Answering the Call When it isn’t Easy

Lawrence Kirk, ’88, came to OBU as a young husband and father of three to answer God’s call on his life to enter into ministry.

After graduating from high school, Kirk attended college for two years and began working in the computer business. During a revival in 1979, Kirk heard a young man preach and knew God was calling him into full-time ministry.

“I was so inspired by his theological training; I knew I wanted to give God more than ‘sitting in the pew’ on Sundays,” Kirk said. “I wanted to pursue theological training.”

OBU provided that opportunity when in 1986 Kirk left his job and entered OBU as a full-time student.

“At this particular point in my life I was married with three small children and a father-in-law who thought I had lost my mind,” he said. “I commuted from Oklahoma City to Shawnee every day and completed my degree in 1988.”

Many OBU professors have made a profound and lasting impression on Kirk.

“Dr. Dick Rader helped me believe in myself; Dr. Bob Evans taught me to appreciate the Greek language; Dr. Warren McWilliams taught me to think critically; and my friend, Bobby Kelly, has taught me how to appreciate the Scriptures and how to make them relevant to this current generation,” he said.

Kirk says he can remember struggling in some of the classes but always being encouraged by the professors who never gave him what he didn’t earn. That integrity meant a lot to Kirk and as a result, his motto with his current students is ”excellence without excuse.”

“One of my fondest memories is when I took a course from Dr. Mack Roark,” he said. “I got a ‘C’ on one of my assignments and I was devastated. I went in to talk to Dr. Roark and he said ‘in 15 or 20 years from now, no one will ever know about this grade.’ I saw Dr. Roark a few years ago and reminded him about that statement jokingly saying, ”It’s been over 30 years now and I still remember that ‘C.’”

After graduating from OBU, Kirk entered into the ministry as the assistant pastor at St. James Baptist Church in Spencer, Oklahoma. He also worked on his Master of Divinity by taking courses through Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s satellite campus in Shawnee. Since the degree also required 30 hours of course work to be completed on the Southwestern campus, he traveled for 42 weeks to Fort Worth, Texas, and completed his degree in May 2002.

“After graduation, I was called to my present position as director of Christian education for the St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. This was another challenging time in my life whereas my dad struggled with cancer and passed away in 2014.”

Citing the support of his family, his pastor and his church family, Kirk completed his doctorate from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, in May 2017.

Kirk works to provide relevant learning opportunities for the members of St. John through Sunday school classes for all age groups and does teacher training workshops across the country, motivating Christian education leaders to press for excellence in teaching God’s word.

Kirk also serves as a lecturer in OBU’s Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry. He and his wife conduct marriage ministry workshops and they love to see how God has used their struggles through life and marriage to encourage others.

“Many tell me that the Bible came alive to them in my teaching, but I remind them the Bible has always been alive; you just came alive to the Bible,” he said.

Kirk married his high school sweetheart 45 years ago. Together they have one son, two daughters and six grandchildren. In his spare time, Kirk enjoys bass fishing.