A FIRM FOUNDATION
Mark H. Ballard was born on January 18, 1968, in Pueblo, Colorado. He was the youngest of Ophir and Velma Ballard’s nine children.
Ophir was a World War II veteran. He fought with the 5th Army’s 36th Infantry Division that battled its way from Paestum on the southwestern coast of Italy, northward through Rome. Ophir’s exemplary Army service ended with a severe wound in a battle north of Rome. After a year’s recovery, he returned to civilian life.
As a steel worker and dry land farmer, Ophir worked hard to provide for his family. He and Velma taught their children five life-forming principles.
– Work hard without complaining.
– Survive with what you have and what you can produce.
– Share freely with others.
– Enjoy a vital personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
– Live for something and Someone bigger than yourself.
Mark took these principles to heart. When he was 7 years old, he trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. He responded to God’s call when he was just 10 years old and preached his first sermon when he was 12 years old. Soon, churches confirmed his call. He received invitations to preach in churches all across southern Colorado.
THE JOURNEY BEGAN
On August 16, 1986, Cindy Hogue stood before her pastor in her beautiful, lacey white wedding dress. Her nervous groom, dapper in his rented gray tuxedo, looked into her blue eyes. As the high school sweethearts said, “I do,” they could not imagine the life awaiting them. Cindy never imagined that her smiling teenage groom would become a pastor, church planter, passionate evangelist, revival and Bible Conference speaker, church consultant, seminar leader, professor, creative author, and pacesetting Baptist leader, let alone the founder and first president of a Baptist college. She was well aware of Mark’s passion for sharing and preaching the gospel. She knew his hunger for knowledge and his aspiration to be an effective pastor would take them to a Baptist College. But beyond that, she could not imagine where their mutual commitment to follow God’s leadership—no matter what or where—would lead them.
EDUCATION & SERVICE
In the 30+ years since their wedding, Mark Ballard has planted and pastored churches in Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and New Hampshire. At the same time he earned degrees from Criswell College (B.A.) and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. and Ph.D.). He did further post-graduate studies at Trinity Theological Seminary. Each step of the way, Cindy has been his faithful helper and supporter, encourager and prayer partner.
Dr. Ballard was an active participant in the Conservative Resurgence of the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1980’s and 90’s, and an uncompromising supporter of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. He actively participated in the local Baptist Associations and state or regional Baptist Conventions wherever he served. For example, he was the interim director of the New Hampshire Baptist Association. The Baptist Convention of New England elected him to both Vice President and President. He served as a trustee of LifeWay and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. Further, Ballard is a founding Steering Council member and Northeastern Regional representative of the Conservative Baptist Network.
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS
Even before Mark attended college, he sensed that God would someday use him to found a Baptist College. He told no one, lest they think it a teenage “preacher-boy’s” delusion of grandeur as he traveled the backcountry roads of Colorado. However, the dream came to fruition when Northeastern Baptist College, Bennington, Vermont, opened its doors in the fall of 2013. Today, Dr. Ballard continues as the college’s First President.
Following years of longing and prayer, the Ballards’ finally fulfilled their desire for a child of their own. In 2005 they traveled to an orphanage in China to welcome Benjamin into their family. Being Benjamin’s mom and dad is one of Mark and Cindy’s greatest earthly joys. Subsequently, Mark penned Benjamin’s unique story for publication in LifeWay’s “Home Life” magazine.
Dr. Ballard continues leading Northeastern Baptist College to develop students and graduates who have:
– The Mind of Scholar
– The Heart of a Shepherd
– The Perseverance of a Soldier
Dr. Ballard’s weekly podcast, “Perspectives on Perseverance,” seeks to provide Biblical, historical, and contemporary perspectives on perseverance that encourages listeners to persevere in their walk with the Lord and in their service to Him, to His people, and to His creation.