Staff Thursday: Mike Laurence
Every now and then I publish a blog on a staff member (used to be called “Staff Thursday”). Today: Lead Pastor, Mike Laurence.
Rhode Island Bred
So, frankly, this is awkward. It’s much easier for me to write a blog on any other staff person than my Boss! But here goes…
To know Pastor Mike is to understand that he was raised in Rhode Island. And the way he tells it, it was not an easy time. His parents each died during his childhood and Mike, at times, had to fend for himself on the streets. Perhaps this is where his tenacious streak comes from? A kind of scrappy, gonna-make-it-happen sort of guy. You could say our Pastor likes to roll his sleeves up and stare down the devil…or other challenges the church might face.
From Head to Handshake
Pastor Mike spent a brief stint as a young man rolling with the charismatics but wound up at that staid New England seminary known for its doctrinal confessions and biblical axioms: Gordon-Conwell. Gordon-Conwell has fueled generations of New England style evangelicals armed with underlined Bibles and extensive notebooks and a message many of our ancient New England forebearers would be proud of.
And Pastor Mike could have hung his hat on that way of being pastor…but he grew restless. He started to see reality differently. Just maybe the world was changing from church as teaching center producing doctrinaire Christians to church as a place to belong, a community of Believers, whose discipleship was lived out less in classrooms and more in the living rooms and businesses of our community: less as education center and more as an outreach to those seeking the love and grace of Jesus, and willing to live it too! And not just living rooms and businesses either, but into the highways and byways, the alleys and dilapidated places of a tired New England.
In short, Pastor Mike got on fire about a Gospel that changes people and transforms whole communities!
Heart of Faith
Sometimes it might seem the whiteboard in his office is the scribbling of a corporate boardroom with strategic trajectories, bar graphs, and targeted goals. But underneath all that is a sincere, prayerful desire to be on board with what God is doing. His dogged commitment to his mission is grounded in his life with Jesus which continues both to challenge his assumptions and strengthen his resolve.
And that last thing is key. You see, you can follow a leader who has a good idea, a brilliant plan, a bit of charisma, or pays you to follow. But you won’t be able to follow with enthusiasm and make that extra umph if that leader isn’t focused on what is Beyond him/herself and points you to It.
That’s where the real joy and effort stems from.
I’m keen on this FCCH team…and keen on Pastor Mike!