Kevin and Laurie are the founders of Thistlebend Ministries. 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 and Laurie are both graduates of University of Cincinnati College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning. Kevin attended The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2004-2006 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. 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 their local church.
Kevin and Laurie currently live in Louisville, Kentucky. They have four grown children, three of which are married, six grandchildren, and a big, black Greyhound rescue. They recently celebrated their 40th Anniversary in June. In their free time Kevin and Laurie love to spend time with their family, hike in the mountains, walk on the beach, read in the evenings, and sit with Kevin on their front screened porch.
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 Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. 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.
VP/Director of Weekly Discipleship Studies
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. In her free time, she loves to read books on theology, go on date nights with her husband, and travel with her family.
Women’s Ministry Advisor
Chelsey has been involved with Thistlebend since 2012. The Lord brought her to Louisville for a job after graduating from the University of Kentucky; it was then that she was introduced to Thistlebend studies and the Lord began to draw her heart to himself. She testifies the Lord has used Thistlebend to greatly impact her walk with Him. For the past two years Chelsey and her family have been members of Fellowship Church in Louisville where she has served on their women’s ministry team and specifically with their mentoring ministry. She and her husband, Cory, have also served as Gospel Community Group leaders in their church. Chelsey and Cory have been married for five years, and they have two boys that she has the privilege of staying home with, Kipton and Jaxton.
Jessica joined in 2019 after teaching middle school writing and Latin in the inner city of Indianapolis. She received a degree in English and minored in Biblical Studies and Classical Education, which furthered her desire to read, write, and teach. She was introduced to Thistlebend through a mutual friend in Louisville and has a special love for the city. After moving frequently as a pastor’s daughter, she and her husband Gabriel settled down in Indy, and she cherishes staying home with their first child, Hadassah.
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!
Executive Advisor to the Director
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.
Ed is a Financial Planning Advisor for PCA Retirement & Benefits (RBI). He joined RBI in March 2015. Ed planted and served as Pastor of Christ the King Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, VA for nine years. Prior to serving in Roanoke, Ed served as a Campus Minister for Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at the University of Washington for eight years after graduating from Covenant Theological Seminary. Ed is a graduate of Virginia Military Institute with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). Ed is married to Stefanie and they have four children. In his free time, Ed enjoys running, swimming, going on dates with Stefanie and hanging out with his family.
Church Partnership Advisor
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.
Jon regularly travels abroad to train pastors and leaders. He is married to Lindsay and they have two children. The Deedricks reside in Louisville, KY, and belong to Third Avenue Baptist Church, where Jon serves as an elder. He is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In his role as Resources Consultant for Thistlebend, Jon reviews Thistlebend‘s discipleship materials for their biblical and theological content, training methods, and impact.