Inspiring Journey of Faith and Ministry: Mark and Dee Jobe
Join Dave and Ann Wilson as they host Mark and Dee Jobe on FamilyLife Today. In this inspiring conversation, Mark, the president of Moody Bible Institute, and his wife Dee share their incredible journey of faith and ministry. From parenting challenges to church planting and evangelism, they offer valuable insights and reflections on making a lasting impact through faith. Tune in to be encouraged and inspired by their story.
About the Guest
- Connect with Mark Jobe and catch more of his thoughts on PastorMarkJobe.com, and his podcast, Bold Steps.
- Catch Mark on social media on Insta, Facebook, and Twitter @markjobechicago.
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Join Mark and Dee Jobe on FamilyLife Today as they share their inspiring journey of faith and ministry, offering valuable insights on parenting, church planting, and evangelism.
Inspiring Journey of Faith and Ministry: Mark and Dee Jobe
Mark: It’s impossible I think to have a healthy, solid, love-filled marriage without the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that’s breaking us, causing us to surrender our rights, and loving sacrificially. So I think the key starts with our surrendering ourselves to God and instead of you focusing on, “Lord change my spouse.”
Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Shelby Abbott and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com or on the FamilyLife® app.
Ann: This is FamilyLife Today!
Dave: As parents you pray your kid’s whole life and then when you send them off to college you’re hoping that their years at college prepare them for life.
Ann: Yes that it will make a difference in their lives, that what they’re gaining will be useful. We hope that they will follow Jesus and really discover His plan for their lives.
Dave: Yes, I remember driving out of Chicago- [Laughter]
Dave: –and looking in the rearview mirror back at this city
Ann: -this gigantic--
Dave: –and I just thought, [Laughter] “I just dropped my middle son off in the heart of Chicago. Are we crazy?” [Laughter] It’s, it was scary and his little girlfriend is in the backseat, they were married before he graduated from college. But I remember
Ann: –and she’s sobbing.
Dave: –she’s sobbing her, just sobbing.
Mark & Dee: –aww
Dave: –and we are too.
Ann: It’s a five hour drive.
Dave: –a five hour drive and we’re thinking, “Did we do the right thing?” You know we should have put him in a cornfield in you know [Laughter] a little community college but he’s in Chicago. But I’ll never forget when we visited the campus, and I don’t know if it’s still there, we’ll find out today because we’ve got not only former Moody Bible Institute student but now the President of Moody Bible Institute Mark Jobe and his wife Dee in the studio. In fact let me just say welcome to FamilyLife Today. You’ve never been here right?
Mark: We’ve never been here.
Mark: So it’s great to be here.
Dave: Yes it’s great to have you here.
Dee: Thank you.
Dave: Is it still there? When Austin and I visited, I can’t remember where it was but sort of on a cement post or thing it had 2 Timothy 2:15
Mark: It’s still there.
Dee: –in the arch.
Mark: –in the arch-
Dave: That’s where it was?
Mark: –in cement-
Dave: –I just remembered
Mark: –the verse is right there.
Dave: –looking up there, “Be a workman of the Word, handling the Word”
Dave: –and I remember looking up there, “Is this a sign for God?” This is what I hope, what we all hope as parents
Dave: –your sons and daughters will be as adults and I remember thinking, “This is part of their mission here,”
Ann: Hmm, and he loved his experience-
Ann: –at Moody Bible and so it’s really fun-
Ann: –that this is what, part of what you do.
Mark: It is.
Ann: You also founded a church in Chicago, how many years ago?
Mark: 1986. You know why I know that? Because it’s the same year that we got married.
Dee: Mmm hmm
Dave: You got married and started a church the same year? [Laughter]
Dave: Alright tell us, tell us this story.
Ann: Yes tell us even how did you meet
Dave: You’re not just a president you’re a pastor–I mean it’s just amazing
Mark: Let me just say first of all you were sobbing dropping off your son. The last time we had welcoming of new students several mothers were sobbing dropping off their children. So I went up to one mother and I said, “I know this is hard. I know you’re probably holding back the tears.” She looked back at me and said, “Oh no,” she said, “we’re super excited. Now he’s your problem.” [Laughter]
Ann: –there’s that
Mark: So I said, “You could at least wait until you walked around the corner before you’re giving high fives and cheering. [Laughter] At least act like you’re sorry.”
