Pastor Kenneth J. Lance was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. From the ages of 4 to 12 my parents dropped my four brothers, two sisters and me off at the mainline denominational church for Sunday School. About a year later I went through the membership classes and joined the church. I have not been back there since then.
As a teen I became involved in drugs and alcohol. At the age of 18 I moved to a southern suburb of Chicago, Illinois. While there God began dealing with my heart, revealing my sin and hopeless condition. One day in late 1979 I prayed and gave God control of my life. I didn’t know anything about salvation at this point in my life, but knew that I had made a complete mess of my life and decided to give God full control.
A few weeks later a job was offered to me back in Grand Rapids, so I decided to move. It was only a short time later that a highschool friend called, saying he had someone he wanted me to meet. A meeting time was set up for a couple of days later and it turned out that this “someone” was a seminary student who was studying for full time evangelism. After introductions and small talk, the evangelist pointed out from the Bible how God had created everything perfect (Genesis 1). But then man ruined it by rebelling against the only commandment given to him (Genesis 3). The evangelist went on to explain how that sin broke fellowship with God and man and how God then sacrificed the innocent animals to provide a covering (clothes) for Adam and Eve. It was then made clear that those animals were a figure of Christ, Who would die for the sins of all men, including my own. The evangelist encouraged me to pray and ask Jesus Christ to save me from my sin and give me eternal life. I did so on my own later that same evening. It was the 3rd or 4th Thursday evening of March, 1980.
I soon became involved in my local, New Testament baptist church. But God gave me a craving to know His Holy Bible so I enrolled in Massillon Baptist College in the fall of 1981. Through a second year missions class assignment the Lord then called me to preach. I had met my future wife, Amy, about six months before leaving for college. She also enrolled in the fall of 1982. We graduated together in 1985 and were accepted a church planting missionaries with Continental Baptist Missions in the summer of 1986. However it soon became clear that this was not where God wanted us to serve Him so we resigned from the mission and sought a pastorate.
While seeking God’s place of full-time ministry, Amy and I stayed busy as Junior Church directors, AWANA leaders, Sunday School teachers and many more ministries. I was also a deacon. In 1993, because of my work closing, we moved to Kentucky. We quickly joined a local, New Testament baptist church there and became just as involved. But we only stayed in Kentucky for seven months, moving to south-central Michigan in the summer of 1994. Again, God placed us in a local, New Testament baptist church where we were able to jump right into the work.
Finally, or so it seemed to me, God’s call came in 1996. We moved the now-family of five to Clawson, Michigan to a recovery work at Bethany Baptist Church. Clawson is a suburb on Detroit’s north side. Our first Sunday had an attendance of 15 … five of us and ten members. The work grew to an average of about 45, with mid-50’s becoming almost regular when God made it clear that my work there was complete and it was time to move to another ministry.
That next ministry was Calvary Baptist Church of Bucyrus, Ohio, where we served from July, 2000, until October 2021. I became Senior Pastor here at Covenant Baptist in November 2021. Our church has a very loving congregation and is a joy to pastor. What a thrill it is to just allow God to have control of one’s life!!!