Wednesday, January 21, 2015

25 Years at Grace - Thanks Mark Norman

This past weekend, we at Grace celebrated Mark Norman's 25th year of being lead pastor there. Those of you in church world know that a milestone like that is just an incredible feat and Mark himself would tell you that this achievement is by the grace of God. That is the kind of leader he is.

I've been privileged to serve under him on a variety of projects since the mid 90s when we first came to Grace. Here's a few things I've learned from him that I'm extremely grateful for:

+ When we first came to Grace, they would gather ministry leaders once a month for a thing called Leadership Community. It was a vital part of Mark's responsibility and he would spend an hour every month pouring into leaders from every spectrum of the church. This was like no other church our family had been a part of - there was an intentional leadership pipeline and the lead pastor took responsible for it.

+ When I was invited to join the elder team for a season, one of the desired behaviors was what Mark called a "Pan Body" perspective - the ability and desire to see and act for the faith community as a whole. This is an uncommon skill but one that can be cultivated.

+ The elders have a mantra that says, "Never say no for someone else." Applicable to every leadership experience I have had but I saw it in play lots when working with that team.

+ On women in leadership - see here.

+ When Mark took me out to lunch a few times, he would pay and say, "It is all His money anyway." When sitting in a meeting to talk about missions, he mentioned at least once that there were people who would start their own initiatives and they were people that needed to pioneer something. Mark doesn't shy away from innovation and welcomes the fact that the Kingdom is bigger than his church.

+ Finally, if you know him, you know about the "Freedom Box." I led one of his kids in a high school small group for 4 years. I know all of his other kids and their spouses pretty well and they are some of the most tremendous people that I know. The Freedom Box, and more importantly, the balance of freedom and responsibility that parents are entrusted to teach to their kids, well, they did it phenomenally well. All that I learned about ministry pales in comparison to the example that Mark is as a father. That is a priceless gift to me.

Thanks Mark for 25 years at Grace. Here is to the future - the best is yet to come.


  1. Love this. Thanks for sharing!

    Btw, what is the Freedom Box?

  2. Thanks Jorge! You'll have to ask Mark =)