Welcome to the Team, Mark Woodward
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ – Matthew 25: 34-36
“I always had a strong feeling towards Jesus’ words in Matthew 25. My father was a doctor and his profession influenced my calling. When people are in need, if I can offer hope or encouragement in any small way, I see those acts of compassion as living into Matthew 25. Many, many hours of my ministry have been spent in hospitals and nursing homes with families who need that sense of compassion,” Rev. Mark Woodward shared. Mark is the newest member to TMF’s Area Representative team and he is serving the Texas Conference.
When Heartspring Methodist Foundation merged with TMF this January, we gained some very talented employees who are committed to the vitality of The United Methodist Church and God’s work around us. Mark is one of them.
He served seven local congregations before beginning his work with Heartspring, giving him 30 years of experience serving the church and expertise he can use to help congregations unearth their purpose and create a culture of generosity.
“I am excited about continuing my work with TMF. This organization is willing to look into the future and is not afraid to challenge us to think about where we put our resources, to innovate, and to reach new people in new ways,” Mark expressed. “TMF really does see itself as an instrument that helps others discover God’s calling in their current setting and I am excited to be part of that work.”
Four years ago, when Mark joined the Heartspring Foundation it was a natural fit for him, because he was skilled in church finance and stewardship, but also because he understood the realities of church life. As a pastor he had firsthand experience of the great opportunities and challenges churches and pastors face.
“I have been where they are,” Mark shared. “Some of these pastors are feeling alienated. Some are struggling to balance ministry and family. I become a safe space, a pastor to pastors almost, and because I understand what they are facing, pastors feel comfortable being open with me. That is one of the things I love most about this job and it reminds me I am making a difference.”
As TMF grows, with new team members who have such experience and heart for ministry, we are enthusiastic. Loving the church, as Mark does, can provide a sense of God’s presence in people’s lives. It can open them to God’s purpose and kindle new passion for the work they are called to do in their communities. Moreover, it can steward potential in a way few other personal characteristics can, and for that, we are exceptionally grateful.
Welcome to the team, Mark!