Steve Olsen: Building a Local Church Ministry

Steve Olsen: Building a Local Church Ministry

Pastor Steve Olsen (74, 78 M.Div.) was blessed to move into a ministry soon after completing his Master of Divinity and to remain there ever since - teaching, leading, and loving the people of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Smithville, OH. He has faithfully and joyfully served the congregation as pastor for 36 years.

Nate LedbetterHe and his wife Mary Jane live in Smithville. Their children - Ben, Peter, Philip and Bekah - all live in the area and are active with their families at Pleasant Hill.

I grew up in a pastor's home at Lapeer, MI. My father pastored First Baptist Church in Lapeer. After my freshman year of high school, our family moved to Elyria, OH where my father served as Field Director for the Fellowship of Baptists for Home Missions.

My father spoke at the Missions Conference at BBC in 1970, and I went with him. After that visit, I knew the Lord was leading me to Clarks Summit. Several from my youth group at Lapeer were attending or planned to attend BBC, so it seemed like a natural fit.

As a student, I was very active. I served in student class leadership, the Student Affairs Board, was a Resident Assistant for three years, played soccer for four years, and continued to coach during my time in Seminary. On Friday nights, we had street meetings and a JOY Club ministry.

Probably the most beneficial experience of my years at BBC was serving in youth and music at Mehoopany Baptist Church in Mehoopany, PA beginning in my sophomore year and continuing throughout Seminary. It allowed me to apply what I was learning in the classroom.

The Lord built into my heart a desire for local church ministry and a love for the local church while I was under the pastoral leadership of Dr. Jay Long, a BBC faculty member. This confirmed my call into the pastoral ministry.

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church was two years old in 1978 and had started from a Bible study by a retired missionary, Ralph Hill. On that first Sunday there were 28 people in attendance. We started as a one room country church, five miles from any town or village. We are still surrounded by farms, pastures, and cows.

We have completed three separate building programs, with the last one in 2005 providing a 600-seat auditorium. PHBC has actively been involved with six church plants, helping start churches in the area. Adult mission trips have been important, with 10 foreign trips and several stateside.

We have a Hispanic ministry and active youth and children's ministries, which have been a foundation of growth and outreach. God has blessed the ministry as we have seen continued growth - spiritually and numerically. A traditional approach and a strong emphasis of preaching in the Word is still applicable. Young people have gone into ministry as pastors, missionaries, and followers of Christ. It is a joy to see those who were led to the Lord in 1978 bring their grandchildren to church so they can be a part of their spiritual journey.

Contact information

Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers outstanding Christian higher education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to think biblically, grow spiritually, and serve faithfully as they gain critical leadership and life skills.

To learn more, go to or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 3/26/2014 3:32:08 PM

Share on Facebook