We had been in Middle High and High School youth ministry for a number of years when our daughter went off to college and our son joined the Army the same year. We thought we were going to rest and travel and enjoy grown-up time. God had other plans.
Our daughter and some of her friends had tried to start a Coffeehouse before she left for college and they all got together when she got back to town and began that endeavor in the summer of 1998. It was their desire to have a cool place to hang out and bring in some Christian concerts. Marilyn was “in” from the start – wanting to spend time with Hilary, helping the kids pick up furniture and cleaning the building that was loaned to them and volunteering on Friday and Saturday nights. Mark wasn’t very keen on the idea of spending each weekend hanging out with kids after a long week in the clinic. But then! The kids needed some creative ideas for decorating and construction and he got hooked. Seventeen years later, we are the Executive Directors and have faced many challenges, seen miracles happen, love seeing lives of both the students and volunteers changed through Jesus, discovered our gift (and love) for hospitality through hosting bands and theatre and radio plays, and are grateful for the years we have been able to serve God in this unique and incredibly blessed ministry.
Matthew Parks ADMINISTRATOR
I have been and will always be from Missouri, but Kansas is now my home. I have worked with youth and college-aged students for a number of years. I graduated from MSSU in Joplin, MO in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and currently working on a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Besides a love for learning, I thoroughly enjoy drinking coffee, devouring books, leading a worship band, teaching the Bible, making disciples, discussing theology, watching bogus action movies, playing guitar, weightlifting, one-on-one conversations, and spending time with my three precious princesses: Josie, Priscilla, and Clara, and their fitness-loving, coffee-drinking, blog-writing, friendship-focused,stay-at home-Mamma: my wife, Amelia.
My desire is that the FireEscape Coffeehouse will continue to be a place where young Christian adults will be challenged to live out a deeper faith in Jesus Christ and where those who are searching for hope and purpose will hear Jesus' message and find meaning in Him. Making disciples that follow passionately after Jesus is my goal, and I eagerly invite anyone who is willing to join Christians everywhere in this great yet challenging journey.