Dave: How did that go if you’re getting married the same year you’re starting a church? We started a church and it’s not easy.
Dave: And marriage is not easy. So how’d that go?
Mark: So how’d it go Dee? [Laughter]
Dave: You know Mark you did the right thing. You just asked your wife to answer. That’s a good move. [Laughter]
Dee: Well actually Moody at that time only had a three year degree. You had to go somewhere else for your bachelors and so-
Ann: Dee did you go to school there too?
Dee: I didn’t finish because someone had to support this man [Laughter] that’s making $8000 a year at the first church, at the church we started. So I never finished unfortunately. So actually when we came, Mark was at Columbia International University finishing up his degree. I went there for a semester to get some more classes, came back, and six months later we got married.
Dee: Correct? I actually grew up in that church.
Ann: Did you?
Dee: Yes so it was a long story, but I grew up in there as a little girl; so to see the church that I was raised in in this neighborhood called Back of the Yards, it never grew to more than 40 people. Mark said, “I’ll give you a commitment for three years. I'll stay.” They said, “Would you stay?” and he says, “I’ll give you a commitment for three years.”
Mark: It was like a church plant because there was 18 people, they hadn’t had a pastor but it had been around for awhile.
Dave: Now is this the church that I read in your book, which by the way we didn’t mention but it’s called What Now? How to Move into Your Next Season. Is this the church you talk about in the beginning?
Dave: I told Ann on the drive over here, because she didn’t read that part of the book so I said you heard another guy was going to candidate for that church, he pulled up saw the building and just drove away?
Dee: Several [Laughter]
Mark: –quite a few. Well you know they could only–this was an inner city church in the southwest side of Chicago, literally drug dealers on the corner, drive-by shootings, and their salary package was $8000 a year. No insurance. No parsonage
Dave: No insurance?
Mark: –and so
Dee: I was the insurance carrier. [Laughter]
Dave: Why ?
Ann: Dee this was the neighborhood you grew up in?
Ann: Did you want to get out of here?
Dee: Well I wanted to.
Dave: She wanted to teach in Spain. [Laughter]
Dee: Yes, I thought he was taking me away. I had a real heart for the people - some of the same people were there that I did grow up with; they were hurting. It was not a good situation. The pastor left them very wounded. I called a friend of ours at Dallas Theological [Seminary] and said, “Mark’s looking for a place to minister for the s mer. Do you have anything?” He said, “Go back,” it was called a mission. He said, “Go back to the mission and they need help right now.” and that’s–we went to just help the mission for the summer.
Ann: And for $8000.
Mark: Well, I was 20 years old helping out. I still had a semester left in Bible college and after the summer they said, “Would you come and be the pastor here?” I”m like, “Well, I’m going to Spain, [Laughter] I plan on going to Spain.” And I said, “You know what, let’s pray about it. I will come and help you out for three years until you can get a real pastor.” Think about it. I’m 20 years old at this time so no experience.
Dave: Yes, yes.
Mark: They said, “Okay.” So that’s how we started, but it started exploding with people coming to Christ. We started seeing tons of people come to Jesus that were from all kinds of really difficult, challenging backgrounds.
Ann: Let me ask you this. It starts exploding. What was your prayer at the very beginning of just nobody there you know? It’s so little.
Dee: I remember Mark saying he went to the church one day and said, “I’m just praying over the pews. Lord, you had 12 men. Give me 12 men.” And he started praying and walking down the aisles for God to fill those pews with some solid men that loved the Lord.
Mark: You know what’s funny though? Years later a reporter came in and she was doing a segment on mega churches and she was not a believer, but she walked in our service. The first comment she made was, “Wow. There’s a lot of men in this church.” And I thought, “I’m glad you noticed,” because I thought to myself there was a time that I prayedLord there were four men. I prayed, “Lord, give us men.” And so I have a real passion. I speak at a lot of men’s conferences as well because I think not only in urban America but across the country we have a lot of men that are absentee fathers, that are not speaking into raising their children. I think that in urban America sometimes you see it even more. We’re happy now that we’re known for having a lot of men.
Dave: That’s super powerful
Dave: It really is and I know a little of your backstory with your dad, with your family in Spain. Is that what you saw growing up? You told me yesterday about your dad riding a horse or a donkey.
Ann: It was a donkey.
