“Sounds made up.”
That’s the typical response you can expect from Student Ministries Director, Markus McFolling, followed by a sideways smile. Markus loves to laugh with his students when they gather for High School Night on Monday evenings and Middle School Night on Tuesday evenings at The Martin Center.
But, Markus’ vision for these gatherings is anything but made up. He spent a great deal of time in prayer and planning before joining our 3rd Street staff and committing to student ministry.
“The goal of our [gatherings] is to create a space where students can come and feel welcome, appreciated, and loved for who they are, not what they try to be,” explains Markus. “Our long term vision is to create a culture and a student-led ministry that prepares young people to go out into the market place and their schools and be the hands and feet of Jesus. To lead with integrity and love as Christ would love.”
Relationships are extremely important when it comes to these student gatherings.
“We hangout, we fellowship, we play basketball, we hear a teaching, and we break bread together,” Markus remarks. Breaking bread, or sharing meals, is an important part of what he tries to do with the students and leaders in his life. He has even been nicknamed “Chef Markus.”
In addition to this, Middle School Night has its own unique piece: Talk To Me Tuesday.
“This is a space where we lay out our dirty laundry,” Markus explains. “We let transparency lead to transformation.”
Markus tries his best to share all aspects of his life with his students. He shares his struggles and his high points. Success or failure, he believes we can learn from everything.
“I love that all you have to do is be intentional and be present and students will allow you to love on them,” he adds. “I love learning from my kids. They actually teach me how to be a better husband, father, and leader.”
To get involved with High School or Middle School Night, just come down to the Martin Center (1253 3rd Street SE, Canton 44707) and introduce yourself to Markus. You can also contact him directly via email firstname.lastname@example.org or cell 330.440.4845. Bless up.