Friends of Strong Disciple,
Your faithful financial support and prayers for this vital ministry work make it possible for me to minister to men, and impact their lives for Jesus Christ. I trust this testimony blesses your heart today.
With tremendous gratitude,
Pastor Mark Darling
M.H. from Minnesota
Over the past 18 months, I’ve had the honor and privilege of meeting with and receiving counsel, verses, and encouragement from Pastor Mark Darling. These have been incredibly edifying times of reminiscing, sharing stories and memories, sharing trials and struggles, laughing, and shedding some tears.
These morning meetings have been especially helpful during this season of my life. Pastor Mark’s insights, perspective, and practical advice have been invaluable in navigating through a complex family health trial and other facets of life. Pastor Mark has an amazing gift in the way he communicates and offers counsel. His active listening, retention, awareness, and attention to detail are truly unique.
Through Pastor Mark, I’ve better understood and experienced the important distinction between sympathy and empathy. He has an immense amount of care and compassion behind his words and his actions. He has guided me into a greater realization of how God is using these circumstances for his Glory. His words of encouragement and support have meant a great deal to me. I leave our meetings better off than when I arrived. The meetings will often end in heartfelt prayers for myself and my family.
Over the last 18 months, I’ve read and reflected on each of his weekly Thoughts Provoking articles. They have ministered to me personally and I’ve been excited to share them with family and friends. Each article contains valuable nuggets of truth, wisdom, cautions, exhortation, and encouragement. The articles share how Pastor Mark has personally applied truth and been impacted by the Word of God and through his relationship with Jesus Christ. A few Thought Provoking articles that were especially impactful to me were A GPS For Life (Edition 42), God Therapy (Edition 45), The Most Important Thing (Edition 57), and more recently, The Gentle Man (Edition 68).
Pastor Mark’s reach and impact on my life go well beyond these past 18 months. Over the years, he has been a “spiritual father” for me. He has helped me walk through life’s most difficult passages and celebrated with me on the summits. He has helped me discover answers to difficult questions and pointed me in the right direction when the path was difficult to discern. When I have looked at a circumstance or decision, he fills in gaps and renders another level of perspective and insight. I carry the wisdom and truth (from God) that he has spoken into my life over the years and draw from that on a regular basis.
One of the first message series I heard Pastor Mark share was “God the Magnificent” (from 2003). A year before, I had taken a road trip after I received Christ. God showed me so many things on that month-long journey in the Western states. I experienced the magnificence of God in His healing Word, creation, reflection, and this newly transformed life. Those messages resonated and related to what I was thinking deeply about. I still have the CD’s of the messages and they still “strike a chord.”
Almost seven years to the day (as I write), I remember listening to his message series on “Heaven” with my Mom when my Dad was dying. It ministered deeply to our hearts. Those words helped us in those hard moments of letting go and yet assured us of the incredible joy (as a believer) of spending eternity with Dad in the presence of the Lord.
I have shared Pastor Marks’ messages with friends and family over the years. They have helped them understand God in a deeper way and brought them hope, encouragement, and practical ways and examples to live out their faith. His messages often contain personal stories that stick with you along with the spiritual applications.
Pastor Mark’s messages are accessible through www.strongdisciple.com. There is a healthy library of messages that cover a wide range of topics. I’ve appreciated Pastor Mark’s passion, his deep devotion to the Word, prayer and continually pursuing God and putting the Lord on the throne of his life.
One significant way his passion has been released is through inspiring men to be better fathers, husbands, and leaders in their families and living out their calling and God-given roles. I’ve appreciated his tender conscience. If there has been any inkling of misconstrued words or misunderstanding, he has followed up immediately. That level of humility and sensitivity is not very common. I’ve appreciated his accessibility, his responsiveness, and willingness to make time for and meet the needs of others. He has a servant’s heart. He sets a tremendous example and reflects the attitude of Christ.
Through Pastor Mark, I’ve witnessed how a Christian life, lived out with intentionality and focus yields fruit. That impact has been realized in his own family and in the lives of those he ministered to. I’ve witnessed his perseverance as Pastor Mark has pressed through immense difficulties and trials and yet endured courageously and boldly proclaiming God’s truth. I praise God for Mark’s missional Christ-centered life! I praise God that our paths intersected!
I thank God for Strong Disciple and Pastor Mark’s mentorship and influence on my life.