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Path to the Pulpit: The Story of Mark & Rachel Bond

Home » Path to the Pulpit: The Story of Mark & Rachel Bond

Mark Bond recently contacted the Alumni Office to list a ministry opening on our website, after becoming the preaching minister at his church. We asked him and his wife Rachel to describe their experiences serving in various ministries and churches since leaving Central. This is their story.

Growing up in a home of a minister, Mark Bond had seen the life of ministry from the inside out. During the summer of his junior year in high school, he decided ministry was a path he wanted to pursue. That wasn’t always the plan in his mind, but it became evident that ministry was his calling.

Less than a week into his first days on campus at CCCB, he met Rachel Humphrey and they eventually began dating. A little over two years later, they married and started their first ministry together in Kansas City, Missouri, where Mark was responsible for Worship and Youth and Rachel was responsible for the Children’s Ministry. They served in that ministry together for six years.

The next opportunity to serve came from St. Joseph, Missouri, where Mark was hired to be the Worship Minister, while Rachel was a full-time mother. That ministry lasted three years. Then a large church in Webb City, Missouri, called, and they moved to serve together. Mark was responsible for the Creative Arts Ministries at the church and Rachel was a volunteer leader of a ministry to mothers.

As the churches grew larger with each move, so did the gap in their marriage. It wasn’t intentional, but it was evident. Longer hours of work meant less communication with each other and fewer interactions. Rachel had essentially become a single parent to their children because Mark was not engaged with the family. There were red flags everywhere, but everyone chose to ignore them.

In February 2011, Mark attended an event where he was introduced to a discipleship model that resounded in him like nothing before. In the months that followed, one could observe some exponential growth in Mark’s authentic pursuit of Jesus. While he believes his faith previously was authentic, it was very mechanical. This was so much different.

What happened next is a story with many details that truly aren’t significant, but Mark allowed his heart to become unguarded. At a time when he thought his pursuit of Jesus was at its greatest, his fall came with incredible disaster.

In a very short period of time, conversations that Mark was having with a woman in the congregation that were one degree off in being appropriate turned into actions that were 180 degrees off in anything Mark would ever have imagined himself doing. He didn’t know who he had become. As he sat with his Senior Minister the day of his confession and told him he didn’t know who he was, it was as if he were hovering above this whole situation and watching from a third person view. That confession came on Sunday afternoon when he couldn’t live with his sin anymore. Mark knew his confession would come with many, many consequences. But he knew that he wanted truth.

Walking through conversations with his wife, his kids, his Life Group, and his elders were the most painful things Mark has ever done. He resigned from the church. The word “shock” doesn’t even scratch the surface as to what this did to that community. The elders chose a full announcement the following Sunday with many details. Though detailed facts stated to 3,000 people were intended to reduce confusion, the rumor mill became louder.

The first 21 days following Mark’s confession were a blur. Rachel and Mark exchanged many words, but also sat in much silence. Mark’s heart was grieving multiple deaths. As far as he knew it could be the death of his marriage, the death of his family, the death of his profession, the death of his reputation, and the death of so many friendships. His heart was even processing the death of his inappropriate relationship. While it was wrong, it was real. He lost 11 pounds the first day.

Mark and Rachel continued to talk very honestly and openly. The grace Rachel extended from the beginning was only because of Jesus. They made progress daily, even hourly. But the world around them had stopped. When they needed something from Wal-Mart, they would go together and it was painful for Mark to be in public. The painfulness experienced by the woman at the well in John 4 became more understandable and personal.

Mark and Rachel desired to get intensive counseling. Close friends from their Life Group became an advocate couple with them at an intensive weekend of counseling. That couple had walked the same road as the Bonds only 5 years earlier. Together, the two couples dug into heart issues and roots of bad fruit. Once their similar “spirals” were identified, Mark and Rachel were able to overlay those spirals over many life events to see how they would naturally respond without changes. They came home from that weekend a changed couple, with an advocate couple that knew them like no one else.

Weeks following his confession, Mark was called by an advertising company where he had interviewed for an entry-level graphic artist position. They asked if he was interested in applying for a management position. He said yes, and was offered a job managing the entire graphics department of 34 artists. The Lord worked out those details to provide “regular” working hours while the family continued to heal and re-learn to rely on their identity in Jesus.

It was during this time the Lord opened the Bond family’s eyes and hearts to the ministry of foster care. This became their family ministry to extend love to children who needed it most.

Two years passed, and phone calls and inquiries began to come in to see if Mark was interested in considering ministry opportunities. After much discussion together and with others they trusted, Mark and Rachel decided to begin the search to return to full-time ministry.

Mark found a congregation in Indiana searching for a Minister of Worship and Discipleship, two areas at the heart of his ministry strengths. His cover letter and resume were unconventional, since his previous ministries had come from conversations or recommendations. After a lot of conversations and prayer, the church called Mark and his family to come and lead in those areas.

Upon arrival in Indiana, the Lord used the story He had written in their lives to connect Mark and Rachel with many people and couples. The opportunity for them to share what they had been through and were still working through has been only by the redeeming work of Jesus.

After three years in Indiana, and some staff transitions, Mark was asked to consider becoming the Lead Minister. After quickly declining, the opportunity still remained. With a lot of prayer and more wisdom from those they trusted, Mark and Rachel decided he should pursue the opportunity. Batesville Christian Church then voted to select Mark as their next Lead Minister.

The Bond Family continues to grow with more and more children that come in and out of their home through fostering. As a family on mission, they love encouraging others to be invested and involved in caring for those who desperately need to see the love of a family and the love of Jesus. Their hope is that Batesville will be a town known for many wonderful people who care for the kids of Indiana that need a loving home.

Not all paths look the same and Mark’s path took a lot of sidetracks. But time and time again, the Lord continues to redeem the shame of Mark’s sin for His Glory. He writes a much better story.

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