Oakdale: A life-saving station
Mark Driskill has been a teacher at Oakdale since 2007 but has been a friend and resource of Oakdale for nearly 20 years in his role as a pastor in the Breathitt County community. I read his devotional book “Reflections of a Jesus Follower” (available at Amazon) regularly, and it makes a wonderful gift, too. Click on the image below to hear Mark’s greeting.
I am in my seventh year of teaching at Oakdale. I am fifty years young and have been married for 25 of those years to my wife and ministry partner, Mary. We are both ordained Baptist ministers and graduates of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. We have been blessed with four wonderful and talented children, each of whom have a dynamic personal relationship with the Lord and seek to serve him using their respective gifts and abilities.
My relationship with Oakdale began in the mid 1990’s. I have been a local pastor in Jackson, Kentucky since 1991. When I was pastor of New Hope Community Baptist Church my wife, Mary, and I had several opportunities to minister to the students through chapel services, retreats and other special events. I came to Oakdale to teach in 2007. I am now entering my seventh year as a teacher. I teach Bible, Spanish, public speaking and drama.
Oakdale Christian Academy enables me to fulfill three great passions in my life: evangelism, ministry to teens, and ministering to other nations. Ever since my commitment to Jesus Christ at the age of seventeen, my heart’s desire has been to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing that touches my heart more than to see someone bow before God and invite Jesus to save them, then to watch their lives change as they grow in Him.
A second great love I have is for teens and young adults. I came to Christ in my teens. He found me when I, like many teens, was lost and confused about life and my place in it. That was back in the 1970’s and 80’s. Life for teens has become intensely more difficult, even dangerous, in the 2000s. There is so much more they have to deal with. I would not want to be a teen in this day unless I knew God was with me. In my mind they are more lost, more challenged and more tempted than I could have ever been in the days of disco. I am convinced that there is no hope for young people in our culture outside of a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
This knowledge drives me to Oakdale every day. Oakdale is a life-saving station. This isn’t your typical Christian school. Too many other schools are financially and socially out of reach to the kids who need them most. Oakdale reaches kids who need it but can’t always afford it. It is a place where broken people come to find healing and real community. Every year I see teens literally from all over the world come and find a life-changing relationship with Jesus.
A third passion I have is for other nations. I want to take this gospel all over the world. Oakdale has allowed me to do that in two ways; first, by bringing the whole world to Jackson, Kentucky, and second by being supportive of me when I have had two opportunities to travel overseas to train pastors. They were so supportive in my desire to fulfill my call in this way. Oakdale has given me a place to fulfill my passion for taking the life changing gospel to teens and adults all over the world. I thank God for this school which has given so much to so many, including me and my family. As a local pastor I am encouraged to see such a place in our community where teens can be lovingly shaped into men and women who will be devoted to lives of learning and service.
My life calling comes from Matthew 4:23. My call is to “preach, teach, and heal in Jesus name.” I am passionate about preaching, teaching, world missions, ministry to teens, and creative arts. Oakdale affords me a great opportunity to live out these passions.