Category Archives: Ministry

How to pray for your pastor

Jeramie Rinne gives a number of practical ideas you can pray for on behalf of your pastor. Read his article, How to Pray for Your Pastor, to find his suggestions. Then strive to put them into practice as you pray for your pastor.

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Posted by on November 15, 2019 in Ministry, Prayer


Wise words for pastors

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Posted by on November 13, 2019 in Ministry, Quotes, Tim Challies


Moscow 2019 Conference – Trip Report

Here’s a report of the 2019 Moscow Conference on mentoring. Read and rejoice in what God did!

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Posted by on October 26, 2019 in Ministry, Missions, Photos, Russia


Russia 2019 – Moscow Conference – October Update

Pray for Pastor Mark & Carol Wheeler serving in Russia

From October 16-26, Pastor Mark & Carol will be serving in Moscow, Russia. Mark & Carol have served in Russia on numerous occasions with John & Naomi Musgrave, missionaries who lead a ministry called “Mentoring Matters.” This ministry follows the example of the apostle Paul in Acts 13-14, helping to strengthen and establish churches by training leaders.

Mark will be teaching a week-long seminar for pastors on the topic of, “How do we identify and train the next generation of leaders in the church?”

Thanks to your prayers and generous gifts, the trip is fully funded. Following the conference, Mark & Carol will be stopping in the U.K. for a week of vacation, which they are paying for out of their own funds.

Here’s the schedule for the trip:

October 16-18       Travel (Boston – Amsterdam – Moscow)

October 19-21       Recover from jet lag; prep for conference

October 22-26       Conference (7 Sessions – 1: The biblical mandate for mentoring; 2: Case studies—biblical examples; 3: What do you look for in a trainee? 4: What do you try to develop? 5: How do you train them? 6: Failures—not everyone you invest in will turn out well; 7: Q&A)

October 27            Travel (Moscow – London)

October 28-November 3         Visiting London, Oxford, Edinburgh

November 4          Travel (London – Boston)

Please pray for safe travel, good health, effective communication, and mutual encouragement with the participants.

Internet permitting, Mark will try to provide periodic updates and post them on his blog

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Posted by on October 14, 2019 in Ministry, Missions, Russia, Scripture


Moscow Conference 2019 – September update

Dear friends,

Thanks for praying for the preparations for the October Moscow conference. Carol and I leave in six weeks on October 16.

As on previous trips, we will be working with John & Naomi Musgrave, missionaries sent out and supported by Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA. We will also be joined by Marc Fournier. Both John & Marc were elders at Crossroads when I was on staff at the church and we have worked together previously.

The focus of the conference is on identifying and training the next generation of leaders in the church. Here’s an outline of the lessons I’ll be teaching during the conference. We will be combining lecture, small group discussion, and some other creative learning activities.

  1. Session one – Why? The biblical mandate for mentoring.
  2. Session two – Case studies; biblical examples of training and mentoring.
  3. Session three – Who? What do you look for in a trainee?
  4. Session four – What? What should you develop in a young leader?
  5. Session five – How? How do you train them?
  6. Session six – Failures. Not everyone you invest in will follow through.
  7. Sessions seven – Panel discussion; Q & A.

Thanks to your generosity and God’s provision, the trip is fully funded. Enough funds came in that allowed us to do something special for the attendees. We purchased a quantity of relay batons and we added a label that says, 2 Timothy 2:2, in Russian. At the end of the seminar, we’ll give each participant two batons, one to keep as a reminder of the lessons and one to give to someone that they train.

Here’s some ways that you can pray for us:

  • Praise God for his generous provision.
  • Pray that God guides me as I develop the content for the conference and determine how to teach each session. Pray for insight and creativity.
  • Pray that God will bring the right pastors and leaders to the conference and that he begins to prepare their hearts to receive the material.
  • Pray for Carol and me as we head to California in two weeks for a short visit with our kids and Carol’s parents and sister. When we return, we will finish preparations for the Moscow conference.

Thanks so much for your support, encouragement, and prayers.


Celebrate the Milestones and Keep adding to them

Yesterday, I celebrated another ministry anniversary and milestone. If God allows, I want to keep adding to them.

September is a month when I look back and celebrate the grace of God in my life and look forward and recommit myself to following God. It’s a time when I am reminded how much I need his grace and strength in my life.

