Series: Marriage To Remember
March 19, 2020
Speaker: Mark Bjorlo
I first got involved with The Journey North through their youth group. Though I loved the church I attended at the time, I was able to serve and be involved in new ways at TJN.
Throughout the years, I have grown alongside this church and have taken great joy in helping our youngest attendees learn about God’s mighty power and love!
I’ve been involved with AWANA every year and spent each weekend in the nursery exploring God’s Word with our eager little learners.
I’m grateful and honored to be a part of a church that fully commits to loving God and loving others!
I grew up on a farm in Delta, Colorado. I spent my time working on the farm and playing football. My family was a church going family and that is where I build my strong faith in Jesus. When I was seven years old at a kid’s crusade, I truly decided to make Jesus the leader of my life. All through middle school and high school I led Bible studies at my school. I knew I was going to be one of two things, either a farmer or a preacher. But I knew God was leaning me in one direction. After high school I went to University of Northwestern in St. Paul, MN were I Got a degree in Communications and a degree in Biblical Studies. After college I got a job with West Central Minnesota Youth for Christ in Willmar, MN. After five years at YFC God led me to be a Youth Pastor at a church in the Twin Cities called Spring Lake Park Baptist. A few years after becoming a Youth Pastor at Spring Lake Park Baptist the church merged with a larger church called Eagle Brook. I became the Student Ministries Pastor at Eagle Brook Church Spring Lake Park Campus. After about five years with Eagle Brook Church I went to The Journey North Community Church. At TJN I started out as the Student Ministry pastor then moved into the Creative Arts and Young Adults Pastor. Currently I am the Aitkin Campus Pastor. As Campus Pastor I will be leading the Aitkin Campus making sure we following the vision and mission of The Journey North. I will also be preaching at our weekend services. I am excited to see what God is going to do at TJN and especially TJN Aitkin campus.
I grew up in Inver Grove Heights near the Twin Cities, my Grand parents were always the spiritual leaders in my family who encouraged us to go to church as a family. I was raised in a local Lutheran church until my parents divorced when I was 11. Sadly at that time we stopped going to church all together, but I remember continuing to pray almost every night. A few short years later when I reached my early teenage years one of my very good friends at the time introduced me to the Youth Group called Young Life. This is where I remember truly experiencing God and His presence in my life. I ended up moving from the cities my Sophomore year of high school to the Brainerd / Crosby area to live with my dad. At this time I was still praying, but not walking with The Lord at all. A few years after graduation I met my husband and his son, we married and had our daughter shortly after. We had many years of feeling lost and broken and not knowing how to navigate being parents and having a healthy marriage. At the time I had a co-worker who was serving at the Journey North and he kept on inviting me to check it out sometime. I’ll never forget the morning I woke up and felt this strong urge to go to church. My husband Bobby and I fell in love with the way they did worship and the message felt like it was personally for us. Our kids came out of the kids room smiling and asking when we could come back. I knew in my heart immediately that I wanted to be a part of what God was doing at The Journey North. In 2014 I started on the worship team as a vocalist in Baxter and now in 2021 I’m currently the worship leader at our Aitkin campus. I never realized that we all desperately need Jesus until I started attending The Journey North. I know how much God has changed our family, my marriage and how I navigate life. I want everyone to experience God’s power, presence, grace and forgiveness every single day the way I do. I never want to go a single day without knowing Jesus.
I grew up in Pequot Lakes in a Christian home, but fell away from God in my teen years. A church was planted at my workplace when I was in college and I began attending church again. It was then that I truly made a decision to make Jesus the Lord of my life and my faith became my own. I started attending TJN after hearing the worship band practice when I was visiting one of the shops in the Franklin Arts Center. In my free time I enjoy reading, anything crafty, cooking/baking, and spending time with friends.
My family and I have been members at the Journey North since 2015. Over the years I’ve served in a variety of roles including playing bass on the worship team, finance committee, Ukraine missions team, and Ruby’s Pantry. I’ve been working with The Journey North as a member of the staff since October of 2019 and in June of 2020 I took on the roll of Administrative Pastor. My duties include all of the systems and processes of the church. I help manage our social media accounts and communications. I also help create and implement policies and procedures to ensure effective operation of the church as a member of the Leadership Team. I have been married for 26 years to my wife Emily and have three children; Wade, Alyssa, and Kirsten.
My family and I have been members at TJN for over 13 years. During that time, I have served in a variety of roles including worship, Governance Team and helping with KHAOS. In January of 2020 I took on the role of Executive Pastor, which has been a wonderful new challenge for me. My duties include watching over the facilities, keeping track of the budget and working with staff in various ways. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity. I love The Journey North and the people who call this church their home.
