A New Assignment for Mark & Debbie

Sunday was my last day at Emmanuel Christian Center.

It’s always hard to say, “good bye,” but especially hard because of the quarantine. I had to settle for virtual hugs, instead of real hugs.

I’m so grateful to Pastor Nate Ruch and Jodi for giving me the opportunity to serve at Emmanuel.

In August of 2017, Jodi Ruch sent me a private message on Facebook saying that Pastor Nate wanted to meet with me for coffee at Starbucks. (I’m guessing you can imagine it wasn’t too hard to convince me to do that.)

The timing of the message was critical because Debbie and I had just closed the doors on a church plant that we had been working on for five years.

To be honest, Jodi’s message was a life line for me. I was kind of down in the dumps – reevaluating the call on my life – and wondering if the Lord was finished with me.

Initially, Pastor Nate hired me as a consultant, but as I began to talk with the Leadership Team, it became clear to me that the Lord had an assignment for me at Emmanuel. 

Kids Pastor, Aaron Gruber had recently transitioned to New Life Church in Princeton and Pastor Nate had a group of young leaders he wanted me to mentor and coach. This was something I could connect with, as I have always been about investing in the next generation. 

After two years, in September of 2019, I passed the baton of leadership at the Spring Lake Park campus to Pastor Emily. It felt like mission accomplished to me.

It has been incredibly fulfilling watching Emily grow in confidence and leadership skills and then take the reins at the main Campus. Not only that, but our entire kids team, Cherise, Meghann, Kathryn and Linda are all strong leaders.

Since then, I have been praying and seeking God if he had a new assignment for me.

As I thought and prayed about things, I didn’t feel led to resign, but I wanted to be transparent with Pastor Nate. The two of us began a discussion of possibly going part time and working with other churches in a consulting capacity. As I continued to pray about direction and how I could help other churches, I felt like the Lord said, “An offer is coming.”

I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it wasn’t actionable. All I could do was “watch and pray.”  I either heard from God or I didn’t. 

Then, out of the blue, in February, I received a phone call from Pastor Mac Hammond. I had been part of Pastor Mac’s team at Living Word for 17 years. Mac is one of my spiritual fathers, however we hadn’t talked much since I resigned in 2012. 

Pastor Mac offered me a job! He was looking for a Kid’s Pastor to mentor and coach a team of young leaders.

As Debbie and I prayed about the offer, one thing the Lord said to me was, “I’m doing this for you.”

To be honest just getting the phone call from Pastor Mac brought healing in my life. That’s how life with God is. He gives us things to do to help others and to help us at the same time.

In Ephesians Chapter 6, Paul instructs us to, “Honor your father and mother.

This verse isn’t just for children it is for adults too. There comes a time when we grow up and we don’t have to obey our parents any more, but we never stop honoring our parents.

Here is my question:

  • Is it just your earthly parents that are deserving of honor?
  • Does this scripture apply to spiritual fathers and spiritual mothers?

I am so grateful to the Lord that He gave me the opportunity to reconnect with one of my spiritual fathers and I’m grateful to have a new assignment. 

Once I have something that I know He wants me to do, nothing else really matters. I’m not done yet. I still have vision and I still have things that God wants me to do. I’m going to keep running my race.

What about you?

  • Is there somebody in your life that has invested in you and you have lost contact with?
  • Do you have spiritual kids that you haven’t talked to in a while?
  • Can you reach out to them?

What is one thing you can do to show honor to your spiritual parents and/or kids?

13 thoughts on “A New Assignment for Mark & Debbie

  1. Sammuel says:

    Congratulations, Mark! Your blog exemplifies good insight and good questions. It would behoove me to express my own appreciation to WG & KB for all they poured into me. And of course, YOU sir, & Ms. Debbie, poured into me waaaaaaaay back when in Tulsa! And JW, too. There are many “uncles & cousins” that I also owe a debt of honor that I can never fully repay, but who have helped me immeasurably along the way. Your blog provides us the opportunity to do something that, perhaps, we all need to do: Give honor to whom honor is due.

    Thanks for your candor and transparency. I wish you well in your new endeavor!

    – Sammuel

  2. Jean Whalen says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Mark! We have been your curriculum in our children’s church in north Minneapolis, and it’s perfect for us! Jean Whalen

  3. Mark Kilcoyne says:

    Mark, I am still always touched by your wisdom and ministry. I appreciate you and your tenderness to the direction of the Lord. I pray that God continues to use you to impact leaders and kids and families. Blessings to you and your wife.

  4. Teena says:

    Congratulations and all the best as you continue to mentor the next generation! You are such a blessing to the body of Christ!

  5. David Nithang says:

    Congratulations friend! Thank you for sharing parts of your journey in this blog and thank you for serving faithfully the last few year at Emmanuel. I am so excited for you, Deb, the young team you will be investing in and for LWCC. Enjoy your new assignment! Love you guys!
    -David Nithang

  6. Jeanne Bowser says:

    Hello Mark& Debbie, You both are awesome and deserve the best! Mark, you have imparted life and leadership skills into me. Thank you again. Jeanne Bowser

  7. Jesse Davis says:

    Congratulations Mark,
    I taught through Superchurch in Tucson, AZ for many years. Our kids lives have been touched and changed by your work and I appreciate you for all the hard work that you put into its development.
    Jesse Davis

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