September is a milestone month for me because it is when I began my first full-time, paid position in ministry. I’ve been doing ministry for over 46 years. But I started getting paid for it in September 1986, 33 years ago.

I began serving in ministry during my freshman year in college in 1973. From 1973-86, I taught Sunday School for kids, served as a youth sponsor, discipled high school students, led ministry trips, sang in choirs, coached sports teams, chaired committees, did a summer internship, participated in evangelism outreaches, and other ministries I have long since forgotten.

I taught one class in each of two semesters in Dallas Theological Seminary’s Lay Institute from 1983-84, and even got paid for the privilege. I also served one year as a part-time intern at Nutwood St. Baptist Church in Garden Grove, CA, in the mid-80’s.

In September 1986, I was called to be the Pastor of Christian Education at College Church in Wheaton, IL, and began my full-time career in ministry. I served the first 18 years as an Associate Pastor. I served three years at College Church, Wheaton, IL, as the Pastor of Christian Education (9/86-7/89), and over 14 years at Crossroads Bible Church, Bellevue, WA as an Associate Pastor—Singles, Adults, Missions, Senior Associate (2/90-6/04).

In September 2004, I transitioned to the role of Senior Pastor and have now served 15 years in that role. I served almost 8 years at United Evangelical Free Church, Seattle, WA (9/04-3/12), and the past seven years at First Central Bible Church, Chicopee, MA (9/12-Present). If God should permit, I would like to keep going as long as possible. I will keep serving and preaching as long I am healthy and effective.

In addition to my pastoral ministry, I have served as an instructor for Walk Thru the Bible Ministries for 32 years (1987-Present). I also led or participated in 20 ministry trips (15 to Russia, 2 to Ukraine, 2 to Spain, and 1 to Nigeria). Since 2011, I have gone to Russia once a year to help train pastors and emerging leaders, teaching a three-day course on a book of the Bible. Carol and I will be heading to Moscow next month on yet another ministry trip. Since Spring 2017, I have had the privilege of mentoring students as an adjunct professor, teaching online courses at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA.

Somewhere along the line, I developed the following purpose statement for my life.

My Mission is to serve the purpose of God in my generation, thus bringing glory to his name. My Life Vision to train and equip others through preaching, teaching, writing, and leadership development. I want to bring all to maturity and many into leadership.

To be starting my 34th year in ministry says more about God’s grace than my ability. I am not the sharpest tool in the shed nor the smartest person in the room. I am a plodder who strives to run the race God called me to run (Hebrews 12:1-4). I want to serve God faithfully and use all of my gifts for his glory (Matthew 25:14-30). I want to finish well.

I thank God that he called me to be one of his children. I thank God that he called me into his service. I thank him for the privilege of serving him in a wide variety of ministries—at First Central, Walk Thru the Bible, Regent University, and in Russia. I thank God for grace.

May God grant me the grace and strength to continue serving him for many more years to come.


The compelling call of ministry

Pastor and author Chuck Swindoll has written a very encouraging article on the call of ministry. “The Most Magnificent Life” is found in the Summer 2019 edition of DTS Magazine, the publication of Dallas Theological Seminary.

Dr. Swindoll affirms the experience of many, including myself, of the compelling sense of “having” to do ministry because nothing else would satisfy.

I often think that most who study at DTS are here because they can’t help it. It was the great preacher of the Victorian era in Great Britain, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who said, “Do not enter the ministry if you can help it.” If you can’t, you are entering into something as permanent as marriage, till death separates you. You are in it for the long haul . . . for life.

A calling of God fuels the passion of the one going into ministry. He’s the One who lights our fire and fans the flame. There is no magic in these buildings, in the desks, in the library, or in the books. Seminary is extremely hard work. Students think more in-depth than ever in their lives. They endure rigorous testing. They don’t casually arrive or come on a lark—they pray about it. They seek advice, and because they can’t help it, they come. They are in it because they can’t stay away. They are compelled by the Spirit of God to be here!

I can’t imagine being fulfilled doing anything else other than ministry. Could I be successful in doing something else? Maybe. Could I find fulfillment? Never. It’s the most fulfilling, the most rewarding of all callings. The most magnificent life a person can have is to be in the nucleus of God’s will, and for those who decide to study at DTS, that’s called preparing for a lifetime of ministry.

 Click on the link to read the rest of the article.