Mark Altrogge

mark-altroggeI had the privilege yesterday of sitting down to lunch with Mark Altrogge.  He is pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Indiana, PA, and the author of hundreds of contemporary Christian songs including I Stand in Awe, I’m Forever Grateful, and One Pure and Holy Passion.  I list those because they are my three personal favorites, but you may have other favorites he has written.

When we first met, I was taken by two things: what an amazingly talented and remarkable gift Christ has given to His body in this man, and what an unassuming and humble man he was.  As to the first, a large segment of Christ’s Church has been blessed by this man’s music.  But you may be surprised to learn that his creative gift finds other forms of expression, too, like the beautiful painting which greets you when you first walk through the doors of the church, or the two Rothko-esque paintings that adorn his office.  As to the latter, his humility was evident from the moment he walked out of his office in blue jeans and an untucked plaid shirt, and it remained steady through our entire time of lunch together. He was soft-spoken, self-effacing, and seemed more interested in hearing my stories than telling me his, despite his impressive accomplishments.

I was also impressed with his openness.  One of my primary reasons for wanting to talk to him is that I know a young man, Brandon Fox, who has musical gifts from the Lord that I believe would benefit the kingdom if they had a wider distribution.  Brandon visited in October, and played some songs he had written.  I was blown away.  I have a desire to see Brandon’s music gain wider acceptance, but I know absolutely nothing about the Christian music field, or how one would go about reaching a wider audience.  Pastor Mark was extremely helpful in telling me how this happened for him, and some new and developing technologies that may revolutionize the way new talent is recognized.  He also agreed to listen to a sample of Brandon’s music and give me a more objective opinion — after all, I love Brandon, so it’s easy for me to see great things in his music.  So, not only did this busy pastor and songwriter give me a long lunch, but a commitment of additional time to hear Brandon out.  Since he really didn’t know me from Adam’s housecat, I think that’s more than gracious.

I continue to be amazed by what God does in and through and for jars of clay.  No wonder “even angels long to look into these things.” 

Father, I love the way you use the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; the weak things of the world to shame the strong, the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before You.  Thank you for your servant Mark, and the blessing he has been to me and so many others.  Bless him as he labors for Your people and for Your glory.

gkr1996 posted at 2009-11-18 Category: Personal