Pastor Mark did not want to plant a church.
He was perfectly happy where he was with the job he had, but God had other plans.
At the 39th anniversary of the church he was serving as a youth pastor, Mark was asked to speak about the senior pastor’s vision for planting churches. As he dug into scripture and research, he discovered a quote by Peter Wagner that says the most effective way of reaching unchurched people for Christ is through the planting of new churches.
So, Mark went to the senior pastor and said, “You’re interviewing church planters right now. I kind of feel like maybe God is calling me to do this, but I want to hear God’s confirmation through you. So if you feel like I’m the church planter, I will go. But, if you want me to stay, I will stay for the rest of my life.” And that was the beginning of his church planting journey!
Mark had an understanding that the message of the gospel is experiencing revival all over the world except for in Europe and North America. In North America, 80-85% of churches plateau or decline. He didn’t know what God had in store for his church, Vantage Point, but he knew they wanted to break barriers and never look back.
Vantage Point has continuously looked for opportunities to partner with their community to be a blessing and a tangible representation of Jesus. “We went out there and we were passing out bottles of water at the intersection. We were partnering with schools to help bring donuts and coffee and we bring the In n Out truck to the school every year,” he said.
Mark wants his church to be known for their generosity, while at the same time connecting spiritually disconnected people to God because that is our life’s purpose. As a kid who didn’t grow up in the church, Mark has a soft spot for the way he speaks to his community. His hope is to communicate the truth of the Gospel in a way that is relatable and doesn’t seem like “code.” Through honesty, vulnerability, and humor, people gain an understanding that nobody is perfect, but we’re all in this together.
Now, as Vantage Point continues to grow, the staff is switching their perspective from survival to significance. They are asking themselves, “Why do we exist?”
Mark shared that “The purpose of Vantage Point is not to put on programs because those programs exist for themselves, but because they exist to help move people in their relationship with God. And so right now, the big focus at Vantage Point is discipleship. Who are we helping to grow in their faith?”
Giving people in the church an opportunity to serve and step into their calling is the game that changes everything. Mark remembers that there was someone who saw a gift in him that he didn’t see in himself, and that’s why he is where he is today. As leaders, our job is to continue that cycle and find others who we can tap on the shoulder and say, “You can do this.”
“At the end of the day,” Mark said, “it’s not programs that change people. It’s people that change people.”
Get to know more about Pastor Mark and Vantage Point on social media @pastormlee or @VantagePointChurch!