pastorAL TEAM

  • Jonathan Blankenship

    Lead Pastor

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    Jonathan returned to his hometown of Charlotte in 2008 to re-launch Laurel Baptist Church. He was raised in a pastor's home and began following Christ at a young age. Jonathan has earned a Bachelor's degree in Pastoral Ministry and a Master's degree in Biblical Studies. He is passionately committed to expository preaching, having an intense desire to make the word of God fully known so that the people of God might be fully mature (Colossians 1:28-29). He and his wife Kathleen were married in 2004, and they have 4 children: Kate, Keegan, Ellie, and Jayden. 

  • Austin Wright

    STUDENT Pastor

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    Austin came to Laurel in 2018 after graduating from Christian college with a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education. Since coming to Laurel he has completed a Master's degree in Counseling and an M.Div. in Theology. He is currently pursuing a PH.D from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Austin's primary focus is leading our Teen Equip ministry while assisting pastorally in other areas of our church family. On most Sundays you will see him on the platform leading our congregational singing. Austin and his wife Marissa were married in 2016, and they have one son: Haddon. 

  • RJ Lopez

    ASSISTANT Pastor

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    RJ was born and raised on the west coast, but came to Laurel in 2017 and soon completed his Bachelor's degree in Church Ministries. RJ's primary focus is overseeing our children's and media ministries. His heart is to help children of all ages fall in love with Jesus as they learn weekly about God and His purposes for their life. RJ and his wife Jessalyn were married 2016 and they have one daughter: Isabella. 

support team

  • Kathleen Blankenship


  • Lee Smith


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