Dave: I thought it was a horse.
Mark: It was a horse. It was a horse named Thrumple [spelling?]. Dad was kind of a guy’s guy. He liked cars, liked to fix, he always had grease on his hands.
He was saved at 18 and was going to be an electrical mechanic in the steel mills in Northern Indiana. But God radically got a hold of his life and he thought, “I want to go to the Amazon jungle,” the most extreme thing he could think of. Married my mother who was studying to be a nurse and they took off for South America.
There wasn’t any opening or team in the Amazon jungles, but Chile and so he would ride a horse up to the mountains of Chile to do Bible studies there. We lived in these real remote sort of villages, very rustic villages. Then he got on his BMW and he toured Mexico preaching and then he had a Bultaco that he rode through Spain looking for a city that had no gospel witness. We landed in a city of 140,000 people that had no evangelical protestant church. That’s where I grew up in this city. But he was sort of this maverick pioneer - let’s go all out for Jesus and my mother was just as hearty. She’s 85 years old, still lives in Spain
Mark: Still lives in Spain. He’s buried outside of the city that he threw his life into reaching for Christ
Dee: –mmm hmm
Mark: There’s a building built by the Spaniards, the first evangelical building in the city of Burgos and there’s a little plaque, a very small inconspicuous plaque at the entrance to the building that says, “To Robert Jobe,” it’s in Spanish, “who loved us and taught us the ways of Jesus.
Dee: Mmm hmm
Dave: Mmm .Wow.
Mark: It makes me emotional, because I learned from my father what it was to, first of all be a follower of Jesus, be a man, and love a woman.
Dave: Yes as you were saying that I was thinking, yes I don’t know you that well but I’m like you are your father’s son.
Dave: And then when you just described your mom I thought I’m looking at her.
Ann: Yes, Dee you are that person. [Laughter]
Dave: I mean you guys are living a life very similar.
Dave: I mean your horse was a car, but you’re driving into the streets of Chicago-
Dee: –the urban city, yes.
Dave: –where a lot of people are running away from -- I don’t want to be there. I’m doing everything to get out.
Dave: And you’re saying you’re going to go in and ask God for 12 men.
Dee: –mmm hmm
Dave: You’ve got me teary.
Mark: So we had really a missionary heart. I thought I was going to the mission field. To stay in the US felt a little bit like, I’m compromising. To be honest with you, to buy a house felt like, “Man, I’m caving in.”
Mark: Because my parents moved 14 times, several different countries.
Dee: –never owned a home.
Mark: – they didn’t buy a house because they felt God could take us and move us and we want to pioneer so we were bred on that sort of spirit of you’re all in for Jesus. You live, you move, you throw yourself in for the cause of the gospel and-
Dee: –They came to the states to help us for two years early on and they came literally after 30 years in Spain at that time, or 25 years with an army backpack, a duffel bag each.
Ann: – that’s it.
Dee: That’s all they had. [Laughter] They came for two years.
Dave: This is not my home.
Dee: This is not my home and they came and ministered and they lived in a tiny two room in our apartment building in a little basement place and loved people. And that’s what people say about him. He loved God and loved people so, so, much. Very simple.
Ann: What you said was, “He threw his life into Jesus Christ.
Dee: Yes, yes
Ann: And as you said that I thought, I’m teary too, how many other things are we throwing our lives into?
Dave: Yes, yes
Ann: Things that don’t matter. At the time it feels so important. I’m thinking about sports-
Ann: –for our kids. I’m thinking of our houses-
Ann: –and our retirement and there’s so many things we think will bring us fulfillment and security. I thought about that would be a good question to ask our kids, “What do you think I’m throwing my life into?”
Ann: I would, I asked that one time when our kids were younger and they said sports.
Dave: Don’t, don’t. Don’t go there. [Laughter]
Ann: We’re throwing our lives into sports, but it made me think like that’s not what I want them to say. I want them to say, “It’s Jesus.”
Dee: Yes, yes.
Ann: That story is super inspiring. Your dad is still impacting all of us as you shared that story.
Dave: Yes well you talk about legacy. I mean here’s my thought. So many people, I’m sure people ask you the same thing, “How do you raise an on-fire Christ follower?” You know my kids, their parents.
Ann: Because you have a son that is working with you.
Ann: –is preaching.
