Mark grew up in the church, literally, as his father was a Church of the Brethren pastor in Pennsylvania where clergy often lived in parsonages that were attached to the church building. Both of his grandfathers, his uncle as well as assorted relatives also served in the ministry. Mark decided in high school that although he loved the Lord he wanted to pursue a career that was not in the church. However, he received a clear call into the ministry the summer after graduation. He was first licensed to the ministry at age 19 and actively served the church while obtaining his education.
After completing a bachelor’s program in Organizational Communications at Sacramento State University, Mark obtained a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Mark served in student ministries for 27 years and came on staff at River City Christian (then First Covenant) in 2004. He and his wife Melissa enjoy serving as a team in various ministries. For fun, Mark likes to cook, work out and have cross-cultural experiences.
1. What three words best describe your role at River City Christian?
Shepherd, creator, organizer
2. What is one thing about you that might surprise people?
As a young person I had dreams and aspirations of being on Broadway. I wasn’t much of an athlete in high school, but my lack of height and physical strength didn’t seem to matter when I was on the stage. Seeing a professional theater performance today is still exhilarating.
3. What is one name or title for Jesus that has special significance for you?
Friend. I never cease to be amazed that the King of kings and the Lord of lords chooses to be in a personal relationship with me. I am so incredibly thankful that He wants to hang out with me and share the experiences of life together.
4. If you were not working for the church, what career might you pursue and why?
I would love to receive the training to be a personal caterer. I think something spiritual happens when people slow down and slowly share a creative meal together. Conversation, laughter and connections naturally occur around the table.
5. Besides the Bible, what one book has had the most influence on your faith and why?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship has had a huge impact on my life ever since I first read it in seminary. Bonhoeffer’s efforts to perform faithful ministry in the context of Nazi Germany astound me and his understanding of the demands of the Gospel on each of our lives challenges me to the core. “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.”
6. If you could have lunch with one famous personality living today, who would it be and what would you talk about?
I would love to sit down and talk with President Jimmy Carter. Regardless of political views, I believe Carter sought to be true to his Christian faith while in office. I would love to hear stories of how his relationship with the Lord has motivated him to be involved in so many humanitarian efforts.