Mark's Priorities

The following are keys priorities in my life:

  1. God has blessed me and my wife with good times (quantity and quality) in the Word and prayer. While a lively personal relationship with God has always been important, it is increasingly important to me to spend more time in the Word and Prayer. I see that this was a priority to the apostles and church leaders in the first century and to the church fathers like Luther and Calvin. It is important to me to be in a church where the pastor is encouraged to spend time pursuing God in Word and prayer as a greater priority than maintaining a particular church program. (I’m not opposed to church programs; I'm speaking of priorities.)
  2. Related to this is my desire to train elders and lay-leaders in the church. I profited greatly from spending 2001 in the Czech Republic where I mentored a young pastor and elder in the area of shepherding the flock appointed to them. I deeply appreciated the opportunity in Zlin, CZ, to meditate and discuss the work of caring for the souls of God's people. It is very important to me that the elders see themselves as shepherds of God’s flock and have a greater concern for the care of souls than for buildings or budgets.
  3. A third area of desire I have is discipling the saints. I see that the early discipling I received in the basic doctrines of the church (Apostle's Creed, etc.) and how to appropriate the means of grace (basic spiritual disciplines) have been foundational to my spiritual growth. I care deeply that other Christians have tools for growth and service.
  4. The fourth area of interest and concern is in the area of missions and evangelism. Having spent time in the Czech Republic for two or three weeks each summer since 1998, and having spent a year there, I have a deeper understanding and desire to see the work of the Kingdom expand. I see how critical the work of evangelism is in the church. In the US, my wife and I have both taught ESL and enjoy cross cultural ministry. I also have experience in divorce recovery and substance abuse recovery ministries.
  5. My family is very important to me. When I was ordained, I was mentored by a PCA pastor who was about 10 years ahead of me in life and ministry experience. He shared with me that one of his regrets was putting ministry before his family, not understanding that his family was a part of his stewardship in ministry. He urged me not to neglect my family. His advice was good. I think that when I neglect my family I have failed to faithfully serve God. I want to model being the kind of husband and father God calls me to be. I strive to see the nurture and care of my family as being part of my ministry in the church of Christ and as a witness to the world. This priority has been one of the best ministry openings I have had. I have been asked about my marriage and family by believers and non-believers, and it provides amazing opportunities to share practical advice as well as to have conversations about ultimate issues.
  6. I believe that in the life of a church, worship, evangelism, discipleship and biblical leadership are critical. All of these critical issues must flow out of a passionate pursuit of God.