I was born and raised in Big Bear Lake, a small resort town in So Cal. I grew up playing in bands of all kinds of styles, skateboarding, and snowboarding. I also grew up in the church and played music in church since I can remember. After high school, I attended Simpson College in Redding, CA where I met my amazing wife, Andrea. We got married and now have 3 mind-blowing kids, Esme, Owen, and Leo. One of my close friends (Ryan Clair) who played alongside me in the So-Cal mountains’ Christian Punk scene of the ’90s ended up as the Worship Pastor at TJN – and I had stayed in contact with him. After much fasting and praying about what God was calling my family and me to do in 2016 – through Ryan’s connection – we ended up uprooting and moving across the country to Aitkin MN, where I served as the campus worship leader while doing youth ministry at our Baxter campus, at which I now serve as the Worship Pastor! I’ve loved TJN since our first visit because of the apparent and genuine values behind the heart of the leadership – to be a relevant, generous, honorable, united, and authentic church. I felt that my heart for ministry and for those in need of Jesus matched perfectly with those values. In my free time, these days, I am either playing music with friends or hanging out with my wife and kids doing whatever they love doing! My life so far has been up and down but always good and always blessed. Through it all, I’ve learned that I need Jesus every day, and so does everyone else – that is what drives my purpose in ministry. I’ve had quite a few memorable trips and moments of life-change, but I would say doing missions ministry in Mexico during the summers in High School impacted me and my faith in a huge way – getting outside of my comfort zone and realizing that God wants to love and reach people all over the world, in many different situations. My hope in everything I do is to help people find true hope and peace in Jesus right from wherever they are at in life.
I was born and raised in Anoka, Minnesota, where I spent most of my childhood swimming at the community pool or playing softball. It was there, at a very young age, that I gave my life to Christ during backyard bible school. I grew up in a Christian home and that is where I first learned about Jesus and was shown what it looked like to trust and follow Him. In 2003 my husband and I made the decision to move from the cities to Aitkin to build a home and for me to quit working full-time to become a stay-at-home mom. Both of our parents grew up in Aitkin, so we already spent most weekends at “the cabin” and had a lot of extended family in the area. It was after this move to Aitkin that my faith was deeply tested and refined. The testing of my faith caused me to join a small group Bible study and to seek the mentorship of other believers. I learned more deeply what it meant follow Christ through these activities. Through one of those relationships my family and I was invited to begin attending TJN and we eventually began volunteering as well. More recently, we moved to Nisswa and I was asked to work part-time in the office at TJN, which I truly enjoy. I love being able to help others and work behind the scenes. I am a wife, mother and homeschool teacher of two. My oldest is now graduated and currently attending Bethel University and my youngest continues at Pearson Homeschool. My family and I enjoy fishing, hunting, gardening, camping, and being outdoors in general. We really enjoy exploring the paved bike trails throughout Minnesota and ride the Paul Bunyan Trail often. I also enjoy canning, baking, reading, sipping coffee on my front porch, practicing the Minnesota art of visiting, and Hallmark Movies.
I was raised in Brainerd in a non-Christian home. I accepted Christ soon after marrying my wife who knew Christ. I was a member of a local church for over 20 years when a group of us decided we needed a change and to be part of something that would truly affect the Kingdom of God. That group eventually became the core group that helped launch TJN. So, I have been around since the start and served in many capacities. From parking lot greeter to chair of the governing team and now my newest role of being the Pastor of Mission and Outreach, which is truly a humbling honor.
My first 20 years of walking with Christ gave me a passion for working with youth, and I did this in many ways. Around 1999 I went on an intercity mission trip with a group of high-schoolers. This opened my eyes to the joys of mission work. In 2001 I was invited to go on a short-term mission trip to Honduras. This trip changed my life and gave me undying passion to serve God in this manner. I truly want to work to be His hands and feet to hurting and lost people in my community and the areas of the world He sends me.
One of the joys of my personal life is my family. I love spending time with my wife of 39 years, Kari, my three children and my 7 grandchildren.
I grew up in the Brainerd lakes area. My family started attending TJN back when I was in elementary school. I would volunteer in the kids wing every single weekend because it was one of my favorite things to do! I got the opportunity to go on a missions trip to Uman, Ukraine August 2019. At first it was a little scary because I didn’t speak Ukrainian and many didn’t speak English! With help from some translators (and lots of grace) we were able to build a deck, serve during kids events, and build great friendships.
I also enjoy hiking, playing cards, visiting friends and family, and most of all I love being able to come together and serve with everyone here at TJN.
I grew up in the lakes area then moved to Texas to attend Texas Bible Institute. I was hired on with Burchfield Ministries where I gained so many cherished friends and memories.
I enjoy glamping, spending time at/on the lake, family time, road trips and cleaning. Yes, cleaning!
My mom introduced me to TJN, and like the saying goes, the rest is history.
I love being part of the staff at TJN. We all connect in such a unique way. I love being able to help my church on a whole different level.
I was born and raised on a Christian farm in Brainerd. I have 5 brothers and 3 sisters, almost all of them older than me. Every Sunday our family went to a small country church and that is where I asked Jesus into my heart. I was surprised when the pastor said I had to ask Him in, as I thought He was already there. My mother made sure you used the gifts God gave you so when a piano player was needed for Sunday School, there I was. It stood me in good stead because piano playing still is an activity I enjoy very much.
Once I had my own family, we were looking for a church that was authentic and real. What could be more real than a church where jeans were welcome! During one of those church services, there was an advertisement for a bookkeeper, just part time. My heart just jumped! I had always longed to work in a church environment and this position offered that along with working with numbers which I have always enjoyed. Now I have been here over 10 years and have learned so much. Thank you TJN!