Bishop W. Anthony Lawson, Jr. was born in January 1955 in Bronx, New York to William (Bill) and the late Bonnie Donald Lawson of Kinston, NC. He is married to his high school sweetheart and life-long love, Della Wiggins Lawson.  He is the father of two adult children: William A. Lawson III, who is married to Jennifer Bynum Lawson of Greenville, NC, and Lori Lawson Poag, who is married to Hezekiah Poag III of Greensboro, NC. He has one grandchild: Hezekiah Poag, IV.

Bishop Lawson is a 1973 graduate of Kinston High School where he was very active in many extra-curricular activities.  He then attended North Carolina A&T State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Communication in 1977. Bishop Lawson went on to East Carolina University and earned a Master of Arts Degree in Counselor Education in 1981.

His employment career varied.  He worked as a Communications Coordinator at the Community Council for the Arts after graduating. And later, he worked for Texfi Industries as a management trainee.

Bishop Lawson then embarked on a career in education.  He worked at every high school in this area including: South Lenoir, North Lenoir, Kinston High School and Greene Central High Schools for a total of 19 years.  He has helped countless teenagers in their career planning goals for work and the military and has helped many students get scholarships and financial aid for college.

Bishop Lawson has also served on several community boards.  From 1981 to 1983, he served on the Kinston Police Department Review Board.  He has served on the Lenoir County Big Brother Big Sisters Board, the Lenoir Community College Foundation Board, and he is presently serving as the Secretary of the Lenoir Memorial Hospital Board of Directors.

Bishop Lawson preached his initial sermon in August of 1984 at Antioch Free Will Baptist Church to an overflow crowd. He was installed as the Pastor of Jumping Run Free Will Baptist Church on December 21, 1986. He has served as Pastor for 30 years.  He was ordained as Bishop in September 2012.


Under his leadership, the Jumping Run Church has become one of the fastest growing and most socially and spiritually relevant churches in Eastern North Carolina. Bishop Lawson is an experienced preacher and teacher of the Holy Bible.  His ministry places emphasis on line-by-line Biblically-principled based instruction on how to apply the Word of God into every day real-life situations.  His heart’s desire is to see people’s lives change by the Word of God.