Up Close and Personal with Mike Lawrie

With the 2013 Southern Ohio Pastors Conference just around the corner, we wanted to spend some time letting you get to know the men who will be speaking at this year’s conference by asking them to answer a few questions for us. Here’s the first of a series of posts we will be running over the next two weeks leading up to the conference on September 21. 


Mike Lawrie – River Valley Community Church – Waverly, Ohio

What is your ministry background and education?

Upon graduating from Western Michigan University in 1995 with a BA in History and Political Science, I accepted an interim job as a youth pastor at Ward Presbyterian (EPC) in the Detroit area.  The job contract was only for one year, yet, during that time I understood that God was calling me to full time ministry.  I moved to Denver in the summer of 1996 and began working at a Christian school teaching History and Bible, but I missed laboring in the local church and, thus, began praying for a church to serve.

In 1998, I became a full time youth pastor at Deer Creek Community Church (PCA) in Littleton, CO where I would remain until the summer of 2005.  It was here where I was mentored by a senior pastor who helped shape my vocational identity and granted me amazing opportunities to lead, teach, and shepherd throughout the church.  After ten years of work, I made the decision, along with my wife and pastor, to attend seminary and further vocational formation and seek the Lord for the next season of life.

My family and I moved back to the great state of Michigan so I could attend Calvin Theological Seminary and be near our extended family.  In 2008, I graduated with a Masters of Divinity and began searching for a local church to serve as a pastor.  Through Divine intervention (seriously, how does a Michigan man move to Ohio!) I discovered a community church in Waverly, OH looking for a lead pastor.  I accepted the job at River Valley Community Church and began the first week of January, 2010 where I remain.

What is God doing in your church and/or community right now that is really exciting?

I love the River Valley community and her desire to know God and make him known.  It has been exciting to be part of a church that has a sincere desire to serve locally, that gives generously when crisis arrives, and supports each other in tough times.  God continues to shape us, form us, and lead us as we commit to growing deeper in our faith.  We are constantly learning and I pray we maintain that attitude.

What do you hope to see accomplished by the SOPC?

I love the idea of the SOPC as it works to gather and equip spiritual leaders in our area.  I have gained much along the way from networks, workshops, conferences and connections.  Of all the components of the coalition, the relationships are most important to me.  By gathering us, we begin to see what God is doing in our area and we realize how big His Kingdom really is.  By gathering us, we begin to see how important friendships are and what the body of Christ really looks like.

What are some ways that your background in ministry has helped prepare you for your current ministry context?

Looking back on nearly 18 years of full time ministry, I marvel at the experiences God has allowed me to have.  I have served and labored with a myriad of people; worshiped in some incredibly diverse churches; traveled to nearly two dozen countries; studied under some brilliant and compassionate leaders and teachers; and have compiled enough stories, both tragic and hilarious, to fill a tome.  I am grateful for the journey I’ve been on and hope that I am able to apply what I have learned along the way as I continue to serve the Kingdom of God.

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  1. […] Mike Lawrie is the lead pastor at River Valley Community Church in Waverly, Ohio, and will be speaking during the second session, Disciple Making & Preaching, as well as sitting on the Variations in Small Group Discipleship panel discussion. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University (BA) and Calvin Theological Seminary (MDiv). […]

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