First Baptist Church of Kenton, Kenton, OH

Meet the Pastors

DSC 5466Pastor Craig Mansfield

I am a native of the northwestern Ohio area. I was born and raised in Defiance County. At the age of 6 I entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ. During my high school years I became more serious in my pursuit of a more meaningful relationship with Christ.

I will never forget the moment I point to when God invited me to join Him in full-time ministry. I did not hear any audible voices. I did not see any lights or beings in the sky. What I experienced was a deep longing to reach young people for God. Several classmates were talking of their most recent weekend party. They seemed aimless in their life as they lived from one party experience to another. The question in my heart was, "Who will tell them there is new way of life found in a relationship they had never tried?" That relationship was not another girlfriend or boyfriend, but rather Jesus Christ.

As a result I began to aim my life towards full-time Christian service. God led me to Pensacola Christian College. There the Lord continued to mold and shape me for a Senior Pastorate position. After college I began work as a youth pastor in the Akron, Ohio area. For eight years God used my wife and me in this work. This time was preparation for the current position as pastor of this local family of believers at First Baptist.

In the current position it is my goal to point others to Jesus Christ. Our mission as a church body is to build lives one at a time to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

Why do we press towards this? We believe that the Bible teaches that without Christ we can do nothing. If we desire to live our lives to their fullest potential then we must follow the One that designed us—Jesus Christ. As we live our lives in devotion to Him we will see His awesome power working through our powerlessness.

I invite you to join us on this journey to see what God can do with those who devote themselves to His ways.

 


 

ThomsensPastor Thomsen

Pastor Thomsen grew up in Wisconsin and accepted Christ as a young child, being baptized with his father and brother in a lake near their house. With many good Christian mentors, he grew in the Lord through High School, deciding to go to a Christian university for college. He graduated from Taylor University where he met his wife Lisa, they have been married for almost 30 years.

After working several years in non-ministry employment, both he and his wife were called into missions. As they prepared for this calling, Pastor Thomsen was ordained in 2000. This pursuit of missions led to them to Bangladesh where they served as missionaries for two terms, working at a hospital there. Since Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries, it involved much care for the less fortunate. Their primary ministry was to Muslims which gave them an appreciation and a heart for reaching out to those who have different belief systems. They returned to the US due to health problems after their second term.

Following two years of employment in education and technology fields, Pastor Thomsen found himself unemployed. All his efforts to find a job were frustrated until he decided to fast and pray for God’s guidance. His prayer was, “whatever you want God, I will do it, just show me what you want”. After praying this and fasting for about 40 minutes, he received a phone call from Pastor Mansfield, asking him to come help at First Baptist Church. He told Pastor Mansfield he was currently unemployed and that it was obviously God’s timing for the call to come and be a pastor.

He has served here since then with an emphasis on missions and counseling. Pastor Thomsen and Lisa have one child, Brianna, who helps keep them young. Pastor Thomsen’s greatest desire is for spreading the Gospel message and seeing people restored as they find peace with God.