Pastor Mark's blog

Lead Pastor

Christmas Worship at Good Shepherd

Merry Christmas friends!

At the moment I write this blog we are 3 days away from Christmas Eve! It’s without a doubt one of the most special times of the year to celebrate Jesus in worship. There are a number of opportunities to do so this week, and I wanted to share some details with you for your Christmas worship planning!

  • Friday the 22nd at 7 pm is a Christmas Worship service specifically geared at kids! Feel free to park behind North Oak in the medical clinic lots to keep spots up front open for guests!
  • Sunday the 24th at 10am, 3, 4:30, & 6 pm are identical candlelight and carol Christmas Eve services. The 10 am service is in place of our regular 9 & 10:30 services, which will not take place this Sunday. Please park in the medical clinic for worship, as each year we have folks who drive away on Christmas Eve because there is no more empty spots up front. Ironic, on Christmas Eve, as we celebrate Mary and Joseph not having any room to have Jesus! If your family has any flexibility in your schedule, the 6 pm service will be the most lightly attended, if you would like a little more room!
  • All 4 of the Christmas Eve services will be live streamed, so you can worship online with us if you can’t be here in person!

I’m so thankful for you and your family. It is a true joy to be your pastor.

From my family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!


Guatemala partnership renewed

hello friends!

Recently, a group of 4 Good Shepherd folks went to Guatemala to meet the new leadership in the Methodist church there. Our goals were to reconnect and renew our ministry partnership, and to see what the next 4 years might bring. There are many possibilities for what lies next, but what is clear, is that our mission will stay the same: Faith, Education, and Health.

  • Faith: To partner with local worshipping communities to offer opportunities for disciples to grow in their faith (this may be through programming, building/repairing churches, or funding new minsitries)
    • We’ve built churches where there are people meeting with no building. This is Choaxan, and when we first met them they were worshipping under a canopy stretched between trees. In 2016, they finished their building: 
    • Currently, we are helping folks in Chimenchu build their church: 
  • Education: To partner with schools and students to offer educational opportunities they might not otherwise have (this may be through scholarships, building/repairing schools, or funding new educational opportunities)
    • Currently, we scholarship students each year since education is not free to the public. There is high accountability for the student, and they really take ownership over their studies through the scholarship program. Here is a typical classroom, where among other things, they are learning English: 
  • Health: To partner with clinics and/or medical professionals to offer increased health opportunities, awareness, and education (this may be through donating medical supplies/medicine, sending medical teams, building/repairing clinics, or funding new medical opportunities)
    • Two upcoming opportunities:
      • The VIM clinic – this nearly free clinic ($8 copay + medication) is led by Dr. Fredy, who donates his time 2 days a week to this under-resourced clinic that for many, is their only option for medical care. This is the clinic, and Dr. Fredy’s office, which doubles as the exam room:  And, here is the current state of their pharmacy and supply of basic medication:  We are supplying this clinic with ongoing financial support to stock the shelves here and subsidize the clinic’s ability to see more patients.
      • Unfortunately, many women spend their entire adult lives cooking 3 meals a day over a fire inside their home. With poor ventilation, it poses significant health concerns for these families. This picture was taken during the day, but with no electricity, and because it’s so smoky inside, it’s difficult to see.In this picture, you can see what years of fires do to the walls and ceiling. When it rains, they dry their clothes inside with the smoke.Interestingly enough, for about $200, we can put a small, ventilated stove inside a home like this, and eliminate the smoky interior, coupled with a water purification system. Just $200!

How can you help?

  • Give. Each Christmas, we give our offering to Jesus to change the world. 1/2 of our Christmas Eve offering stays local – feeding, clothing, educating, and providing social services to our community through A Turning Point. The other half supports projects like the ones mentioned above in our partnership with Guatemala.
  • Pray. There are so many ways in which prayer is transformative for these amazing people, and for our mission teams from Good Shepherd that go each year.
  • Go. There are opportunities each year to go on a mission trip to Guatemala. Annually, we send an adult group, and on even numbered years we send a young adult team as well.

Our Guatemala ministry partnership coordinator is Sue Danubio. Feel free to email her with any questions you might have!

I’m so excited to see what next steps lie ahead for this partnership, and so thankful to be one of the pastors of this amazing church.

the best is yet to come!


easter at good shepherd

hey friends!

I’m so thrilled to be spending Easter with you this weekend, and it all starts tonight!

