Mark Becking is the director of Charis Bible College-Nederland, the newest campus in CBC's international extension school line-up. Mark, a native of Holland, has had a desire to know and understand God since he was a young boy. After decades as a psychologist, he left his profession to share the almost-too-good-to-be-true news of the gospel.
Although Mark was raised in a non-Christian home, his desire to know God led him to attend Sunday school at the age of ten. By twelve Mark's search had driven him to explore meetings of a local Theosophist group, a group rooted in a religious philosophy about the soul, and based on mystical insight into the nature of God. Mark's spiritual hunger eventually led to his involvement with kabbalah, an esoteric group and with various forms of mysticism. While his desire to know God was genuine, Mark's pursuits led him astray and left him unfulfilled.
Mark was always aware of the difference between the spirit and the soulish realm, and was interested in how the two differed and influenced each other. He studied psychology in the seventies, and eventually established his own practice. As a psychologist, he was intrigued by behavioral disorders and the challenge treating the disorders presented. The longer he was in the field however, the more dissatisfied he became with psychology's solutions to the problems people faced. In an effort to more fully address patient's issues he began to incorporate meditation training into his practice. "My searching in meditation was an unconscious attempt to attain better solutions by supernatural methods. Looking back, I thank God that he reached out to me and gave me Jesus," said Mark.
After a decade, Mark opened a consulting firm and began hosting leadership training seminars for profit and non-profit organizations. He spent the next ten years working as a consultant and was very successful in his endeavors. During this time he met and married his wife Alice, and the couple adopted two little girls. Due to fluctuations in the Beckings' work schedules, they found they needed a nanny. The woman they hired happened to be a Christian, and she invited the Beckings to her church. While at a service, Mark was touched by the presence of God, and decided to attend the church regularly. Within three months the Beckings were born again and baptized; Mark sensed God had taken his life in His hands.
Turned on by a book he read shortly after his conversion, Mark left consultancy to become a Christian psychologist. He adapted his counseling methods to include a more Biblical perspective. In a short time, he found a niche within the church, helping burned out pastors and serving as a mediator in leadership conflicts within churches. This opened doors for Mark to host leadership training seminars in the churches as well.
In 2004, Mark felt led to contact an old church acquaintance. During their visit the friend mentioned that he had just discovered Andrew's Gospel Truth program on GOD TV. Mark and Alice began watching the program also, and Andrew's message Spirit, Soul and Body made a tremendous impact on Mark. In 2006, the couple attended Andrew's annual Grace and Faith Conference in the U.K. The two were transformed by Andrew's message and immediately enrolled in Charis Bible College's correspondence program. The couple returned to the annual conference in 2007, where they sensed the Lord leading them to dedicate two years of their lives to attend CBC on a full-time basis.
Mark also made the choice to step away from his involvement with ministry and psychology in general. "I had to stop ministering in churches because God had clearly spoken that I didn't have a sure foundation in the Word of God—deep inside I knew it was true. So after almost 30 years of being a psychologist, I stopped everything," Mark said.
Mark's two years in England were life-changing as he immersed himself in God's Word and established a relationship with the one true God he had desired to know for so long. While it was a painful struggle for him to let go of his carnal identity as a psychologist, he found that as he did, he was better able to receive revelation from the Lord.
Immediately following their graduation in 2009, the Beckings were approached by several Dutch people who asked if they would launch a CBC campus in Holland. Although he was hesitant to open a school, the Holy Spirit gradually urged him to take steps of faith. Mark and Alice acted in faith and held an informational meeting. Mark said, "To our surprise eighty people showed up! From these, there were fifty people who wanted to become part-time students. So we started with a part-time school in September of 2009."
In January 2010, God gave Mark the green light to start a full-time school. In preparation for the opening he sought a suitable location, and in September, CBC-Nederland opened with twenty-two full-time first-year students.
Mark expects the 2011 academic year to start with twenty first-year and twenty second-year students, with three additional part-time groups as well. In anticipation of the exponential growth, Mark engaged his landlord for more space in the current building. As he negotiated the lease terms, the building's owner, not a Christian, was so moved by Mark's mission that he gave him the desired space, the whole ground floor, rent-free for the first year! "The money we saved is exactly the amount we spent to renovate the ground floor," said Mark excitedly.
Now that Mark has established a firm foundation in God's Word, he is enthusiastically sharing what he has learned with the faithful men and woman of the Netherlands (2 Timothy 2:2).