John Markum

Dear Edgewood…

Dear EBCToday I’m back in my office at Edgewood from being in San Jose for the past week. I’m here preparing for the message I’ll preach this weekend – my final message as a pastor of this amazing church. Ironically, it was nearly 5 years ago to the day that I preached for the first time at Edgewood. Befitting, that I should be concluding my ministry here at the same time.

There are so many things I want to say to each of you that I find it difficult deciding where to begin. For five years you have loved me, encouraged me, honored me, and taught me at least as much as I ever taught you. I’ve seen so many of you come to Christ during my time here. I estimate that I have had the privilege of baptizing somewhere over a hundred of you into our church family, and more importantly, into obedience as a follower of Jesus. I’ve preached hundreds of times to you. And I’ve seen faithfulness in you that any pastor would love to see in his church family. You’ve listened, learned, grown, and taught me a great deal about my journey in the process.

In less than a month, my family and I will say goodbye and move to San Jose, CA. Leaving you is painful for me, to say the least. May you continue in the things that God has worked in your life, and years from now, I pray that we will continue to celebrate what God is doing in the Quad Cities, the South Bay, and around the world. Though a 2,000 mile gap will soon exist between us, my heart still beats for this place and this family of friends and believers who have been so good to us for the past five years.

So about this weekend…

I’m preaching for the final time before we leave. It’s been over a month since I last preached here at home to you. So most of you already know that I have no intentions of holding back or pulling punches. But I am far less interested in impressing you as I am in blessing and challenging you to reach your full potential in Christ. Among many things that I am praying for God to do this weekend, I am asking Him to draw people to Himself – to allow me the privilege this last time, to be part of seeing Him use this church to impact people’s stories for eternity. And that’s where you and I come in.

Please don’t miss this weekend! I want to preach God’s Word over you one last time. But also, don’t come alone! Bring someone with you who needs a touch from God. I’m very confident He plans on attending, and wants to do something in your friends’/family’s lives.

I’m not making this weekend about me. I’ve got far more important things to talk about than myself. So in advance, I want to tell you that you are a good church. You’ve been good to me and I wouldn’t have traded my time with you for any earthly delight. I’m a better pastor, leader, and follower of Jesus for having worked with you.

To the many of you who have been directly part of working with us in our Singles Ministry, Saturday night service, LifeGroups, and so on… look what God did! You were too good to try easy stuff – you did things that were worthwhile. And look how God blessed your faith! Look at what we got to see and do together!!! It still doesn’t seem real to me that we made it where we are now. But God has been gracious to us. And we got to play a part in His work of drawing people to Himself and making disciples. You are precious to me. And working with you has been the honor of my life. Some of you hold special, irreplaceable spots in our hearts. You know who you are. We couldn’t have made it without you. Not by a long shot! Thank you, friends.

If you don’t normally attend Edgewood, and especially if you don’t normally attend any church, join us this week. I believe God is going to do something greater in our lives than any of us could hope or ask for. I can’t wait to see you there!

Pastor John

PS – services are Sat. 5pm, and Sun. 8 & 10:45am

Dear people of the South Bay…

SB overlookI’m writing this to the approximately 2 million people who live in the South Bay area whom we are compelled to relocate to this summer for the sake of bringing the Gospel. It is now three months away from the time that we will be moving into your communities, integrating into your busy streets, and sharing our lives with you. As I watch these words appear on the screen before me, I am acutely aware that these thoughts are largely meaningless to most of you at the time of my writing them. And yet I must share my heart with you in hopes that, one day, what I say here will have profound significance for many of you.
Unlike so many of your residents, we are not relocating because of the promise of a new career opportunity. Rather, we are coming because of you. You see, I have looked into the eyes of so many of you, and have listened to your stories, and have seen myself… apart from Christ. Ambitious. Driven. Opinionated, yet tolerant. Socially active, and yet somehow kind of lonely and empty when you thought no one else was watching.

But I’ve watched. And prayed. And even fasted for you. And as the vast majority of you continue to do life far from the grace that God would have for you, you have not gone unnoticed by Him, and therefore by me. I’ve always been a “big-picture” kind of guy, so here’s how I currently seen things…

I am 31 years of age as I come to you. I am old enough to have made enough youthful mistakes and have grown through them, yet young enough to still take risks. I am strong, strategic, and in my prime. I am offering to you the very best years I have to give. This is not simply the “next step” in a career path that I’ve chosen. You’re it for me. There is nowhere else I intend to go. They will bury my body in your soil one day, hopefully a long time from now. I, my family, and the several people coming with us, are laying our lives down for the Gospel… for you.

Even now, as I sit 2,004 miles from where you are, my heart is with you. I am committed to you. And I will stop at nothing to reach you. I don’t expect most of you to understand this yet, but we love you. You matter to us. The Bible tells us of a God who moved Heaven and earth to get to humanity to save us. That same God is sending me to you, not because I am somehow special in any way, but because you are special to Him in every way.

One day, as I stand before you as your pastor and watch hundreds, or maybe even thousands of you worshiping Jesus passionately, and responding in faith to the Son of God, and as I get to see Him heal relationships, and restore identities in Himself, and break addictions, and you begin to love others as He has loved you, and whole communities are renewed by God’s work through you – I will remember this moment. The moment when God breathed into my life a vision of what He would do in you and through you, and I believed Him enough to commit it to writing.

Between now and then, I’m still thinking about you and praying for you. Every one of you I get the privilege to meet is a divine appointment from my perspective. I cannot wait to see you begin to fully experience life in Christ together!

So, hi. My name is John. I’ll be your new neighbor in July. I follow Jesus, and I believe that greater things are coming here. I can’t wait to meet you! See you soon.

Pastor John

Naming a Church: Part 2


So as our Launch Team and I began thinking through the principles I discussed in part 1, we literally began coming up with a list of over 100 possible names. Many of them we eliminated because they did not fit the principles discussed in the last post. Others were just overused by other churches. Some we didn’t like, and still more names were already represented in cities within a close proximity to our target area. If you can’t tell, we spent a great deal of time and effort thinking through this… Continue reading “Naming a Church: Part 2”

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