The theme for Pastor Bill Mitchell’s life and calling is aptly described in this title.
Six years of learning to follow God's quiet love, working many jobs, doing street ministry and eventually becoming a youth pastor in 1973, became the foundation of what God wanted to build in his life.
In 1975, Pastor Bill married his lovely wife, Marsha, and they partnered together in many vineyards for the Lord. They started the Friendly Gesture Coffeehouse in 1976, featuring such speakers and singers as David Wilkerson, Dallas Holm & Praise, Terry Talbot, John Michael Talbot, Second Chapter of Acts, Keith Green and Ohio State star, Archie Griffin. Many young people came to the Lord during this time and Pastor Bill’s teaching ministry began to blossom through Bible Studies and radio programs.
As the coffeehouse era began to wind down in the early 80’s, Pastor Bill served as an Executive Pastor and expanded his education after his son, Brian was born. Taking courses from Moody Bible Institute, University of Missouri and International Seminary, he received a Ph.D in theology by 1985.
Pastor Bill founded and developed The Christian Counseling Center, a ministry providing Pastoral Counseling and training for perspective counselors. As part of the church he was serving at the time, this center ministered to people of all faiths, and trained many other lay counselors. As Executive Pastor, his administrative and policy skills thrived and expanded.
A second major touch of God’s love impacted Pastor Bill in 1985. Through a deep examination of the three parables of Luke 15, The Prodigal Son brought a heart felt revelation of the love of God for people. This revelation impacts Pastor Bill’s ministry to this day.
In 1994, Pastor Bill joined the ministry of The House Of The Lord, in Akron, Ohio, as the first white pastor in the predominantly African-American church. His roll as an Executive Pastor continued as well as Counseling and Seminar expansion. Pastor Bill’s contributions to pastoral care were outlined in “The Pastor’s Bible” produced by Zondervan publishing company.
As part of the Racial Reconciliation movement, Pastor Bill’s first research project came to fruition in a two year study titled, “Out Of Africa”, a study of church history in Africa involving the first six centuries. He also began to write in depth study guides for New Testament teaching. At this moment, the following guides are complete:
Pastor Bill also has compiled and written a comprehensive Pre-Marriage manual covering the facets of marital preparation. The manual is currently used by other pastors in their PM programs.
In 2001, Pastor Bill left The House Of The Lord to birth “Abundant Grace Ministries” – a church focused on equipping and quality church growth. The adjustment of pastoring a “small church” after years in mega-church ministry is well worth the challenges. Integrating changes in church lifestyle is a slower process than first anticipated but fruit is developing after five years. Some of the modifications in church life, include:
Practicing the Reformation value of the “restoration of the priesthood ministry” to believers.
“Participant centered” learning structures creating dialogue & interaction in place of lecture.
De-centralizing the mid week structure of the church to release more family time. Mid week activities are highly specialized with a particular focus thereby, participants come on the basis of need rather than obligation.
A moving away from the “Pastor CEO” model of church government to the equipping and modeling multi-faceted leadership. This is practiced in the
Internship program currently training four young pastors who will eventually
lead Abundant Grace Ministries.
A powerful emphasis on the graces of the Spirit as the criterion for spiritual growth.
Named from Acts 4:33, “And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.”, the church started Jan. 7, 2001 with fourteen people. Today, the assembly continues to grow, services average 80-100, with expanding worship teams and choir.
When asked about the heart of Abundant Grace Ministries, Pastor Bill states, “At salvation God gives to everyone a marvelous gift of faith. This faith lays hold of the spirit of revelation, a lightning strike to the heart, enlightening and caressing the heart with God’s love. Such movement cannot be comprehended by the intellect. It is a mystery of the language of the heart. It is this mystery we celebrate and enjoy in our church life.”
Pastor Bill and his wife Marsha have been married 38 years. Their son, Brian, is the father of two girls and an ordained pastor.
Pastor Bill Mitchell has served in leadership capacities in four churches and one para-church organization since 1969. He founded The Friendly Gesture Coffeehouse in 1976 with four young people and expanded to over 300 in a year. Pastor Bill has also served the Northeastern Ohio area with major concerts, crusades with David Wilkerson and school outreach with Ohio State Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffin. His post-graduate work in the early 1980's and developed Christian Counseling Center in 1982. Through 1994, this organization counseled and discipled over
1500 people and interned two licensed therapists. Pastor Bill's strong administrative skills
contributed to 20 years as Executive Pastor in two churches and now as Senior Pa
Developed and founded a soft water business currently employing nine people and selling over 3,000 units since inception. Left business for full-time ministry.
Cuyahoga Falls High School Grad- 1966
Wilson Junior College 1966-67
Baldwin-Wallace College 1967-68
Akron Bible Institute 1968-69
Moody Bible Institute 1979-1981
University of Missouri 1982
International Bible Institute 1982-86
Earned Degrees: Bachelor of Christian Ministry (1982), Master of Ministry (1984) Th.D. (1985)
Certified by Psychological Publications to administer The Taylor-Johnson Temperamental Analysis.
Endorsed by Life Innovations, Inc. for use of The Prepare and Enrich.
Approved by Center For Association Of Psychological Type for the use of The Meyers-Briggs Inventory Analysis.
Member of The American Association Of Christian Counselors.
Sanctioned by Business Policy Writing for administrative purposes.
Licensed on May 4, 1969 by Full Gospel Fellowship International. Ordained May 25, 1982.
Stow Alliance Fellowship 1968-1973.
Faith Baptist Of Akron 1974: Youth Director
Friendly Gesture Coffeehouse 1975-1981: Founder & Pastor
High Mill Christian Center 1982-1994: Executive Pastor
Christian Counseling Center 1982-1994: Founder & Director
The House of the Lord 1994-2001: Executive Pastor
Abundant Grace Ministries: 2001- Present: Sr. Pastor
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, he experienced the difficulties of life early coming from a violent, alcoholic home which consummated in divorce. Moving to Ohio at age 15, became an All-District safety at Cuyahoga Falls High. scho.College football at Baldwin-Wallace college followed but nothing could satisfy the deep longings of emptiness as a young man.
The first touch of God’s love occurred at Fellowship Of Christian Athlete’s event on Dec. 27, 1967 – the beginning of a journey. From the time of experiencing new birth in Jesus Christ, Pastor Bill felt a quiet but firm call in his life. Leaving behind a football scholarship, he enrolled at Akron Bible Institute to begin Biblical Studies. This led to ordination on May 4, 1969 – but many lessons were to follow.
The Synoptic Gospels