Let me take a moment to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about my family. I am currently working as a Sales Specialist in the Millwork department at the Lowe’s in Norman, OK. I know this may seem a little out of the ordinary from my previous work experience, but in reality it has God’s hand all over it. In addition to Lowe’s being a major mission field for me, it was an answered prayer and testament to God’s unfailing provision for me and my family for which I am so grateful.
Before joining the Lowe’s team, which is my favorite store, I was the Chaplaincy Specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma where I supported and worked with hundreds of chaplains, community ministries, and outreach efforts for the entire state of Oklahoma. I left my position at The Salvation Army in October of 2017 for one of my dream jobs at the state convention only to have my position dissolved fourteen months later. I joined the convention as the current leader of twenty-two years retired and a new one was voted in. I joined the convention with the hopes that I could have greater Kingdom impact by affecting change and supporting ministries, pastors, churches, and believers all over the state.
As I mentioned above, I left The Salvation Army to go to work for the state convention. While there, I served as the Director of Emergency Disaster Services and the Facilities Manager for Central Oklahoma Area Command. Many are not aware of this, but The Salvation Army is actually a church, which is why I believe the Lord brought me there. Again, this was another amazing act of provision by God in a time when we needed it the most. I had just resigned from a very hurtful and hateful church experience that, had I stayed and confronted the enemy there, could have forever hindered my son’s budding faith and Christian life. Yes, I needed a job, but me and my family also needed a place to heal and The Salvation Army was the perfect place to do that. The Lord placed me on the heart of Sam Porter who knew Major Carlyle Gargis, director of the Area Command. He set up a meeting and Major Gargis said, “I knew you were the man for the job the moment I met you.” I worked with a wonderful group of people while at the same time was able to work with and minister to some of the most needy people in our communities, those in poverty and homeless. While there I began a homeless ministry called Nightwatch where teams of Salvation Army employees and volunteers go out week after week, sometimes more often when the weather called for it, offering food and resources to the homeless in an effort to build relationships and trust in hopes of getting them the help they need to meet Jesus and get off the streets. (NewsOK article; NewsOK photos of Nightwatch; Mark’s Story of Hope – Nightwatch)
From 1996-2014 I served as Pastor for more than ten years and Youth Pastor for more than four years. To be clear, at no point during the years following my last pastorate have I stepped out of the ministry or neglected my calling. Since that time I have continued to preach and teach and minister in many great and exciting ways.These days have also been full of great, life-changing lessons the Lord has given me that I may have never learned while pastoring. Lessons about the real struggles and issues that challenge our laity and how better to meet them where they are.
I’ve mentioned my family a number of times, but let me tell you more about them. My wife, Kayla, and I have been happily married for over twenty-one years and greatly enjoy ministering together. Kayla ministers to our family as a stay-at-home wife and mom, but she also serves as the CFO of a counseling agency in Wynnewood, OK where she is able to work from home. We have a thirteen year old son, Jace, who is truly a miracle and treasure to both of our lives. He professed Christ and was baptized at the age of six, but just recently, on Easter morning and without any prompting from us, just recently recommitted himself to that confession after struggling for some time with questions. Jace is home-schooled, he is a skilled piano player, and a black belt in Taekwondo. Like most teenagers, he also loves videos games and TV.
Our desire as a family, more than anything else in this world, is to follow the leadership of our Lord in all areas of our lives and point people to Christ through our transparent lives and commitment to Him. Kayla embodies the definition of “helper” as God intended the wife to be and together we raise our son in the instruction of the Word and an outward ministry of love. My focus as a minister of the Gospel and Shepherd of God’s flock is to call people to repentance and back to obediently following Christ’s commands. During my time outside of vocational ministry the Lord has given me a great deal of insight into the lives of our church body, the demands on their life and issues they face, many of which I may never had learned while in church ministry and in many ways the church is failing to address. It is my full intent to take these lessons and use them to better meet the needs of families and strengthen their faith. I will do that through drawing the church towards a powerful ministry of love, meeting people’s needs where they are, and service.