Meet the Pastor
Name, Age: Rev. Mark A. Riddix III, 38
Church, how long: Mount Zion Baptist Church, 2000 Belvedere Avenue, Baltimore, Md., 2 years
Education: Bachelor of Science in Finance, Oral Roberts University Master of Arts in Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary & University Currently pursuing Ph.D. in New Testament Theology
How did you hear your call to ministry?
My call to ministry came later in life. I always felt the call to ministry but was hesitant about preaching because it conflicted with the plans that I had constructed for my own life. My dream was to be the CEO of an investment management firm and to remain in the corporate world for life. God however had different plans for my life. One day while reading and praying, I heard God speak as clear as day telling me it was time to accept the ministerial call on my life and preach the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A transformation took place at that moment and I have never looked back since that time.
What was the biggest surprise when you started ministry?
It is the total commitment required in being the senior pastor of a church. The work of the preacher may end on Sunday evening but the work of the pastor is just beginning after Sunday morning worship. It is a spiritual, physical, emotional and mental investment of all your energies. The ministry is a 24 hour a day, seven day a week calling. You are always on call and need to be available to meet the needs of the people. As the pastor, you carry the cares and concerns of the membership on your heart with you everywhere you go. There is never an off day when something is not needed of you. I was surprised by the totality of the investment that ministry entails.
Of what aspect are you most proud?
I am most proud of the commitment to prayer and theological study that the members of Mount Zion have made over the past two years. The focus of the church is to “Create a Christ-Centered Community.” This can only be done through submission, obedience and cooperation with the Spirit of God. The concentrated effort and commitment to God has brought forth an increase in the church membership, Christian school enrollment, missionary outreach help and evangelistic efforts. God has blessed us on every hand and the church has prospered despite facing challenging circumstances. I look forward with great anticipation to the work that God will continue to do at Mount Zion.
What’s the most exciting thing about your ministry?
The people. God has blessed me to be the steward over a great congregation. I love the people at Mount Zion and enjoy preaching each week to people seeking to find wholeness in the gospel message of Christ. I enjoy being able to serve in the important moments of life: marriages, baby dedications, baptisms. It is exciting to see the gospel of Christ transform the core being of people and help them grow spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
How does social media enhance your ministry?
Social media has truly been a blessing at Mount Zion as technology has helped to spread the gospel message and further ministry awareness. Facebook, Twitter, UStream and radio (Heaven 600) have been invaluable tools in helping to reach a wider audience and updating individuals on the ministerial activities that take place at the church. It had helped to make the community aware of the multitude of services we provide.
Who in your community most inspires you?
I am always inspired by the endeavors of fellow ministers who are helping to bring about the work of the kingdom of God on earth and who help others to grow into the fullness of Christ. I am inspired by the social justice focus of Pastor Heber Brown III, the spiritual integrity of Bishop Clifford Johnson, and the visionary focus of Bishop Walter Scott Thomas, Dr. William Curtis, and Bishop Heber Brown Jr.
What’s your favorite form of recreation? Self care?
My favorite form of recreation is working out. Going to the gym and exercising is a great way to de-stress as it helps me to relax and unwind from the pressures of ministry. It enables me to let go of the daily pressures and come back revitalized. In terms of self-care, I enjoy getting away to the movies, playing basketball, going fishing, and playing chess. Reading and educational pursuits are my intellectual self-care.