Pastor Lawrence W. Rodgers

Loving Mercy, Doing Justice, Walking Humbly with God


Rev. Lawrence W. Rodgers is a Spirit and grace-filled clergy person who appreciates the Spirit of God working in his life and the lives of God's people. He believes that the church must always walk in the footsteps of Christ, following his guidance and example. As a church leader, he tirelessly works on behalf of the mission and will of Christ.

Lawrence pastors the historic Second Baptist Church of Detroit in Detroit, Michigan. He is happily married to his wife, Bettae. Bettae, a doctoral candidate in health sciences at the University of Bridgeport, holds a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and a master's degree in pharmaceutical science. Their daughter Tatyanna, age seven, brings them great happiness, and their son, Theodore Lawrence, born March 4, 2019, is a source of blissful joy.

Lawrence is a graduate of Harding University, where he studied Bible and ministry. He graduated with honors, including the Most Outstanding Bible and Ministry Major. Lawrence is a 2017 graduate of Howard University School of Divinity, where he earned a master's degree in Divinity. He graduated at the top of his class and with the following honors: the Biblical Scholarship Award for excelling in biblical and theological studies; the Donald Barton Prize for most likely to succeed in pastoral leadership; and Delores Carpenter Award for "exemplifying the highest levels of academic achievement and embodying the commitment to do justice, love mercy, and walking humbly with God."

Lawrence regularly preaches, lectures, and teaches college and congregational classes. He has served as an adjunct instructor for Abilene Christian University. Lawrence also offers consultation for the Carl Spain Center for Race Studies and Spiritual Action, directed by Dr. Jerry Taylor. He has more than ten years of experience in congregational leadership in mentoring, preaching, advising, church growth, administration, and strategic planning.

He is also a researcher and lecturer with teaching experience and a record of publication in The Christian Century, Patheos, KineticsLive blog, Christian Chronicle, Race, Rhetoric, and Religion (R3) blog. Rodgers' work has also been featured in The Afro newspaper and the Baltimore Sun.

Lawrence has published chapters and articles in several academic and popular books. His work has also appeared in Reconciliation Reconsidered, edited by Dr. Tanya Brice. He was recently featured in Wisdom Commentary Proverbs by Dr. Alice O. Bellis (Liturgical Press).

Lawrence's international work has a focus on the continent of Africa. He has taught courses on theology and decolonization in eSwatini and Ghana. He also was a member of the Howard University delegation to Ethiopia in 2016, which returned the ancient manuscript Tweed MS100 to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Rodgers is an activist prominent in several social justice efforts. He has worked with the homeless community, survivors of human trafficking, youth mentor, and adult literacy. His passion for Re-entry citizens led him to become a Certified Trainer for Healing Communities USA under Rev. Dr. Harold Dean Trulear. Furthermore, Rodgers' commitment to food security fuels his interest in gardening and establishing church and community gardens. This passion is sustained and informed by his partnership with the Black Church Food Security Network pioneered by Rev. Dr. Heber Brown, III.

Lawrence plans to continue to fulfill the ministerial vision that has been laid upon his heart. He intends to continue to encourage the church locally and at large to realize its potential and heavenly call to be a refuge for the afflicted, broken, and lost. He is an advocate both in word and in deed. Ultimately, Lawrence believes the church on earth is a glimpse of the church in Heaven: a beloved community.