Check out some of the video testimonies on our Pastors4Pastors initiative!Jonathan Haseley, Jen Binford, Mario Alejandre, Anna Tucker, Christian Nichles
“Pastoring leaders and churches toward health, impacts real people. I am one of them. God sent Marcus to me when I hit the wall and Marcus helped lead me through it. Know I am deeply grateful and sense the other side of the wall. May you be encouraged as you press on as Christ compels you.”Jen Binford, Boise, ID
Church Health & Revitalization:
“In the Fall of 2020, Pastor Marcus Carlson came to our church to help lead our church into a new era of growth and spiritual leadership. His guidance and encouragement have helped our congregation grow and become a much more vital and healthy congregation. His personality invites conversation of all age levels to be heard and then takes that information to give much needed feedback for going forward. His knowledgeable insight into what is needed to not only go forward as a healthy church, but also a church who loves Jesus and wants to invite and share this love with others. Our church was blessed for his incredible love and dedication to us!”Lucy Walker, Lay Leader, Spring Branch, TX
“I’ve had the privilege of knowing Marcus both professionally and personally over the last three years. I have seen him work up close and personal. On a personal note, he has a passion to assure that leaders are as healthy as possible. He has always been committed to my health. He is an active listener, asks good questions and is always willing to ask the right questions, even if no one else wants to. I’m a more effective leader and more healthy disciple of Jesus because of Marcus’ influence. I’ve also seen Marcus do some great work with churches that are either in transition or crisis. His love to see the church be as healthy as they can be flows from his commitment to the Gospel and the security he has in his identity in Christ. Marcus brings an educational and experiential expertise that allows him to speak prophetically, pastorally, and relationally into every community that he is serving. Every church he has worked with has grown and is better suited to move into their God-breathed vision as a result of their partnership with Marcus for the Kingdom. I cannot endorse Marcus enough. Whether your community is needing to become more healthy, or they are already growing deeper in their commitment to that end, Marcus can help facilitate and foster more intentional growth. If you are a pastor in need of a support network where you can just be and experience streams of refreshing, take advantage of the resources Marcus makes available. The chief one being himself.”Pastor Mario Alejandre, Omaha, NE
“The leadership and purposeful coaching offered by Preparing for Amazement Ministries and Marcus Carlson to our church and ministries positively reignited our church. Marcus brought an energy and mission that uncovered the hidden treasures in our church. He recognized the need for leadership and guided, coached, and prayed with the church community. He demonstrated leadership and accountability in his actions. Change within our church was not seamless or without hurdles; however the actions Marcus set into motion were focused on processes, mission and accountabilities. Personally I appreciated how Marcus guided the church leaders and church community. He openly explained the dynamics of a healthy church ministry. He walked with us as we leaned on prayer to guide us and rebuild a healthier church ready to serve our Lord.”Lori Winkler, Lay Leader, Spring Branch, TX
“Pastor Marcus has been a huge blessing to our church in making the environment healthier. Not just for the staff and council, but for the congregation as well. He came at a time that we really needed a lot of help with grieving because of the loss of our Pastor due to resignation. We were having to unlearn a lot of bad habits and he helped us to put good procedures and policies in place. For myself, his caring manner and his positive outlook on how to move forward, helped me so much. I can’t thank him enough for all his help and I will continue to use what he has taught me in my position as Office manager, as a member of our church and in life. I would highly recommend Pastor Marcus and Preparing for Amazement Ministries!”Sherry Schneider, Church Staff, Bulverde, TX
“When I was in need to develop a mission and vision process to help begin the revitalization of my congregation, Marcus Carlson was recommended to me. What struck me first was how relatable and encouraging he is for pastors who are trying to help congregations in trouble. Throughout the year I worked with him, he was never short on words to bolster my mood, affirm my decisions, or help the people entrusted to me. To that end, Marcus provided a foundation, structure, and process that was not only intuitive, but also forgiving. We were able to take other paths when needed, even as we stuck to his process at other times. Ultimately, the encouragement and help provided got us to a point where we now know why our congregation exists. Even better, we have hope for the future as we watch God work in and through us!”Rev. Nathan Whittaker, Pastor, Fort Wayne, IN
The United States has become one of the largest mission fields on the planet. Many congregational leaders and pastors now find themselves leading churches in need of revitalization and recalibration in order to join Jesus on his mission. Marcus Carlson, with revitalization and servant-leadership experience, has mentored and coached me in my own ministry setting. With the heart of a pastor, he has walked alongside me – bringing encouragement, insight, and accountability. With the passion of a visionary practitioner, he has inspired and equipped me to lead God’s people into a missionary lifestyle.Rev. Jonathan Haseley, Pastor, Omaha, NE
International Pastor Training:
Nepal Pastor Training
We were blessed by your visit and training. The training you given to our church leaders and youth was very important. Some of our pastors and church leaders have not gone for proper theological training. They have done short courses just to be evangelist and church planter.
They could know of the history of the church and denominations how it separated and some prominent church leaders. They could know also the challenges in the churches and spreading of the gospel.
This training gave an encouragement to our church leaders to study Bible and related books more and more to know more things. They have gained the knowledge that would have not found by themselves.
Youths are assisting in the church work and encouraged to go for the Bible study. This training has been a helpful for our ministry.
We feel the need of similar kind of more training for our pastor/lay leaders for their better understanding and knowledge.
