Hi! My name is Mark Doebler and I am so thankful to have you “drop in” to this cozy little corner of the internet and taking the time to get to know me.
I am a man who loves the Lord, loves His church, loves my wife, and am thankful for the opportunity to have spent the last 17 years doing work that involves all three of my greatest loves.
The journey to get there was a long one and didn’t happen until I was 40 years of age. (Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?)
In 2001, God intervened in my successful work in industrial safety, and nudged me to begin a search for full-time engagement in Kingdom work. It made no sense on paper. But if we truly believe God, then we know that faith is not an act of reason based on things we can see and explain, but an act based on what we cannot see because we trust the ONE we cannot see.
My first step into ministry was as a worship leader. After two years of successfully leading a church through a transition from traditional to a more contemporary approach to worship, God intervened again and took me to a Church Planter’s Assessment Center, sponsored by Converge. At the end of that assessment, my wife and I received a “green light” to proceed into the exciting, but daunting area of church planting.
Over the next 14 years I devoted my life to the work of God’s Kingdom through the church we founded in Peoria. While there we saw over 150 people come to faith in Christ in those 14 years. I hope that excites you as much as it excites me.
Our time in Peoria was, and always will be, near and dear to our hearts. But in February of 2018, God made it clear that He was ready for me to enter a new season. Through God’s leading, we landed in Southern Illinois. I have been gratefully leading and pastoring a church that also makes no sense on paper, a mid-size church that is literally in the middle of nowhere. But as I learned in my own journey, if it’s what God wants, it doesn’t have to make sense on paper. This church sadly lost their pastor of 25 years to cancer several years ago and they are in the process of finding their direction again, and I am grateful to be a part of that process.
Church participation in America is in rapid decline, even in places like Southern Illinois. We can no longer simply count on people walking through the door out of a sense of moral obligation. We have to be intentional about not only teaching the convinced, but also reaching the unconvinced. The church in America has done a pretty good job with the former, but we are struggling mightily with the latter. And it was reaching people the the message of salvation that was the heart of the ministry of Jesus. Jesus proclaimed clearly, that he came “to seek and to save the lost”.
The question is how do these two incredibly important missions get done? I believe that the Apostle Paul made it fairly plain in Ephesians 4, when he declared that the work of a pastor is to equip the saints to do the work of ministry and to edify the body. So as the pastor preaches and equips, he is challenging and enabling the rest of the body to reach out beyond the doors of the church and to reach the surrounding community with the hope of the gospel.
The pastor is also responsible, not only to join in that effort to reach the community, but in leading that effort.
My personal ministry mission is to help get more out of you spiritually than you thought possible. It is to equip you to do what you do best while reaching the community with the hope of the gospel. It is to enable the next generation to take the baton of faith and run the race that is set before us. In that way, we all win. But more importantly, we win together….for the cause of Christ!