7 Questions with Mark Gordon
Name: Mark Gordon
Current title: Lead Pastor
Current organisation: The Bridge Community of Faith
Mark has been involved in business and community leadership, family coaching and a keynote speaker for more than 30 years. His passion for people is evident whether speaking, writing or coaching. He is passionate to empower people, families and organizations to become relationally, emotionally and spiritually healthy.
Lead Pastor of “The Bridge” Community of Faith
Keynote Speaker - On a variety of topics
Coordinator at Family Foundations Canada Seminars
Facilitator of Multiple workshops including – Relationship Matters, Strength Based Parenting, Managing your Anger, Shadow Boxing (Dealing with Shame), and others.
K.E.M.A (Kelowna Evangelical Ministerial Association)
Founder of Y.O.U.R Youth Center
President of Telecommunications Company
Founder and Executive Director of Mercy for Youth Society in BC.
Former National Director and Executive Director of Impact Society
Co-Producer of the Heroes Project (Character Education Program)
Founder of The Gate Youth Church
Mark is married 37 years with three kids and with three more added by marriage and two grandchildren.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
First of all, anything that is worth doing comes with challenges. For me, as I am a highly relational person the most challenging part is seeing people give up on relationships. It is difficult to see people move on for the smallest of offences, rather than staying and fighting for the relationships. In a relational model church, I have often said it is either wildly successful or a complete failure depending on the buy in to building a healthy relational culture from each person.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I came into church leadership in an unusual path as I came from the business world. I had a very bad addiction problem and lived to party hard and work hard. It destroyed my marriage and hurt my children. At my lowest point my wife and I were separated and I had a dramatic encounter with God, and gave my heart to Jesus. The same morning 3000 km away my wife was led to Jesus through my father. We reconciled with Christ at the center and we have been married 37 years now.
From there we still went through ups and downs and lost a business and were bankrupt with small kids. Through that time I felt a call to ministry but had never been to bible school or had training. Long story short we started a youth church and revival hit and we have never looked back. The fellowship I currently serve in credentialed me based on experience and the call of God, so I am very grateful.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
A few years back I realized that I was not being effective in my leadership. I came from an entrepreneur focus and was visionary and so my administration and time management was poor. I realized that I needed a structure that worked with the way I lead. So I looked at what I did best and what gave me the most life and built my structure around that.
I colour blocked by calendar to align those rhythms in mind. I have also built margins into my schedule to allow for creative recharging. I am a nighthawk (too many days of youth ministry) so I do my prayer time and study later in the evenings, and use day time schedule for relational connection and mentoring.
4. What one book had the most profound impact on your church leadership? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Well the Bible of course! But I know what you are asking, there have been so many books over the years that have shaped different seasons of my life. One that shaped my leadership is Culture of Honour by Danny Silk
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I have rediscovered recently, that the measure of the call and task to be carried out, can only be sustained by the depth of the relationship and connection with Jesus! Leadership is an outflow of what Jesus is doing in me and through me! If I get that in the wrong order I can easily forget God in the midst of doing His work. Secondly, I am not responsible for someone else's relationship and connection to God. For years i took it as failure when someone walked away from the church or worse the Lord. My job is only to point people to Jesus by allowing His life to flow through me. They need a revelation that only the Holy Spirit can provide.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
Relationship, Relationship, Relationship - I have often said discipleship starts at the point of contact and ends with graduation to heaven. Everything in between is a relational journey. Our pipeline is built on a relational model that has a mentor journeying with apprentices. During that time they will draw on resources as they need them, it might be reading a book together or an online training course, or formal training, but whatever it is, they do it together.
We ask our team, who are you following and who are you leading? We encourage them to work in a cohort and cross pollination. We also encourage people in their callings and facilitate them starting their own ministries. We have built a whole language and system to support it. The result has been ministries that birth in our church but grow as organisms that may take them out of our church into their own entity at some point.
7. If you had to pick just one story, what would be the most meaningful story from your time as a church leader so far?
I met a single mom years ago as our church is heavily involved in community investment. She has mental illness issues from a life of abuse from 3 years old. Our church family became her family and we have journeyed with her and her two kids for years. Our church family has provided cars, found housing, and provided counselling and support for 15 years now. The abuse came from a father who was a church leader so she hated church and God. You can imagine how warped her God concept would be.
Anyway she stayed as far away from church as possible not knowing, that in fact, it was the church who was loving her and helping her the whole time. She thought the church was the building and the Sunday service. The day I told her that all that this community had done was because Jesus loved her and wanted to show her that He did through the church, in order to redeem her, was the day she asked Jesus into her heart. Years later her son died of an overdose and once again God, through her church family has carried her through the devastating loss.
I pick this story because it describes best what I believe the church should look like to the world, especially, for a time such as this. This lady was part of the community for years before giving her heart to Jesus, the church today needs to journey with people and commit to the long haul in loving them and building relationships that last.