until John Rysdyk was called as Senior Pastor, then Pastor Gary resigned. John arrived in September 1995 with his wife, Renee', and their three children, Candice, Whitney, and Johnny.
Cozene Wikstrom joined the staff as church secretary part-time in 1996. The position is now full-time and is shared by Rhee Stables and Patti Gaede. Jim Dunn was called as Associate Pastor and began working half-time in January 1997 as director of Adult Ministries and Counseling. He and his wife Terry are long time community residents. Jim became full-time Associate Pastor in January 2003. He took a sabbatical in 2011, then came back half-time and requested that a replacement be found. Jim retired January 2013. Gary Lindman became part-time Director of Music in November 2002 after he and his wife Marsha returned to Soldotna from Point Hope. Gary plans music for worship services and leads the worship team weekly. He also directs choirs for Easter and Christmas programs. Budd Tressler joined the staff full-time in a custodial/maintenance position in 2002. Justin Oleson works part-time in assisting Budd.
With an ever growing children's ministry, the need for a Children's Pastor became evident. Kevin Spence was called and came on staff in the summer of 2007. Kevin and his wife, Donna, and their three children, Nathan, Caleb, and Rachel, had been in the community for several years. In addition to directing children's ministries, Kevin administrates personnel and oversees financial matters. In May of 2013 Derek Black accepted the call as Associate Pastor, returning from a year in Bethel with his wife, Laura, and their two sons, Elias and Jathan. Derek had served on staff at the Chapel during Jim Dunn's sabbatical. In the fall of 2018, Derek and Laura followed the Lord’s call to start a recovery church in Soldotna. The Chapel is currently looking for an Associate Pastor to take Derek’s place.
From the beginning, the Chapel has fully supported missions, both at home and abroad. In 1970 support began for Larry and Vicki Sharp who were preparing to go to the mission field (Vicki was a charter member of the Chapel) and the Hector McMillan family, who were serving in Zaire, Africa. Vicki was the first Chapel member to serve full-time in missions. Others sent out from the Chapel into full-time missions include Tom and Maggie Calder (Italy), Alan and Pat Jefferson (Alaska), Jim and Martha Towner (Mexico, then Spain), Vern and Sandy Frykholm (Texas) and Jacob and Jennifer Barkman (South Carolina). Members of the congregation have participated in short term missions to every continent (except Antarctica), with frequent mission trips to Mexico, Russia and various places in Alaska. Currently we support 21 missionary families and 8 mission organizations with a monthly budget of $13,733. The Chapel also has several missionary members who are actively involved in the ministries of the church.
The original Bible Chapel building was located at 44640 Parkway Avenue. Construction began on a basement in 1964, with the first services being held on Easter, 1965. The upper structure was completed September 1967. An education unit was added in 1972 and a gymnasium in 1974. In 1983 plans for a new building were set in motion. Land was purchased and construction began at 300 West Marydale. Our first worship service was held in what is now known as the Upper Room, on October 17, 1993. Construction began on the gymnasium and classroom addition in 1998. We held our first worship services in the gymnasium in February 2002. With every building project except the very first one, the Chapel has remained debt free, and work has been completed by skilled members of the congregation, contractors, and others who have come and volunteered their time.
Church governance was originally via a Church Board, which functioned administratively with congregational approval. It consisted of the Deacon Board (which served as the spiritual leaders of the church), the Trustees, pastoral staff, and the chair of each ministry committee (Missions, Christian Education, Music/Worship, Women's Ministries). In 2008 the Chapel moved from congregational rule to government by a Council of Elders, which became the administrative and spiritual leaders. Deacons and Deaconesses are nominated by the congregation and serve on one of five committees: Watchcare, Missions, Congregational Life, Christian Education and Financial Stewardship.
For an even more complete history, download and read here.