NELC will welcome you for assisting and contributing in ministry.~Rev. Patras Marandi, General Secretary, NELC
Below is an unedited testimony from a pastor in Bangladesh where we have done training.
Dear Rev. Marcus Carlson,
Please receive my love and respect in the name of Jesus Christ. I hope you are well by God’s bless and I am too well by the same bless.
I still remember your last visit in Bangladesh. I noticed your knee operation and intolerance pain you felt during visiting in Bangladesh but also noticed your energetic desire for training pastor and Church leaders. The Bangladeshi pastor and leaders often ask me about you and when they will get training again from you. I just say to them please pray for him so he can come again for helping you through training.
Dear Marcus I always say that your teaching is like a medicine for the Bangladeshi people and for me too. When you were teaching us in Bangladesh pastor to pastor conference in Bangladesh and in India too.We imagined that somehow you had been living Bangladesh for few years and faced our problems and have a profound experienced of Christian life in Bangladesh and you have the same experienced that we have.
So your teaching was successfully changed most of the pastors life. Marcus all the people want in the world that someone understands their situation and talk about that and you were that man who did like that through God mighty words and as a result pastors and Church leaders spiritual life became stronger than before and also removed many wrong ideas about false teachings of gospel.
We have attend many conferences and seen many foreign speakers but you are the most lovable trainer for the Bangladeshi people. Most of the people was missed you a lot when you left Bangladesh been finished your teaching after two days. We remembered our accommodation wasn’t good for you so you had to stayed at hotel but you managed it goodly.
Marcus my friend people miss you and want you will come again and stay with them and give them very need trainings. Few pastors asked me that if Marcus will come another Asian country for the conference trainer then give us opportunity so we can attend his conference. I know it’s very hard for them to go another country for attending conferences as they belongs to middle class families.
That’s why please consider our willing to get you as trainer in Bangladesh soon.
Please come and try to bring Jessica because you both are favourite speakers of Bangladeshi people. As you know we haven’t ability to organise like this type of conference so please help us through your training and make us spiritually strong in the name of Jesus Christ.
Please know that you and Jessica are always in my prayers and thoughts and also know that several pastors are continuously praying for you.You both are Godly and very blessed couple. So it’s my open invitation that if you could come in Bangladesh and give us trainings then we will be grateful forever. Please forgive me if I have done any mistakes in this testimony of yours. Thank you very much.
Your friend in Christ.Unnamed Pastor (for safety), Bangladesh
Report on the two day youth leadership seminar held at Shalom House on 23rd to 24th February 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Rev. Dr. Marcus J. Carlson visited Kenya with a group from his church, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church to see the works that one of their own church member, who is a missionary in Kenya, is doing. It is through this visit that Pastor Marcus and I identified the need to have a youth leadership conference targeting the Kenyan Lutheran congregations.
Through the local organizing committee in Kenya, we selected 60 youths leaders across various congregations. Most of them arrived on Thursday evening and got their accommodation at Shalom House Hotel. The conference had three speakers, who presented various topics, and they were headed by Pastor Marcus.The topics in the conference were evangelism, Christian accountability, leadership, adolescence today, discipleship, and teaching youth. The youth were excited and interested in all the teachings. They asked and answered questions on any matters arising from the teachings. The church leadership was also represented as most pastors, including the diocesan bishop, were present during the training. The youth also shared meals together after the session and had time to socialize. From the feedback, most of the youth wanted this to be made an annual event because it was helpful to them. They also requested copies of the notes so that they could share with the others who were not in the conference.
Erick Liona, Nairobi, Kenya
Everyone was grateful to Marcus Carlson for this seminar. They requested more informative seminars like this. Indeed, the set objective of this conference was achieved. God bless the work of Pastor Marcus for reaching out to us here in Africa!
Brazil – Leading Change
“The seminar on “Leading through Change” is very insightful for pastors and leaders who serve in established congregations that aim to become more missional in their local contexts. Moreover, Marcus’ networking through this organization will enable seminarian students like me to have the same opportunity to intern in American congregations, gaining cross-cultural experience that will impact their future ministries in their home countries.”~Andre Vogel, Brazil
In February 2019, I was in Kenya for a training for about 50 youth pastors from all over the country. This opportunity was a pivotal one for individuals who had given their lives to others yet did not have access to training. One person even traveled by crowded bus for over 17 hours to come to the gathering. Having nothing of their own, we raised the money to cover all the costs of the conference so that all the pastors had to bring was themselves. Gathering in that conference room together was a gift to all of us. Here we were – separated by our language, our cultural differences, our life experiences – yet united by so much: our love for God and our passion to serve others. One of the most blessed moments was when we discovered that over 40 of the 50 did not have Bibles, and we decided to offer Bibles to those who did not have their own. Handing those Bibles to the pastors was a powerful moment in their lives and in ours. It’s hard to be a youth pastor without Bibles, and the joy on their faces was proof that they received one of the greatest gifts in their lives. For just a little bit of money, we were able to provide those Bibles to them. The next day, I was preaching at a Sunday service in a church. Two girls came to me to ask for Bibles. They had heard that we had given out Bibles and had walked 2 hours to get one. It was a reminder of the importance of the Word of God to all of us. For so little money, lives and communities can be transformed in the name of Jesus. Join us to bring the whole gospel to the whole world!Rev. Dr. Marcus J. Carlson