In high school, I came to the realization that I wanted to be a teacher. Now, when you know my background that would probably be a surprise to you. And that’s because in high school is where my grades went downhill, I got involved with drugs, and life basically spiraled out of control. I was kicked off the basketball team halfway through the season, had a few run in’s with the law, and eventually didn’t even graduate with the rest of my class because I failed my senior English class. I ended up in the military because I had a choice. Standing in front of a judge he told me that I could face the charges that were hanging over me or go into the military. Hmmm, tough decision, right? I went into the Air Force and not only graduated from high school 2 years later but have gone on to have an unbelievable life. To God be the glory!
But, the desire to teach is still there even after being an Air Traffic Controller for over 24 years and traveling full-time in ministry for over 14 years. I never believed that I would have the opportunity to do so. Read Psalm 37 when you have some time and do a little digging. The one thing that stands out to me is a conditional promise given to us. In summary, God tells us to trust in the Lord, commit yourself to Him, make your desire to glorify Him and you will receive the desires of your heart. God has given me the privilege and honor to teach in a variety of ways. Home studies, Sunday School, Sermon’s, etc. I count them all a privilege. But, in my heart, though it feels as if the over 20 years that I’ve spent on the road were truly preparation to teach in a more structured environment to help prepare the next generation for what they’re going to experience.
Over 10 years ago I had the privilege to speak at a conference hosted by Faith Baptist Bible College (FBBC) in Ankeny, Iowa. It was a conference focused on high school students that were interested in potentially attending Faith. They bring the students in and they get a “taste” of the college experience. We have the conference, but, they also get to attend classes, stay in the dorm, and eat in the cafeteria. This helps them make an informed decision to whether this is where the Lord would have them attend or not.
One of the men that I met then is Mark Davis. I truly like Mark. He has a great personality, LOVES the young men and women that he has the opportunity to interact with on campus as well as at the various other places he meets youth, and has worked really hard to open the door for myself and Juan to teach a module in the summer at FBBC on Creation Apologetics. This program is called Jumpstart and this year we will have to hold it online because of all of the craziness going on at the moment. It will be a two-week class this time so that students don’t have to spend 8 hours a day online. Upon completion of the course, students will receive 2 credit hours that are actually transferrable even if they decide to NOT attend FBBC.
I wanted to interview Mark and make you all aware of the opportunities that they offer for your children that are searching for the right college. So, friends, meet Mark.
Carl: Mark, THANK YOU, for all that you have done to encourage me over the years as well as giving me the opportunity to fulfill a dream that dates back over 40 years and that is to hopefully help prepare a generation to live their faith for Christ in an increasingly antagonistic and anti-Christian culture. Please tell folks a little of your background and what brought you to FBBC:
Mark: I had attended FBBC for 3 years of undergrad and absolutely loved it. I was able to spend two summers serving on camp teams, made life-long friends, and also met my wife. It made such a huge impact on me that I asked the Lord if He would allow me to serve here, even part-time, I would do it. A day after praying my former boss caught me while walking across campus and offered me a job. It was a clear answer to prayer. I have been serving at Faith for over 15 years now.
Carl: Please tell folks about JumpStart, you told me that you’re doing some VERY special this year to make it possible for even more young folks than ever to attend.
Mark: We have had JumpStart for over 10 years now. It’s my favorite event of the year! It’s an opportunity for sophomores, juniors and seniors to earn college credit and almost 70% off and get a taste of life at Faith. A usual summer would see around 50 students come from all over the country to campus. They would live in the dorms, eat in our dining commons, enjoy evening activities, and make new friends all while learning about God’s Word and how it relates to their life. In light of COVID-19, we were unable to hold classes on campus; however, we are reducing the cost down to $99 TOTAL for all 5 classes that will now be offered online. Those classes are Creation/Evolution Apologetics with yourself and Dr. Valdes, Biology and Sports Performance, Leadership Toolbox (part of our new Organizational Leadership Program) Music Theory 1, and Old Testament Law. We would LOVE to have as many students as possible take advantage of this. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org any questions or click here https://faith.edu/
events/jump-start/ to see the adjusted online schedule for this year.
Carl: Juan and I aren’t the only ones teaching, you guys are also offering some other very interesting courses, please tell us about those:
Mark: Yes! We are excited about the line-up for this summer. Brandon Fritz will be teaching Biology & Sports Performance. Brandon has two masters, 20 years of teaching experience and also our dean of students. He is excited to give you scientific insights into understanding why certain health and training practices work, and others do not. Extremely practical! The chair of our organizational leadership department, Jared Baldwin, will be teaching a Leadership Toolbox class. This is for anyone interested in becoming a better leader, looking at pursuing a degree in business, or really just looking for a class that will prepare them for whatever God has for them.
Carl: Another question: Mark, if you could challenge Christian Teens with just one thought, what would it be?
Mark: Carl, I love teens, and I love that their passionate, and really want to be a part of something that matters. I would focus that passion towards the eternal and challenge them to ask themselves the question, “How can God get the most out of my life?” So often teens plan their entire lives out…college, career, everything. But never stop to consider that the almighty creator God of the universe has a plan for their life and offers “life to the full” for all who simply follow Him by Faith. It really hurts my heart muscle to think there are thousands of teens walking through life without prayerfully considering what God might have for their lives.
Carl: Before I let you go Mark you shared with me about how the college was doing and it totally blessed me. Can you let folks know just a few of the things that have and are taking place at FBBC that make it so clear that the Lord is blessing?
Mark: We are so thankful for what God is doing here at Faith. We have grown almost 25% over the last 4 years, God has allowed us to do over 3 million dollars in improvements to campus over the last 4 years with cash. We have a brand new Organizational Leadership Program, a debt-free campus, and an incredible student body. We would love to have you be a part of it!
Carl: Thank you sir. I’m serious about wanting to teach for over 40 years. I always believed that when I was “out of control” in high school that if I’d had a teacher that had reached out to me I wouldn’t have done a lot of the things that I did. I was seriously crying out for help. I praise God that He HEARD those cries and in spite of the stupid things that I did, He reached down and picked me up and has allowed me to do things that I couldn’t have even dreamed of. FBBC has been a huge blessing in my life personally. I cannot more highly recommend a college to ANY student that’s serious about their faith and want to have it reinforced so that wherever the Lord leads them in the mission field called “life” they will reap an amazing harvest. Blessings Mark.
To all of you that have taken the time to read this, may God richly bless and keep you. Stay Bold!