Mark was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His parents divorced when he was 8 years old, leaving the responsibility for raising him and his brother to his mother. After graduating high school in 1978, he graduated with a Chemical Engineering degree from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1982.
Mark met his wife Shannon at South Dakota Tech. Following graduation on Saturday, they were married on Sunday in the United Methodist Church where they had worshipped during college. Later that week, they drove from South Dakota to Texas where they each had engineering job offers.
Mark went to work for Amoco Chemicals as a Process Engineer while Shannon went to work for Getty Oil in their Mining Design division. Their first child was born in 1985 – Katie Marie Burgess. Shannon chose to focus on parenting in those early years before returning to the work force as a medical assistant pediatrics nurse.
After nine years and many changes in positions and places, Mark found himself reporting to the Vice President of Research, Development, and Engineering with international responsibilities at age 30.
In an effort to realign his life to what he valued most (family & faith), Mark stepped away from that job and took an entry level position with a smaller global chemical company. Through a 13-year career with that second company, Mark again found himself forming multi-disciplinary teams to accomplish strategic business goals; i.e. getting people who spoke different languages to work together to accomplish common goals involving new technologies.
Two critical events happened while Mark was working with this second company. The first was the birth of Mark and Shannon’s son – Jacob Scott Burgess – a miracle story. The second was God calling Mark into fulltime ministry. In a leap of faith, Mark answered that call to ministry in 1999. That required him and his family to once again step back from career, home, and lifestyle.
God opened a door for Mark to serve as a student pastor of a small, rural, two church charge in the Griffin District of the North Georgia Conference while simultaneously attending Candler School of Theology on the Emory University campus in downtown Atlanta.
Upon graduation from seminary, Mark was appointed as pastor to Hampton UMC in Henry County. During those wonderful seven years the church experienced new growth, new staff, and new ministries. Growth allowed that church to purchase property as part of a discerned vision for larger facilities as they began to outgrow the existing campus footprint.
In 2013, Mark moved from Hampton UMC to the First United Methodist Church of Union County in Blairsville. He has served God through that 31-acre church campus for the last six years. The church has grown, added staff, and increased ministries. A third worship service was added, Sunday morning was reconfigured, and a new contemporary worship team was formed.
Mark’s preferred roles in the church include preaching, teaching, developing teams, strategic planning (vision casting) and pastoral care.
While most of Mark’s time goes toward the two things he values most (faith and family), he does enjoy playing tennis, gardening, and woodwork.
Mark and Shannon celebrate their 37th year of marriage this year. With their two children being born 14 years apart, they have been raising children in their home for 34 of those 37 years.
They love the movement of Christ through the empowering Holy Spirit, they love each other, they love their family, and they love leading others closer to the center of God’s heart through Christ. It is what Mark and Shannon have given their lives back to God to do.