Missions Leadership Team Introduction:
VM: Thanks for joining me, Mark. When did you first jump into the Vineyard Movement?
Mark: My first experience with the Vineyard came through worship. You may remember a pretty hot revival happening in Brownsville, Florida in the mid-90s, and worship was on the forefront of it. Being from South Carolina, I didn’t have much exposure to Vineyard Music, and the internet hadn’t yet made available the worship-world wars at my fingertips, so I actually encountered it first-hand. I participated in this new sound and this new way of worship and the rest was a hooked-history for me. I soon met one of the prominent worship leaders in the Vineyard Movement; we became fast friends. From then on, I found myself focusing my intentions and my new friendships toward being part of the greater Vineyard community. While I’m not the first to say it, it felt very much like home.
VM: What is a prayer that you pray daily?
Mark: I pray for effectiveness. Here and abroad. We have these great southern expressions that allow us a place in the room when smart people are gathered. We usually get to—or have to—explain ourselves, or at least explain what our language means. One fine Southern word is piddling. It refers to a mundane action—or lack of action—that becomes an all-out effort to avoid something necessary. Checking your antifreeze in the dead of winter is not piddling, that’s necessary; but sharpening your lawnmower blade in the middle of January is piddling. Another good word we use is loafering. To loafer is to avoid responsibility and shirk any resemblance to hard work.
I’d like to say that I pray these huge prayers that will cause a party in Heaven or a panic in Hell, but mostly I pray against my tendency to piddle or loafer, me being from the South and all.
VM: oh, that’s good! Thanks for the visual language lesson on prayer. What is your best memory with Jesus?
Mark: There was a little fella in a Bucharest orphanage whose name was Danutz. Danny, we called him. At the time, he was 15. He’s over 25 now, and I don’t know his whereabouts. What I remember is the smell of his crowded room; and I remember how his caretakers told me I was wasting my time. I remember crying at the thought of his existence being confined to this Pack-n-Play and an occasional window view of a dirty city. Danny had spent his entire life in a portable playpen. He was abandoned early on. He was dropped off at this institution because he was born with severe hydrocephalus. Sometimes the best you can offer is a touch and a tear. I took Danny’s small feet in my hands and I rubbed them. This unresponsive little man responded with a smile. I looked into his eyes, and I saw Jesus looking back at me. I remember it so well because from that moment until now, I have been absolutely sure that Jesus has green eyes.
VM: I bet Jesus loves that memory with you too. (Interviewer wiping tears from eyes). What is your highest priority for the Learning Community this year?
Mark: There is somewhat of a driving force that has been a sustaining gift to me. It comes in the form of exposure. Exposure to the world and its joy and its need, of its plenty and its lack. And then my exposure to people in the Vineyard and in my normal day to day here in Beaufort, SC. I am constantly aware that without exposure, there is very little chance that great and deep burdens can find fertile soil to grow. In other words, we don’t care about it if we don’t know about it. Our Learning Community has this wonderful opportunity to connect the good missions-hearted people in our local churches to places and people, to needs and resources. So, the Learning Community Team will consider ourselves a think-tank of servant-hearted idealists who believe this missional task is a finish-able task. One heart, one house, or one hut at a time! We will do our part to connect what God has placed as a dream in our hearts to His assignment to the Vineyard Movement in the missional world.
VM: So are you a Futbol or Football kind of guy?
Mark: Football. There are legal crashes, water breaks, and a halftime rest. And there’s always a goal in mind!
VM: Steak, chicken, or fish?
Mark: Steak. I’m a 2nd -generation vegetarian. Cows eat grass, I eat cows.
VM: What is your favorite book of the Bible and why?
Mark: I love, love, love the story of Jesus as told by Mark. He has a total commitment to “…and straightaway” excitement in his details. It’s a fast book and a great namesake.
VM: Do you have a favorite technology advance or app that helps you do the stuff you do?
VM: Well, then... That tells me you value people over tasks, and that is a perfect attribute for where God has you working in the Kingdom right now. Thanks for letting us get to know you a bit, Mark. We appreciate the leadership and global experience you bring to Vineyard Mission. Blessings on you, Sir.