Yesterday I had a conversation and time of prayer with Pastor Vernon McMorris of International Church Christ Built. He had stopped by the HCN office for a few minutes and shared a deep burden in his life. He told me that morning while he was sitting on his front porch doing his morning quiet time he heard five shots fired not far from where he lives. Then he told me that he had run into a young man at a store a couple of weeks ago who had been attending his church off and on. Pastor Vernon mentioned to the young man that he wasn’t in church the previous Sunday. The young man said he would be back, but then Vernon told me that the young man had been shot and killed in an apparent gang-related encounter just a few days later. My heart grieved for the young man’s family and for Pastor Vernon and his church.
Retiring in April 2022, Mark R. Elliott served as a Director of Missions (Associational Mission Strategist) in Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska for almost three decades. He is a strong advocate for obedience and Biblically based disciple making. As such, he knows that making healthy disciples requires Christian leaders to be constantly pursuing spiritual maturity—be lifelong learners. Because of the time constraints of ministry, most pastors focus their reading list on resources that assist them in teaching and preaching the Word of God. As such, books focusing on church health, leadership development, and church growth tend to find their way to the bottom of the stack. With that reality in mind, Mark has written discussion summaries on several books that have helped him to personally grow in Christ and that tend to find themselves on the bottom of most pastor’s stack. Many pastors have found them helpful as they are able to more quickly process great insights from other pastors and authors.