Mark: Yes, by God’s grace all three of our children, 24, 29, and 30 year old, all three of them are following Jesus, love the Lord. I would say by the grace of God, by the grace of God in spite of our mistakes, in spite of our issues.
Dave: But you know what I think is so often Christian parents thinkthat our answer to them to raise a godly Christ follower as an adult is get them in a Christian school, get them in a good church.
Dave: –Obviously great stuff, but I think you showed it. It’s you live on-fire for Jesus; it will just permeate.
Dave: –Again it doesn’t guarantee anything.
Dee: By the grace of God
Dave: There’s no magic formula but man watching you watch your parents.
Dave: Is that it?
Mark: It, I think it does
Dave: Is that the most important thing?
Dee: My son Josiah just wrote him a really nice letter. He’s a great writer. He wrote Mark a letter this past year and uh again said, “Dad you know you are who you are all the time. You’re not one person at home and one person in the pulpit or the church. You are who you are,” because of the Lord of course, Yes I think our kids have seen that. I come from a different family
Ann: Tell us about yours Dee.
Dee: My parents were Christians and actually were raised in the little storefront church. My dad was from that neighborhood. There was a guy who came in from the suburbs and started this little storefront thing for neighborhood kids. Long story short, he came to Christ. He raised us to go to church and to love God, but he-
Mark: –he was great, he was a hard worker-
Dee: How do I say it?
Mark: –hard worker, extremely hard worker and a great father in the sense of loving his kids. He wasn’t a great husband.
Dee: So I saw a lot of turmoil and a lot of that at home which was just unhealthy for all of us. But he made us go to church every Sunday, Sunday night, Wednesday Prayer Meeting, but I didn’t really see it as lived out as Mark had seen it.
Actually when we came back from our honeymoon I remember sitting at the table at Connie’s Pizza and just saying, “I you know, really understand now what it means to truly be loved and accepted,” and that was only a month later and after we got married.
Ann: That’s cool.
Dave: Yes. Sounds like you didn’t date too long.
Mark: Well we ended up dating three years.
Dave: Oh you did, three years?
Mark: Yes because I was in college and I met her when I was 18 so we weren’t ready to get married yet. But three years into it as soon as I graduated, almost the week that I graduated from college, I proposed to her. I don’t know where I got this, but I had heard somewhere you know people use the term love too flippantly. So, while we were dating I told her, “The day that I say I love you is the day I’m going to ask you to marry me.”
Mark: So I never said I love you three years of dating, “I like you a lot, da, da, da, da.”
Dee: We’re best friends.
Mark: A lot of work around. [Laughter]
Ann: Did you know he loved you?
Dee: Oh yes.
Ann: You did?
Mark: Oh yes.
Ann: But he didn’t say it?
Dee: No, he didn’t say it.
Mark: So I said, “Hey let’s go to,” there was a state capital in Columbia, South Carolina and I said, “Hey let’s go take some pictures there.” So I actually had done mime.
Dee: He a performed mime.
Mark: -had performed a mime. [Laughter]
Dave: I wish I could tell you to do it right now.
Mark: And I had blown up like three balloons within each other.
Dee: There was a note in each one.
Mark: So she would pop a balloon and a note would pop out and she would read it and I would act it out, and it was our story.
Dee: mmm hmm
Mark: How we met.
Ann: You mimed your story?
Mark: Mimed our story and then stopped until she popped the next balloon and then I’d mime out the rest. Then the final balloon which was the small balloon and she popped it and it said-
Dee: “I love you.”
Mark: “I love you,” and she knew that I had told her the day I told you I love you, I’m going to ask you to marry me so she looked and then I got on my knees right there as a mime and I asked her to marry me.
Dave: That is super cool.
Ann: That is super unique and cool.
Dave: I thought mine was pretty good and I’m like, “Wow!”
Ann: That’s good.
Let me ask you guys, because we talk about marriage a lot. If you have a listener and they’re like, “Our marriage is struggling,” you know maybe the way you were Dee in your family, with your parents. You know we love our kids. We’re together because we love our kids, but our marriage is in turmoil. You guys have three kids that are walking with Jesus, you’re grandparents, you’re doing a lot. But as you talk to people that are struggling in their marriage, what would you say to them? I know you can’t give all the answers but what are the things you would say, “These are the foundational things that have made us strong.”
