Leader Spotlight: Mark Schaefer

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There have been so many amazing people who have touched my life through Spoke Folk and if you know me you also know the best parts of them that rubbed off on me.

I was born with big calves, on a bike, surrounded by string. Actually, I was born in Kansas, but spent all my life in Maryland through college at the University of Maryland. Go Terps! My youth group, church and faith were the most important things in my life growing up. Youth Encounter and Spoke Folk were part of that and continue to be some of the most influential and life-shaping things in my life. I first did Spoke Folk in 1985. There were 9 students and 4 counselors, no helmets and no band (we sang to a cassette track), but God has been using Spoke Folk powerfully for over 40 years. God used Spoke Folk, and the counselors, leaders and friends I met there, to develop me into the man, leader, husband, youth director, pastor, husband, father, missionary and friend that I am today. I have been on 36 tours and my wife makes fun of me for coming home after each one saying “that was the best one ever!”.


I believe God continues to use Spoke Folk in amazing ways and I have never seen a better or more life-changing disciple-making experience that trains students how to be missionaries in their daily lives. Spoke Folk’s mission training keeps getting better and better and I pray it continues to change people’s lives for many decades to come.

I did marry a Spoke Folker. I met my wife Lisa when we traveled together in a Captive Free team. She has done 2 tours. She is the real talented one and she is a wonderful wife and ministry partner. Our family has always thought of ourselves as a missionary family. My sons are also the most important things in my life. Matthew is 21 was just a counselor for the first time on Florida tour. He goes to UNT and is majoring in Family Counseling and works at Water’s Edge with me as our young adult leader and Worship Arts Assistant. Nathan is 19 and is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Theater. Both of them have been on lots of tours and I like nothing better than touring with them and going through daily life with them.

I am thankful to God for all He has given me. I love talking about Jesus and encouraging people. I love being a pastor, husband, father and Spoke Folk director. I am looking forward to directing both Illinois and Michigan tours next summer and getting in some serious ultimate Frisbee time too. I hope to see you then, so get those registrations in now…

Hobbies: I love to cook and feel incomplete on days where I don’t. I love watching all sports, especially the University of Md Terps. I love talking to people.

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