Steven Lawrence was born on 29 March 1978 in Penang, Malaysia. He was an active member of the Boys’ Brigade of the 2nd Penang Company (1994-1995), where he grew in faith and Christian understanding. Rev Steven Lawrence answered the call of God for full-time ministry at the age of 22, and shortly after, pursued his […]
Steven Lawrence was born on 29 March 1978 in Penang, Malaysia. He was an active member of the Boys’ Brigade of the 2nd Penang Company (1994-1995), where he grew in faith and Christian understanding.
Rev Steven Lawrence answered the call of God for full-time ministry at the age of 22, and shortly after, pursued his theological education in Seminari Theoloji Malaysia, graduating with a Diploma of Christian Ministry (2001), Bachelor of Theology (SEAGST 2005) and Masters of Ministry (2017). He was commissioned as a Candidate to the Holy Ministry on 18 September 2005 by Bishop-emeritus Julius D. Paul and underwent his in-house training under the supervision of Bishop-emeritus Rev Dr Solomon Rajah.
While serving as a commissioned Candidate to the Holy Ministry, he married Susan Ann on 25 February 2006, a union that led to three children – Samantha Ann, Samuel Anbuselvan and Samson Anbunesan.
Bishop Steven was ordained as a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia (ELCM) on 31 October 2006 at Zion Cathedral by then Bishop Julius D. Paul. Since ordination, he has served a number of congregations and has been heavily committed to the diaconal ministry of the church, holding some of the most senior synodical positions in the ELCM.
From 2014-2017 Bishop Steven served as the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Regional Officer and was responsible for implementing the program of the LWF Area Secretary for Asia, supporting partner churches, hosting conferences and providing opportunities for mutual support and networking.
Rev Steven was consecrated as Bishop of the ELCM in July, 2020. As Bishop, Rev Steven hopes to serve the interests of the ELCM and the community at large, as God Almighty grants him the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that he requires to serve God’s will.
Through LCA International Mission, you are supporting Bishop Steven to undertake doctoral studies at Australian Lutheran College. His research will focus on ‘the process of church discipline informed by a proper understanding of Law and Gospel with special reference to the Malaysian Indian Christian Community’.
His desire is to contribute to the future development of lay people and pastors in the ELCM in the area of Lutheran Theology. The ELCM have a strong heritage as a Lutheran community originally from Tamil Nadu, India. But Bishop Steven believes that their identity as Lutherans should not just be denominational; it should be a confessional identity. It is therefore crucial to educate lay members and clergy, especially the next generation, children and youth, to face the present-day challenges in Malaysia. One example is the rise and wide acceptance of many Christians in Malaysia of prosperity theology.
As a church leader, Bishop Steven is planning to stimulate theological discussion to strengthen his church in these areas, through pastors’ conferences and lay training in church doctrines.
In preparation for his doctoral studies, Bishop Steven is enrolled in a Graduate Certificate in Research Methods, which requires him to write a minor thesis. This thesis will be a case study on Luther’s understanding of the theology of the cross and its relevance for pastoral care ministry and formation in ELCM. This course will be undertaken via online tuition, however once the Australian borders are open, we are hoping Bishop Steven will visit us here several times a year in order to allow him to consult with supervisors, undertake research and receive the support required.
Once Bishop Steven has completed the Graduate Certificate in Research Methods, he will then go on to complete his Doctoral studies which will be 6 years part time.
Although Bishop Steven was due to begin his studies this year, there have recently been a dramatic increase in Covid-19 cases in Malaysia. The Malaysian government has therefore imposed travel restrictions and suspended all in-person Divine Worship services. Since Bishop Steven’s research involves human research, it will be risky to travel or conduct any face-to-face interviews. So, for the next few months he will be working with his supervisor on his thesis proposal and will resume enrolment in his studies in February 2022, with the aim to complete the certificate mid 2022. Subject to the outcome of the examination of his minor thesis in June 2022, he will then continue to enrol in the PhD in semester 2 2022.
If you would like to know more about opportunities to personally support a scholarship recipient in your congregation during their stay in Australia, or ways in which you can financially and prayerfully support LCA International Mission’s scholarship program, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email email@example.com
Read more stories about LCA International Mission scholarships at https://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/scholarships/