The Founders

Mark & Jan
Mark and Jan first started working with teens when they were just 19 years old, as Young Life Leaders in Tulsa, Oklahoma. All through their college years, Mark and Jan worked with kids, got married, had kids of their own, and poured their life into their passion….struggling teens.

After spending 7 years on the First Methodist Church staff in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mark and Jan moved to Branson, Missouri and lived at Kanakuk Kamp. During their time in Branson, Mark was the Area Director of Young Life, and started a residential counseling program for struggling teens, only to leave there in 1988 and move to Hallsville, Texas, when he started Heartlight Ministries.

During their 27 years in Texas, Heartlight has become one of the country’s finest residential counseling centers for teens, and known throughout North America as the “place to be” if your teen is struggling and hope is diminishing.

Mark has taken all the experience he has gained in working in the various youth ministry experiences and developed resources to help parents nationwide. He’s authored 12 books, has written hundreds of articles about parenting teens in a difficult culture, and is also the host of the nationally acclaimed radio program, Parenting Today’s Teens, which was honored to receive the 2014 Program of the Year award from the National Religious Broadcasters. These programs are heard on over 1,500 radio outlets throughout North America.

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From his 40 years of experience of working with teens and their families, Mark shares his insight and wisdom through seminars, retreats, and conferences, taking up all his free weekends. . Mark’s wit and wisdom, shared through stories and reflections of his involvement with teens brings biblical insight and practical help to all who hear him share his heart about families and teens.

Lessons learned from those that have struggled with their teens, are communicated to parents preparing their child for the teen years, or find themselves caught in the turbulent adolescent years with their teen through the mediums of the spoken and written word.

Mark and his wife Jan, have been married for 40 years and have two children, both of whom are married and have blessed them with four wonderful grandchildren. Heartlight is family oriented, and family run. Their children work with them insuring there is always hope and help for families searching for something different in their parenting style.

Mark and Jan live on the Heartlight property with their llamas and horses, their donkey, Toy, their dog, Stich, and their cat, Knox.