While attending Indiana Bible College in Indianapolis from 2002-2006, God spoke to Mark and his wife about moving out to South Dakota to preach the gospel and impact lives. After much time and prayer Bro. Mark and his wife moved to Watertown where they began to Pastor at the Jesus Church in 2006 which only had 1 person actively attending the church at the time. The Jesus Church has been growing and making a difference in the Watertown community & moving into their new church property on August 4, 2015. They are actively serving in the kingdom of God with their three children Noah Jackson, Grace Nichole and Eden Michal.
InsideOut: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you and why?
MB: (by “items” I assume you mean not my wife and kids)
- Bible – I love soul food
- Coffee – It pairs well with soul food
- Topo Chico – It ties together the first two
IO: Please tell us your favorite joke.
MB: What did one snowman say to the other snowman? “Do you smell carrots?”
IO: What is the funniest moment you have had while preaching?
MB: It is not the funniest but it is appropriate. When I began preaching I always used real names of people from my life experiences. I shared two stories at an event about a time in my life I was not living for God. It just so happened that two different people there were related to those described in my stories. I stopped using names in certain stories after that.
IO: Besides the Bible, what is your favorite book?
MB: Verbal Bean Prayer/Works of The Holy Ghost
IO: What is your dream travel destination?
MB: Onyx Coffee Lab
IO: What does your daily devotion routine look like?
MB: One Hour Bible Reading. Two Hour Prayer. Memory Verses.
The goal is to wake up early and talk to God before I talk to man. Check in with God before phone, news, email, etc.
IO: What is your favorite hobby/past-time
MB: Play with kids. Quiet time with Wife & Coffee
IO: How do you prepare to preach to thousands at North American Youth Congress?
MB: My pastor told me not to prepare a sermon, but to prepare my spirit. Simply my prayer life and reading the Bible. I am not writing a sermon.
IO: Briefly share your testimony, especially from your life as a teen.
MB: I have a prodigal story. For the most part during 6th-12th grade, I would have died lost. My Pastor Terry Cox preached a convicting sermon that dangled my feet over the pit of hell and drove me to the altar. The fear of the Lord was put in me that day. I haven’t been the same for 17 years.
IO: When and where did God call you to preach, and how did you answer you His call?
I never heard God distinctly tell me that I would be preaching/pastoring. How ministry unfolded in my life is a longer answer. I simply grew a hunger to serve, do outreach, and teach Bible studies. I was never considered a “preacher” really. Attending IBC four years and I was never asked to preach chapel. It just wasn’t what I did. I did give God my everything and He sovereignly placed me to plant a church in Watertown, SD and that is where I began to pastor and preach at the age of 22. I have been there for 13 years.
IO: What advice do you give to the teens and young adults of this generation?
MB: Consider changing your digital diet. Jesus taught that the window to the soul is through the eyes (Matthew 6:22-23). We must be serious about what we are feeding our soul on a daily basis. Jeremiah said the “eye affects the heart” (Lamentations 3:51), and Job said “the heart walks after the eye” (Job 31:7). What we watch impacts our heart, and eventually, our heart walks that direction. With the advent of smartphones, it has become common and casual to watch something carnal and dismiss the idea that it bears any consequence. We must feed our faith and starve our flesh.
IO: How can the students take the North American Youth Congress fire to their homes and home churches and keep it burning?
1.) Daily Prayer 30+ minutes a day
2.) Daily Bible Study 3+ Chapters a day
3.) Don’t Ever Miss a Church Service
4.) Change Your Diet of what you watch and listen to.
BONUS: What is the greatest thing that has happened in your life besides salvation?
MB: Marrying my wife who is godly, having children baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost, being allowed to be a minister of the gospel, and discovering what good coffee really is.
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