Pastor Mark Ward-Bopp
I was a child that did not know the Lord until 1986. When I was 34 years old, I met Him in a Damascus road experience. God called me into ministry several years later, but I couldn't believe that He wanted me to do His work, He must have been talking to someone else! Finally, some 11 years later & during the time of my wife Linda's illness, I answered His call. That illness would take Linda to Heaven, and leave me with 3 beautiful children to 'finish' raising.[do we ever finish?] Linda & I were married for 19 years, and God in His grace, had yet another plan for me: Ministry. And since I was raised in the Methodist church, I tried to enter the ministry there, but God held the doors shut.
After a season, God in His great wisdom, brought Marla, and her two children to me. This was truly an act of God. I saw what a great place this church was, and what an awesome belief system denomination the Nazarene Church had. .It was different from what I was used to: a church and a denomination, actually doing what they say that you are supposed to do. I entered the Nazarene Course of Study, and was able to finish 3 years ago. I have been on staff at the Hillsboro church since 2000 as part-time, and then 3 years ago I started as our full time Children's Pastor.
My passion for children is fueled by my belief that some young children can have a deep and meaningful relationship unto Salvation with the Lord. But unless children are brought to the Lord at an early age of about 10, then statistically, less than 10% of all children, and therefore teens and then adults, will ever know the Lord as their Savior. Statistics strongly suggest that 85% of all Christians come to the Lord as children before the age of 12. I grew up as a salesman: Pick the low hanging fruit first. If we can help bring Salvation to these children, then we are doing God's work. Can I get an "Amen"?
Marla and I were married in 1999, and are now in the never ending process of raising our 5 children: Mark Jr 27, ( with one grandson, and another on the way!!!) Meghan 24, Adam 21, Nick 21, and Ryan 18, and the renovation of an 107 yr old home. God has been very good to us.
One of Mark's favorite quotes : "I get paid to go to camp and make water balloons???"