Get to know us.
Laurie began writing, teaching, and publishing her own curriculum in 2003 when the women of her church in Boston asked her to disciple them. She has a passion to teach God’s Word and to call and equip women to live the gospel. She has a unique gift for teaching the Bible in a winsome and engaging way encouraging women to know Jesus intimately, love Him deeply, and follow Him fully.
Laurie is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning. Laurie was a stay-at-home mom for 25 years and homeschooled for seven of those years. She has been teaching the Bible and counseling women for over 30 years. As their children grew she began to teach Bible studies and serve as a part of the women’s ministry team in her local church.
Her studies on Christian living, spiritual growth, and marriage are powerful, practical, insightful, and always theologically sound and Christ-focused. She writes and speaks for heart and life transformation. Studies written by her include the Falling in Love Again with Your Lord, Husband, and Children series, Fearless, Jesus I Need You, Jesus I Love You, Heart of a Woman, Precious Hope, and more. She has written two books, Lord, Look Inside My Heart and the Falling in Love Again with Your Lord book series.
Laurie and her husband, Kevin, live in Louisville, Kentucky. They are active members of Third Avenue Baptist Church which they love dearly. They have four grown children, three of which are married, eight grandchildren, and a wonderful Greyhound rescue, Hudson. They recently celebrated their 41st Wedding Anniversary. In her free time, Laurie loves to spend time with family, hike in the mountains, walk on the beach, and read in the evenings on their front screened porch.
Kevin had the vision for Thistlebend long before it became what it is today. He witnessed the transformation the study of God‘s Word and biblical discipleship had upon Laurie’s heart and life and the subsequent impact it had upon their marriage and family. As the Lord began to bring women into Laurie’s life to disciple, Kevin observed her teaching them what the Lord had taught her. Kevin longed to see other women’s lives impacted in a similar fashion. He shared that vision with Laurie and together they prayed and the Lord brought the women! That group met every week studying the book of 1 Peter. The following year the Lord moved them to Boston, Massachusetts where the ministry grew. Three years later he moved the ministry to Louisville Kentucky and Thistlebend Ministries was officially established as a 501(c)3 in 2007. What began as a small group of 7 women in their living room in Hudson, Ohio has grown to a ministry reaching thousands of women each day and over a million every year.
Kevin is a graduate of University of Cincinnati College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning. Kevin attended The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a focus on Leadership and served on staff at Southeast Christian Church for over 13 years. Prior to his call to full-time ministry, he was a product design, development, and marketing executive with a number of international corporations.
In his free time, Kevin loves to visit his children and grandchildren, ride his bike, read books on American history-particularly the Civil War, walk on the beach, and work in the yard.
Scott serves as the doctrinal editor at Thistlebend Ministries. He holds an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a B.S. in Secondary Education in Integrated Language Arts from Kent State University. After graduating from college, Scott traveled to Korea to teach English as Second Language and met Ms. Ahn In-ok. By the grace of God, Scott somehow convinced her to leave her country, her family, and her language and come to America to be his wife. She traded the family name Ahn for Kaczorowski. Scott and In-ok now live in Wisconsin Rapids, WI and Scott is the Senior Pastor of River Cities Church. Scott has a passion for the preaching of the Word, pastoral ministry, and international missions. Some would say (perhaps his wife) that he likes books a little too much.
Susan joined the Thistlebend team in 2007 after taking several life-changing Bible studies written by Laurie Aker—Falling in Love Again with Your Lord, Husband and Children, and At His Feet. She has served as an Abigail, as the director of Thistlebend’s Going Beyond the Gate outreach ministry, and currently as the Director of Weekly Discipleship Studies. Susan has a BA in History and Philosophy from Trinity University in San Antonio and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Houston. She served as a family counselor for Children’s Protective Services in Houston, TX, until getting married and moving to Louisville in 1996. She and her husband, Jeff, have three children. They are members at Throne of Grace Community Church. In her free time, Susan loves to read books on theology, go on date nights with her husband, and travel with her family.
Amy has been an active part of Thistlebend since 2005. Over the years, she has served in various roles with the ministry. Currently, Amy serves as an Abigail for our online studies.
A Louisville native, Amy & her husband, Chris, have five boys and a lovely daughter-in-law. Thistlebend has been instrumental in Amy’s spiritual growth and understanding of God’s Word, giving her real-life applications which have profoundly impacted her marriage and parenting.
Anna joined Thistlebend in 2021 after working in communications for several missions organizations. She received her B.A. in Communications from Anderson University (SC) and is currently working on her M.Div. at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Previously, she oversaw the external communications and story writing for World Mission Centre before working in curriculum development with the International Mission Board.
Originally from South Carolina, Anna and her husband, Ben, moved to Louisville two years ago and are now members of Fellowship Church Louisville. They look forward to welcoming their first child in September of this year.
Dottie joined the Thistlebend team again in 2018. We are thrilled to have her back!
Kevin has been a ministry assistant with Thistlebend since 2004 when he moved from Boston to Louisville. He is a hard-working, dedicated, faithful servant of the Lord and has a desire to serve others in every capacity. He loves reading, movies, and sci-fi...and lasagna! He is an active member of Third Avenue Baptist Church.
Greg Gilbert is the Senior Pastor of Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. He earned his B.A. from Yale University and his M.Div. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of "What Is the Gospel?" and the co-author of "What Is the Mission of the Church?" and "Who Is Jesus?," among others. Greg is married to Moriah and they have three children: Justin, Jack, and Juliet.
Kevin is the Senior Vice President for Advancement and Chief Operating Officer for The King‘s College in New York. He manages fundraising, resourcing, and coordinating the President’s Cabinet as they pursue daily operations at the College. Prior to this, Kevin worked in the Office of the President at Focus on the Family. At Thistlebend, we are thrilled to have Kevin’s experience and expertise in business and advancement and are grateful for his friendship and partnership in the gospel. He and his wife Lauren have three daughters: Emma, Lillian, and Blake.
Eric is the Lead Pastor of Capital City Grace Church in downtown Columbus, Ohio. He became Lead Pastor in 2014 after helping start the church in 2009. He is also the owner of The Design Refinery, a web design company based in Columbus, Ohio. Eric has been doing web design since 2008. He designed Thistlebend’s website. Eric and his wife Julie have been married since 2006. They live in downtown Columbus and have two young sons.
Kevin Aker, Founder/President
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