Taking the reins

Sunday, March 14, 2010
Pastor Mark Carbaugh is the Senior Pastor at Rock of Cape Church in Cape Girardeau. (KRISTIN EBERTS)

The Rev. Mark Carbaugh of Rock of Cape church realized at an early stage in his life that ministry could be reached outside the walls of a church. While his father was pastor of the church, he told him that he felt there was a need for a Christian school in the area. His father simply told him to go for it, and from there Carbaugh started the Christian Faith Academy in 1982. The name has since been changed to Eagle Ridge Christian School. Carbaugh said he felt it was a mandate from God to have a school that would be able to raise children in the spirit of the Lord, based upon biblical principles, with strong moral values and excellent academics. He admits there have been rocky patches here and there, but he said he has tremendous satisfaction being able to watch the students grow up and become productive people in the community. He said the school has graduated enough students over the years to look back and see its success in producing graduates who live by the principles taught there.

How long have you been involved with the church? My first position in ministry was serving as a youth pastor in a church in the Tulsa, Okla., area in 1975 while attending Oral Roberts University. Following graduation in 1976, I moved back to Cape Girardeau. My father started Rock of Cape in the summer of 1976, and I joined him as an associate pastor in the fall. I continued to work with the church until I took a job in the early 1980s as a UPS driver. My family and I continued to be a part of the church and supported it in every way while I was employed as a driver. I left UPS and was asked by my father to come back on staff at the church. I continued serving as an associate pastor until I took a year off in 1989 to attend school in Virginia Beach, Va. Upon returning from Virginia Beach in the summer of 1990, my father asked me to take over as the senior pastor. I officially took over the reins as senior pastor in 1991 while the church was still located in Scott City. I have continued to serve in that capacity until the present. Therefore, I have been involved with this church for approximately 34 years.

How long have you been a member of your faith? I have been a member of the Christian faith for 45 years. I came to know the Lord when I was 9 years old in a vacation Bible school service at the Illmo-Baptist Church in Scott City.

What drew you to serve the church in a leadership role? I felt the calling to serve the Lord when I was 12 years old. All my steps were directed toward assuming the pastorate all my life, and with the retiring of my father in 1991, it was a natural process to assume that role in this church.

What education/background/studies did you go through to become a pastor? I received my bachelor of arts degree from Oral Roberts University in 1976. I have since completed a master's in 2003 and doctorate in 2006 from North Carolina College of Theology. I still enjoy taking classes because I find it keeps me young and challenges me academically.

How many years have you served as a pastor? I have served at Rock of Cape as associate pastor for 10 years and 20 years as senior pastor; a total of 30 years.

Where are you from? I was born at Southeast Missouri Hospital in Cape Girardeau in 1954. I grew up as a youth and attended Scott City grade school and high school. I graduated from the Illmo-Scott City High School in 1972. This has been my home most of my life, and I have grown up with many of the people in this area. I have always had a drawing to home roots, and while growing up in Scott City we never viewed Cape Girardeau as a totally different town; only where we went to go shopping.

Were you involved with Rock of Cape before becoming the pastor? The first service of the church occurred in the Blair office building in Scott City in July 1976. It was a restaurant at that time. I attended the first service of the church, with a total of 15 in attendance. Three months later, my father asked my wife, Debbie, and me to become a part of the church. So I have always been a part of the church in some capacity since its inception.

What do you think makes this church special? I believe many people attend churches for various reasons, but the primary thing that makes Rock of Cape special is that the people are relational. Since I have been involved in the church since my early 20s, I have seen many babies born, grow into adulthood and have children of their own. At times, I feel like those individuals are my children and I sense a deep satisfaction from having been a part of their life, watching them grow up and seeing them become wonderful people. The Rock of Cape is my family, where my children have grown up.

What's your favorite verse and why? Matthew 8:5-13. This is a story of a Centurion who had a servant at home who was paralyzed and tormented. The Centurion came to Jesus and requested that He only speak the word of healing for his servant, because he was a man under authority. Jesus marveled at this and called it "great faith." So, within the hour of Jesus accepting this man's demonstration of "faith," the paralyzed servant was healed. The amazing part of this story is that a man could go to Jesus and get the healing for another person. The reason for this happening was because there was a proper relationship between the servant and the Centurion, along with the Centurion having honor and respect for the authority of Jesus. A person demonstrating faith is not evidenced by great works or deeds in life. Faith is walked out in life by simply operating honor and respect where due.

What events or occasions does your church have coming up? We have a number of events unfolding until the end of the year like the Passover meal March 31, Easter service April 4, Eagle Ridge graduation May 14, family day May 16, Frontline Youth Ministry Lock-in June 11, vacation Bible school June 14 to 18, Youth encounter June 24 to 25 and Frontline Youth Ministry Rally July 10, just to name a few.

We also hold a Sunday morning service at 10 a.m., along with a Wednesday night service at 7 p.m. for youth, children and adults. I teach the adult class that deals with current events and trends affecting our future. This class has developed into one that is practical, emphasizing preparations based upon the trends we have identified through our research and study.

What's your favorite day of the week and why? My favorite day of the week is Monday. Many pastors do take Mondays off and I am of no exception. I usually find myself working half of the day in the afternoons meeting with my staff. But, Monday morning is a great time to reflect and take it easy working on my computer.

What's your favorite part of being a pastor? I believe all pastors have answered the "calling" from a deep seated desire to help people. It is this desire to help people that I find my favorite part. Over the years, you help people who are out of food, need assistance, prayer for health and healing, or need some level of directional assistance in life. You help all kinds of people in this profession. I find this very rewarding and have counted it a privilege over the years to be able to help others in whatever capacity.

What hobbies do you have? I have three hobbies. First, I love to go fishing. I have always enjoyed fishing for bass and crappie. When I was growing up, my father ran the Lewallen Boy Scout Camp for a number of years, and we lived there every summer in a cabin. Since that time, I have always enjoyed being out in the woods and nature. Fishing provides that connection to nature for me.

The second thing I have enjoyed doing over the years is being a reserve deputy for Scott County. I have done that for more than 29 years. I have enjoyed working with those men and ladies over the years in law enforcement and have a sincere appreciation for what they do on a daily bases. It has given me a prospective on life that many have not seen or experienced.

Lastly, I like drawing. I laid this down after my high school days, but have picked it up in recent years and find it rewarding.

What else do you do besides serve as pastor? Several years ago I started a group called "Winning Business." It started out as a way to encourage people to venture out into the business world and influence the marketplace. I have seen several businesses come to fruition through this endeavor. Some of the people I have worked with have partnered with me in investments to create venture capital for revenue streams to support ministry work. I have also started Eagle Ridge International that brings in international students into Eagle Ridge Christian School. This has proven to be a great experience for students to experience different cultures from around the world. They come and live with Christian parents and attend Eagle Ridge. The numbers vary each year, but we have grown to enjoy and love all those foreign students. We feel they are part of our family.

I am presently working on a program to take high school graduates through a mentoring program. Over the years, I have seen the need to help students find out their purpose in life. Many, after leaving the high school ranks, wonder for a number of years not sure of their direction to take. I desire to see these students pointed in the right direction by mentoring them in three areas: college level academics, business, and principles of leadership. Each will be enrolled in college courses and proctored by teaching professionals. Secondarily, each student will work under a business professional in various occupational fields. Lastly, every student will work within the ministry environment, assigned to particular areas in Eagle Ridge and Rock of Cape. This is operational now, but should be fully developed in the near future.

Do you have a prayer, psalm or verse you would like to give our readers for the day? Philippians 4:12-13 (NKJV) I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

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