Mark: I would start by saying it starts with your walk with God. You can look at your spouse and make a list of everything that’s wrong with them and you can say, “If they would respect me more, love me more, show me more, then I would in turn be…” and so many times we wait because we say they have issues.
I think it starts with saying, “Okay God, I’m going to be the person that You call me to be. I have my imperfections. I’m going to surrender to You and God give me the capacity and power to love my spouse with their imperfections just like you’ve loved me with my imperfections.” I think it starts there. It’s impossible I think to have a healthy, solid, love-filled marriage without the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that’s breaking us, causing us to surrender our rights and loving sacrificially. I think the key starts with us surrendering ourselves to God instead of you focusing on, “Lord, change my spouse.”
Ann: I don’t think we can get rid of that habit of seeing the negatives in our spouse unless we do surrender to Christ.
Ann: He’s the One who meets our needs, not our spouse. I’ve tried to get Dave to meet my needs, [Laughter] I’ve tried.
Ann: It just–and he does, he’s an amazing husband, but he’s not enough to meet all of my needs the way Jesus is.
Dee: When we were at Columbia, down at Columbia, it was just the Lord. I went to Moody and then I went to Columbia for a semester. There was a missionary there Cash Godbold, he just went to be with the Lord. He had been in Africa for 25 years. He had only been on campus that one semester in the grad school on a Saturday teaching for 10 weeks Scripture Solutions for Sensitive People. That’s why the Lord brought me there.
For 10 weeks I sat and wept as he taught about how we need to be filled with the love of God and if we are not filled with the love of God. He had a tea cup, a glass, a bucket, and a barrel up on stage. Well Mark’s a tea cup. A person that wakes up in the morning, sun is shining, he’s got a job that’s all he needs. [Laughter]
Then we went all the way on the other side and I’m a barrel. So I have this insatiable need, “God,” you know the emotion of love, “fill me, fill me, fill me, fill me, fill me.” And I felt like I was you know, “What is going on? Why am I feeling so insecure? We’ve been dating three years. What’s going on here?” And it was the Lord. So I talked with Mr. Godbold and he said this is what you need to do.
He sat us down and said, “Mark this is what you need to do.” I had to find verses that spoke God’s love to me to keep me filled. Mark had to work more on verses of gentleness and kindness and meekness and just because he doesn’t have as great a need he has to ask the Lord to help him to be sensitive to meet those needs that I have.
Dave: Hmm. Is he that guy?
Dee: Oh yes, most of the time. [Laughter]
Mark: So she had to learn,
Dee: –and I’m not filled always either.
Mark: She had to learn my identity is in You [Christ], I need to be filled and-
Mark: Mark [you] can’t fill all those needs. I had to learn she’s not wired like me. There’s a greater sensitivity that she has and so I have to be more aware of her needs. We both had a learning curve and we’re both 30 some years into our marriage, and we’re still learning but it works very well. And to be honest he said, “She will make or break your ministry and I think just her understanding, sensitivity of people has made us much more dynamic in ministry than I ever would have been trying to do ministry on my own.
Shelby: I’m Shelby Abbott and you’ve been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Mark and Dee Jobe on FamilyLife Today.
Mark has written a book called What Now? How to Move Into Your Next Season. You know in the midst of spiritual lull or a midlife crisis or an unforeseen pandemic maybe, at some point all Christians feel the need to readdress and reorient to move toward God’s calling in their lives. Mark’s book What Now? is for anyone who wants to emerge from that kind of stagnation that we feel and envision what could be best for the next season of life. You can pick up a copy of Mark’s book What Now? at FamilyLifeToday.com.
If you want to help support more conversations just like the one you heard today you can go online and make a donation to FamilyLife. As a thank you we want to send you a copy of Mary DeMuth’s Love, Pray, Listen. Mary was a guest earlier this week and she talks about parenting your wayward adult kids with joy. That book Love, Pray, Listen is going to be our gift to you when you partner with us financially.
You can go online to FamilyLifeToday.com or give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Again that number is ‘F’ as in family, ‘L’ as in life and then the word TODAY.
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Now tomorrow Mark and Dee Jobe are back in the studio with Dave and Ann Wilson to talk about creating a new legacy. They’re going to go over the transformative power and courage that’s required to break free from the past and embrace a new path. We hope you’ll join us.
On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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