Lead Pastor Update

The search is over!


Meet Mark Deering III

Our next lead pastor

Over the last several months the search committee, elders, and staff met with and rigorously interviewed potential candidates for lead pastor. The interviews focused on identifying a candidate who possessed the key traits from the results of the congregational survey we sent out last December. First, could they be a good mentor to staff and the congregation? Second, do they have a heart for the lost and exhibit their love for the Lord in all areas of life? And finally, would they be able to confidently and courageously lead us as a church? Well, we have found that person in Pastor Mark Deering III. On Sunday, July 16th, our Covenant Members unanimously voted to confirm Pastor Mark as Epikos Church’s next lead pastor.

Pastor Mark will start at Epikos later this summer, and his inaugural sermon as lead pastor will be on September 10th, 2023. 

Hear from Mark as he shares about his heart for ministry

Q+A with Mark

Can you tell us more about your background in ministry?

Mark: Yeah. I never would’ve thought in a hundred years that I would have this opportunity. That God would be leading me in this way. My journey in ministry and my journey in faith had just been one faithful, obedient step at a time. I started in worship ministry and then God moved me from there into campus ministry as a campus pastor. From there, I’ve been serving as an executive pastor over the past five years in Madison. The Lord has given me opportunities to grow as a shepherd and a mentor to those who want to become more like Jesus. He’s provided the opportunity to grow in leadership in a lot of different ways and in very complex organizations. And then also just the ability to grow and love teaching and unpacking God’s word so that we can see what God has for us in the beautiful gift that we have, which is the holy scriptures.

Looking back, I can see now how God’s been working in my life and really our life as a family to bring us to this point. And we’ve been humbled. We started this journey about a little over a year ago, around that time Cassie and I both found ourselves on our daily walk talking about how we both felt like God was nudging us into something next. And we’ve just been in a season for a long time of openness, open hands, and open hearts to see where and how God is leading. When Epikos came up—I remember where we were—Cassie found it online and she’s like, this would just be an amazing fit. And I was just like, well, we’ll see, we’ll see what God has in store and here we are. Here we are.

What would you say you're most passionate about in ministry?

Mark: What I’m most passionate about in ministry is just coming alongside people wherever they’re at in their spiritual journey. Whether that’s from the platform, preaching, or just one-on-one. Cassie and I do a lot of work with couples or men and women individually as they find themselves maybe in a crisis of faith or crisis in their life. And just helping them find where they’re at in their faith during that time and how they can become as Epikos says, better disciples. Oftentimes, we find more disciples in that way too, just continually pointing people to Jesus and how he’s behind everything and everything is for him.

How have you seen the Lord equip you for this role? What ministry experience and skills has the Lord gifted you with that will help you lead Epikos well?

Mark: That’s a great question. So, a little over a year ago when Cassie and I were starting to have early conversations, you know, one of the conversations that we were having was just how has God uniquely wired us as a couple, but then how has God uniquely wired me if I were to truly step into a lead pastor role. And from the beginning, there were just very foundational things that came to mind. Strengths in solid biblical teaching, solid ministries, and wanting to help people become better disciples. Whether they’re very tiny people like our children or full adults like ourselves. And then also just outreach into the community is a big thing, right? So we can be like Jesus, not just when we’re comfortably sitting next to each other in our seats at our campuses, but when we’re living life in our neighborhoods, in our homes, and definitely in our workplaces.

Something that God’s really laid on our hearts too, is just we wanted to be part of a church that valued a diverse expression of the beauty of the gospel and how Jesus is for all people. And Epikos definitely has that. That’s one of the things that attracted us to Epikos. I’ve had the privilege of being at large multi-site churches for over a decade. And so being a part of a church that has a strong multiplication philosophy and outreach is something that’s really important to us as well. So that lined up as well, just three campuses strategically placed, providentially placed, all around the city to reach more people.

What are some of the opportunities you see at Epikos as we continue to grow?

Mark: This is an exciting question and there are so many opportunities that we could talk about. Epikos, like I just said, is strategically placed all around the city to continue to reach more people, right? Your mission is to make more and better disciples. So there’s a lot of opportunity just within the campuses that we have and the ministries that we have. But then I got to meet the staff and the staff is like just poised and ready to really just excel and grow and explode with great seasons of ministry ahead. And so that’s really exciting to see what God’s gonna do through that. And at the end of the day, I just come back to the fact that it’s just like our faith journey and just the journey we’ve had in ministry. It’s just one faithful, obedient step after the other. I’m very confident that God has great plans in store for the city of Milwaukee, and I’m very hopeful and confident that Epikos is at the heart of those plans. I would love the opportunity to be the lead pastor who courageously leads in this next season.

What opportunities do you see to further the gospel in Milwaukee?

Mark: Milwaukee has an endless amount of opportunities. Being able to meet with the staff and the elders and the search team and a handful of other individuals, there is a deep passion at Epikos to continue to fulfill your mission—to make more and better disciples. And Milwaukee provides a great opportunity for that as the landscape is rich for people to become better disciples of Jesus Christ, and to reach more people for Christ. Where God has allowed Epikos to be placed all around the city—the opportunity to see this mission grow and be fulfilled is incredible. We love the heart behind Epikos to see the beautiful diversity of the gospel itself reflected in the communities that it reaches, the communities that are reflected in the rows at every one of the campuses. We love the heart behind being a church that’s in the city, being a church that’s part of the city, and the other suburbs surrounding the city as well, so that the heart of Jesus isn’t just seen on a Sunday morning, but day to day through the people who call Epikos home.

Search process

1. Self-evaluation

During this step, we will gather information on who we are as a church. This includes things such as our size, our budget, our demographic, and our spiritual growth. This is done to give the search agency we’re working with a better view of who we are and help potential candidates understand who we are.

This step will take approximately two months.

2. Survey congregation

During this step, we will survey you the congregation about what you see our future to be and what qualities you are looking for in a lead pastor.

This step will take approximately 2–4 weeks.

3. Evaluate

During this step, we will evaluate the information gathered from the previous two steps in order to begin crafting a job description for the Lead Pastor position.

This step will take approximately 1–2 months.

4. Post job

After we’ve evaluated the information previously gathered about who Epikos Church is and what we’re looking for in a new Lead Pastor, the search committee will craft a job description for the role and will post it.

5. Interview candidates

During this step, the search committee will review applications and interview potential candidates.

This step will take approximately 3–9 months.

6. Extend a call

Once our search committee has narrowed down applications, we will conduct a formal interview with elders and staff. When we have come to an accord we will present the candidate and have our Covenant Members vote to confirm, and the elders will extend a call to a candidate.

Questions? Send us an email