Mark’s journey began in Jacksonville, Florida when, as a student at Trinity Christian Academy, he heard the Good News that God truly loves people, but we are separated from Him because of our sin. Each of us have not only inherited a propensity to disobey, but have chosen to go our own way, rather than God’s way and experience a personal relationship with Him.
In his own words…
“Although I had been a church member since my childhood, I realized that I knew “about” God, but did not “know” God in a real and personal way. The realization that God loved us and paid the ultimate price for our sin by sending His Son to be our sacrifice on the cross and rise from the dead to rescue us became clear. I also realized that if I did not surrender to God and by faith accept His Son’s sacrifice for my sin, I would continue to be alienated from God.
Even though I did not know much about the Bible and certainly did not know the evidences for it’s accuracy, I knew enough to respond to God. One afternoon after school, I was alone in my home and knelt and prayed to God. I simply asked Him to forgive me of my sin and take me to Heaven when I died. I was truly sorry for being a sinner and sincerely asked Him to save me.
When I finished praying and had trusted God to save me it was as though the separation between God and me, that I sensed earlier, was removed. In child-like terms I knew I was not ‘in trouble’ anymore and that God had forgiven me. In my mind, it was almost as though Jesus had His arms wide-open saying, ‘It’s alright now!'”
As a college student, Mark grew in his commitment to Jesus as he attended Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Regularly hearing the Bible taught and preached as well as being around other young people who loved Jesus helped his commitment deepen.
Mark continued to mature in his relationship with God as a member of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida. Not only did he grow in his commitment to Christ while at First Baptist following Christ he met the love of his life, Debbie, who has been his partner in life and ministry ever since.
His first experience of introducing someone to a relationship with Jesus by sharing the Good News was at First Baptist. Later, he was invited to preach at the city rescue mission and was amazed when five men professed to receive Christ. The joy of having a part in what God was doing sharpened his focus even more.
After graduating with a degree in Broadcast Management in 1980, he chose to serve God in Christian broadcasting. His first job following college was as the program director of a Christian radio station. He began receiving invitations to speak at area churches. Again, people responded to God’s invitation of salvation. His call to full-time ministry continued to be confirmed.
When he heard that a local church was searching for a youth minister he applied. The church called him to serve and he left broadcasting and began the adventure of full-time ministry.
Since beginning as a youth minister he has served as an associate pastor, pastor, and senior pastor. He has been humbled to serve in eight churches in five states over a period of more than 30 years.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from Luther Rice Bible College, a master’s degree in divinity (with languages) from The Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, and is currently in the Doctor of Ministry program at the Billy Graham School of Church Growth and Evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Additionally, he has made annual trips to the former Soviet Union since 1995 to train Russian and Ukrainian pastors and church planters as well as assist International Mission Board personnel in evangelism and church planting projects. He continues to study Russian and often brings groups to experience international missions first hand.
Mark also serves as a Coach-Consultant for the South Carolina Baptist Convention. He says, “Encouraging Biblical church health and growth is deeply rewarding. I cannot think of anything that has a greater impact on the world than a united body of believers following the Master and fulfilling His mission.”
Mark desires to glorify God and further His Kingdom by helping people discover life worth living in Jesus Christ.