Tonight we remember the Last Supper that Christ had with his disciples, the first communion, and his arrest by the Roman authorities. Join us at the Platte County campus at 7 pm. Then tomorrow night we will remember Christ’s last day alive on earth (this side of the resurrection!) His confrontation with Pilate, the chief priests, and the crowd, ultimately culminating in his death on the cross. Join us tomorrow night at the Gladstone campus at 7 pm.

Easter at North Oak will be busy and energizing! If you have room in your schedule, I’d like to invite to either our Saturday 5 pm service, or Sunday morning 8 am service. Either of these lesser attended services has perks! The Saturday 5 pm service has a kids service for 4th grade and under happening simultaneously in the Gathering Place! The Sunday 8 am service has a free breakfast beforehand for the 8 am attenders at 7:30! Traditionally, each of these services will worship around 200-250.

If your schedule forces you into the more popular 9:30 or 11 am time slots (historically these services will reach around 500-550 in person each), then here are a few tips to navigate the crowds.

  1. You’ll want to park in the medical clinics south of the church where the parking is both plentiful, and easy to navigate. The church lot will fill up, and will be hard to get out of as the next service pulls in. The overflow cars in the church lot will be sent up the hill on the grass, which can be muddy 🙁
  2. You’ll want to arrive at least 15 minutes early to get a seat in the worship center, or, you may choose the overflow venue in the Gathering Place (snacks await you there, only for venue worshippers!)
  3. Or, 9:30 and 11 will be streamed online for those of you out of town on Easter, or who may be unable to worship with us in person.

Last but not least, you can always join us at Platte County on Easter morning at 9, 10, or 11 am, or at Gladstone at 10 am, if that works better for you.

However you join us for Easter, know that we are thankful to have you as a part of Good Shepherd’s community of folks who believe that the risen Christ can transform each of our lives!

Happy Easter!

It’s an honor to be your pastor.

the best is yet to come!


looking to connect?

hey friends!

One of the most familiar phrases in church life from somebody who is newer to the church, or somebody who is looking to grow in their faith is “I’m having trouble connecting. Can you help me?” The reason behind this phrase is as different as the people who say it. Some are looking for a small group, others are looking to learn, some are looking for people to have fun with, others are looking to get involved by serving in some capacity, etc. This Sunday, we’re starting a new series geared at connection. It’s called “Couch to Connection.”   1. This Sunday we’ll explore what participating in your faith looks like, and why it was so important to so many in Jesus time to approach him, even when he was in the midst of very large crowds. This is a perfect series to invite someone else to!

2. At North Oak, we have been experiencing larger amounts of people since the New Year, and are back to that awesome place where I gently ask you to park behind the church using the medical clinic lots. Last week we had 2 cars drive in, around, and leave. I only know, because they sent me an email asking where additional parking is. If you consider Good Shepherd your home church, and are not experiencing physical discomfort, expecting a child, or driving someone who is physically challenged – Please park in the clinic lots so that we don’t lose more guests! There are 2 entrances to the medical clinic lots; one at North Oak and 94th, and one at North Oak and 95th. Thank you so much!

It’s an honor to be your pastor.

the best is yet to come!



talking about race is difficult

hey friends –

This weekend we begin a two- week worship series about race. These next two weeks we’ll experience different reminders that we haven’t arrived in a post-racial society yet, and that all of us of every color have work to do to understand those different than us.

  1. Along with this series we encourage you to become part of an ongoing conversation opportunity around race. A safe place where you can ask questions, seek to understand and learn more, talk about possibilities for action, etc. These conversations will take place over 8 weeks, and are not sequential, which means you can come any given week that you are able. They will be on Wednesdays, starting February 1st, at 6:30 in the Gathering Place at North Oak, and will run through the end of March.
  2. This weekend in worship we will also celebrate baptism. Baptism is an important moment in the life of the church, because people in our family are making a public declaration to follow Christ, and we are taking a vow as part of their Christian family to surround and support them in their walk. Please join us to surround and support these families in their baptisms!
  3. Finally, I would like to ask a favor. Attendance is slowly rising this year, and we’re running out of spots in the parking lot. At 9:00 last week there were 2, at 10:30, only 4. If Good Shepherd is your church home, would you please park behind the church in the medical clinic parking lot? You’ll be greeted by a friendly face at the back door, and closer to the coffee! Thanks so much, for making room for first-time guests who join us each week!

It’s an honor to be your pastor.

the best is yet to come!