Meet Mark Taylor
Meet Mark Taylor, Vice President of Jonah’s Journey.
Mark’s life has been characterized by an exceptional commitment to Christian service. He is currently a board member for the Church Mission Network ministering to Africa and Central America and is Chairman of Missions Team at The Glade Church of Mount Juliet, Tennessee. He and his wife reside in Lebanon, Tennessee and have three children, Mason (21), Marshall (18) and Marti (16). Missions and ministry have always been close to his heart, and that was evident as we sat down to chat.
On what brought him to Jonah’s Journey:
I had the opportunity to hear from LeAllison Whittinghill, founder of Jonah’s Journey. She spoke alongside the birthmother of the first Jonah’s Journey child (Jonah). When I heard their story, God cast a barb into my heart and it never left. God continued to compel me back to the ministry of Jonah’s Journey based on the impact it has from a temporal standpoint- changing a mother’s, child’s and family’s lives- but even more so from the eternal aspect of it. We have the opportunity to do exactly what God called us to do, and that is care for the widows, the orphans, and the least of these. When God places that calling within you, He doesn’t relent.
What makes him the right person for this job?
First, realizing that the job is above and beyond me. God will have to do the job that he placed me in. That’s where my dependence lies on a daily basis. But I think he’ll accomplish that through the experiences I’ve had in “Corporate America”, from an organizational, management, and visioning standpoint. I also draw on the experience I’ve had working with the church and other nonprofit organizations. The traits, habits, experiences, and lessons I’ve learned from involvement in homeless ministry and lay ministry are so helpful as I move into this role.
On the future of Jonah’s Journey:
The vision is what it’s always been for Jonah’s Journey- “How do we care for more children?” We want to focus on expanding the footprint of Jonah’s Journey to incorporate as many children as possible that fit within the niche we serve. I want to take that model of care and extend it beyond the borders of Tennessee and Mississippi to wherever we find children in the situations where we can serve.
His favorite thing about Jonah’s Journey:
Seeing the families that are willing to sacrifice and change their lives by pouring into someone they don’t initially know, and don’t have a relationship with. To build a relationship with a stranger and offer care and support a child that isn’t yours, all while knowing that the ultimate goal is to reunify that child with his or her birthmother- to see families step up and step into that is very humbling. Witnessing people with that unique heart and calling is to truly see God at work, as we answer the call as Christians to care for the least of these.
On how the community can be involved:
The ways you can be involved in Jonah’s Journey are innumerable. You can be a provider of respite care and give a family a break for a day or a weekend. You can help cover daycare expenses, whether funding a scholarship to a daycare center or actually giving that care. You can provide in-kind gifts as a small group or church that will provide aid to mothers or caregiver families. You can be a support family for the foster families in your church, whether that’s financial support, material support, care support, etc. Of course, there is always need for financial partnership with Jonah’s Journey. And certainly, there is prayer. We often say we’ll pray, but to step up and dedicate an hour a week to go pray with a family or pray for a family and a foster child- it is so valuable.
To anyone thinking of becoming a Jonah’s Journey caregiver:
In the words of President Kennedy, many years ago, we do these things, “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” God gives us hard things to do because He wants to be the one doing it through us. We in turn, bring glory to Him. Being a foster family in the Jonah’s Journey network, knowing you’re sacrificing your time, gifts, and emotions, all for the sake of impacting someone’s eternity- that’s why we do this. Accept that call on your life. He calls you to it because it’s going to be hard, but it is worth it all.
I’m excited to have the opportunity to be a part of Jonah’s Journey, and excited about what God has brought to fruition thus far with the ministry. I look forward to seeing what the future may hold, and I’m glad I get to play a part in that.