Mike is a native of Chester, SC and grew up in Gastonia, NC. He and his wife Sandra have been married since 1985. They have two grown sons, Aaron, his wife Lane and Andrew. Pastor Mike is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Seminary. Mike says, “I enjoy a good cup of coffee anytime of day, reading, college basketball, and anything that involves being with my wife Sandra.” Mike’s passion is taking the gospel to the nations and teaching the Word of God to God’s people so that they may be built up in their faith and equipped to glorify God through daily living. Mike has been serving at Gainsville since 2005.
What is your hometown?
I was born in Chester, SC, grew up in Gastonia, NC and now I make my home in Lincolnton, NC.
Tell us about your family.
I am married to a wonderful woman of God. My wife and best friend in life is Sandra. We have two grown sons, Aaron and his wife Lane who live in Ft. Worth, Texas. Our youngest son Andrew and his wife Jody live in Pembroke, NC.
How did you meet your wife?
In the early 1980’s Sandra and I were introduced by a mutual friend (he was dating her at the time). She was playing softball in Dallas, NC. We began dating and were married in 1985. It was Sandra that first introduced me to what it meant to be a true disciple of Christ.
Where did you go to school?
Ashbrook High in Gastonia, NC 1977, Southeastern College at Wake Forest 2005, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary 2011.
Tell us how you were saved.
I made a profession of faith as a 10 year-old boy. Yet, there was no love for Christ and no evidence of regeneration. Years later, after seeing Christ lived out in my wife Sandra and repeatedly hearing the truth of God’s Word from the pulpit of the church we attended, I was convicted of my sin and my need for Christ. I confessed my sin and repented, trusted Jesus to save me and committed my life to follow Him. Jesus changed my life that day and I have never been the same since.
What is your favorite passage of scripture? Why?
I would have to say my favorite verse is Philippians 3:12-14. Paul speaks of “forgetting those things in the past and pressing on toward the upward call of Christ Jesus. I am so thankful for the change that God has brought in my life and the ongoing change He continues to bring.
Favorite book of the Bible? Why?
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is probably my favorite. In chapter 2, you find the gospel clearly presented. Chapters 5 and 6 provide directions for life regarding marriage, family, vocation as well as instructions on living the Christian life and fighting the good fight.
What area(s) of theology interests you most?
I am especially interested in the doctrines of Christ and the church. I also enjoy very much studying church history.
How and when did you end up at Gainsville Baptist Church?
God guided me to Gainsville by way of Scott Barlowe. Scott and I met at Southeastern Seminary. He was a former member of GBC and knew the church was without a pastor. In the Spring of 2005, knowing that I was about to graduate from Southeastern, Scott asked me to submit my resume’. After two preaching engagements, a couple of sweet meetings around the table for introductory purposes, and a Christ-honoring interview with the search committee, the Lord graciously directed me to serve Him in Lincolnton at Gainsville Baptist.
What restaurants might we find you at on a Friday night?
We’ll eat almost anywhere, but some of our personal favorites are Court Street Grille in Lincolnton, The Home Place, again in Lincolnton and any place that “serves the swine.” I love eastern style BBQ.
Outside of the Scriptures, what is the most influential book you’ve read?
God has used many books to shape me, including Knowing God by J.I. Packer, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper and anything by A.W. Tozer.
Who is the most influential person/pastor in your life (that you actually know):
Without hesitation, I have to say there are three men that God has used to shape me; my Dad, (Kenneth Rice), Richard Brown, and Danny Akin. My Dad gave me his “gift of gab” and he taught me responsibility. Richard Brown was my pastor and always will be. God used Richard to lead me to Christ, teach me about expositional preaching and he taught me what it meant to serve selflessly. Dr. Akin is a man whose life and leadership have taught me much about being a shepherd and leading people toward change for the sake of the gospel.
What artist/bands/albums are most likely music to be on your MP3 player?
Most of what fills my iPod is preaching or audio books. Go figure. However, I enjoy music by Indelible Grace, Red Mountain Music, and recently I have been enjoying music by Jack Johnson and John Mayer.
What would someone find you doing on your day off or on a weekend?
As much as I would love to say that weekends find me biking, hiking or running, the truth is I am usually reading or watching college football or basketball. However, when the opportunity arises, Sandra and I enjoy trips to the Biltmore Estate and the beach.
What do you love most about your ministry?
I love seeing God working in the lives of the people here at Gainsville. It thrills me when people share how God has grown them and increased their desire for Him and His Word. I love seeing new people serving and excited about being ministers. I love to see them share the gospel. I love it when they come back from mission trips ready to go again. I love it when we stand around together after church sharing our lives and no one seems to want to leave. That says to me that people love each other.
Where would you like to see Gainsville Baptist Church in 5 years? 10 years?
I want Gainsville to be a “Biblically Healthy” church that is reproducing itself. I pray we will be a body of believers that (1) faithfully and fearlessly share the gospel (2) that we offer systematic opportunities to equip believers for service, (3) passionately loving and serving one another and (4) I hope we will have planted at least one church in an unreached area whether that is overseas or in an unchurched area of the U.S.
What do you want to say to any first-time visitors at GBC?
Welcome! We’re glad you chose to worship with us. Give us an opportunity to get to know you and allow me to tell you how why Gainsville Baptist Church is a great place to grow and to exercise your faith.
What do you want to say to the members at GBC?
Both Sandra and myself honestly love you and we are thankful for the privilege to serve alongside of you. Thank you for every word of encouragement and every act of kindness that you have shown us. Thank you also for allowing us to make mistakes and allowing us to be ourselves. We love each of you dearly.