I’ve had people ask me how our adoption is going, what’s up next, how fundraising is going, why we are still raising funds and many other questions so I wanted to put all those thoughts in one spot and give an adoption update to our friends and family.

The process is going quickly and very smooth. It helps when you have been through it all before. Things like writing a 12 page narrative on questions about your family, upbringing and parenting make more sense the second time and the task is not as daunting. As far as a checklist goes, we submitted our application to our agency, had our background checks and fingerprints done, did our online education classes, had a fire inspection of our home, and have done round one of our in-home study with a social worker. We have one more visit with the social worker and we should be completely done with our end of the preparation. Even though we are only 95% done with this portion we are already in the cue of people who are contacted about potential matches.

The total needed for our adoption is $21,000 and we hope to raise $15,000 of that. We did a gofundme campaign for $10,000 of that and that was successful and came together very quickly. God showed himself in some big ways through friends, family, acquaintances, and even some people we have never met. We are blessed to have people around us who believe in our heart for adoption and want to help us add to our family.

We are still raising funds, because we hope to raise another $5,000 so we can put as little burden on our finances as possible. Last time we only raised $7,000 of $19,000 (the price has gone up) and while we saved and did our part we would like to avoid dipping into savings since we will have a family of 6 and the ongoing needs on the other side of this adoption.

I believed we could raise 10k with gofundme but I didn’t want to just ask for handouts and put all our eggs in one basket. We had some friends recommend that we do a 5k and we thought it would be a great way to give people a fun event that they could bring friends, family, and co-workers to, that might not even know us and also give them some return on investment. On October 25th we are sponsoring the Heart 4 Adoption 5k in Hilliard at YMCA. You can click on that link to sign up and get all the info. We have contracted a legit racing company so you will have a first class racing experience, be timed, and we have awards and prizes too.
We have had tons of people say they are going to do it, but I haven’t wanted to shamelessly promote it like I probably should and sign ups are slow. If you are interested or already know you are going to participate, can I ask you to sign up today? This is my nice way of asking if you are going to start the wheels in motion so that this thing can snowball. Planning is easier knowing some numbers and there is a deadline for the free t-shirt that comes with registration.

This event should be the thing that takes us across the finish line of the fundraising process and gets us one step closer to hopefully having a baby in the next 6 months. Go sign up right now….please. Spread the word, spread the urgency and if you are planning on joining us put your name down and commit to what we are trying to do.

Thanks for loving our family and helping us walk this journey.


We are asking anyone who wants to invest in us as a family to donate to our adoption fund. Our goal is to raise $10,000 (of the $21,000 total) as soon as possible so that we can be matched with a baby this fall. If every Facebook friend gives $5 we will meet our goal.


4 years ago we wrote this blog entry outlining our heart for adoption and our plan to start the process. We believe that God has a HEART FOR ADOPTION and we want our family to express His heart. With the help of our friends, family, and network of people we were gifted $7,000 that helped us adopt Mercy.

Here is the entry of Mercy’s adoption story and how God brought that day together. You can also read Kristin’s account of the finances and details here. If you haven’t seen a picture of Mercy yet, you clearly don’t follow me on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram.

I always believed we would adopt again but we wanted to be patient and take it one child at a time and make sure we had clarity as our family changed. In the last two years we have moved, changed jobs, and planted a church. As life has settled down and Mercy has gotten older we have started to have the conversations and pray about this and seek the counsel of close friends and mentors. We know that God wants to add to our family one more time through adoption.


We will again be working with the same organization – Adoption Link. We have already sent in our money and initiated the first phase of background checks and being re-approved. This will take a few months while our books are simultaneously shown to birth moms.


Please pray for us. We knew this before the last time and we know it even more now, adoption is a road with many twists and turns and we want to trust God as he writes this story.

The second major way our friends and family can be involved is in the fundraising process. Even after the thousands of dollars we have already invested this year, the remaining costs are estimated around $19,000.

We thought it would be neat to again leverage our personal network in the most common way it exists: Social Media. Our idea is to ask all of our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram friends to personally donate $5 to our adoption fund. We are also continuing to save our own money and put into this account every month. You may be reading this and not have Facebook, or you may want to give more than $5 and that’s ok too. We just think it will be great to see God use our friends and family who want to invest in a very practical, tangible way.

We are collecting the money through a gofundme page that we have set up. You can access the site here and even donate with a credit card.


Thanks for taking the time to read this and hear our dream. Thank you to those who walked with us as our family grew through adoption last time. If you have any other questions, or want to contact us personally, we would love to talk more and share our hearts.


Mark, Kristin, Malachi, Canaan, and Mercy Artrip




Mercy Marie Artrip born 10-28-2012 8:02pm

Wow, I cannot believe that I am sitting here in our hospital room writing this blog entry! This day has been a whirlwind and here is the story…

Today is Monday October 29, 2012. It is Mark’s day off and we did our normal routine of going to the Y in the morning. We came home and made lunch and the boys played around the house. I had this crazy desire to reorganize the boys’ toy room and clean the whole house.  So, that’s what I did. The boys went down for nap and I was checking my email and it was 3:30. My phone rang and I saw that it was our adoption agency calling. So, I answered and the conversation went something like this… “Hi Kristin are you and Mark still interested in pursuing adoption with us?” I said “yes, we are just waiting for the call” and she said “this is your call. Your daughter was born last night at 8pm. The birth mom just went through the profile books and picked you. I need you to come to Dayton right now to pick up your baby girl! She is 6lbs 13oz healthy and beautiful”.

So we kind of of went into crazy mode and woke the boys up from nap, and threw together three overnight bags, gathered the insurance papers, and got in the car and headed for Dayton at 4:30.  The great thing is that my parents live in Dayton so my mom was able to meet us at the hospital to pick up the boys. We met the birth mom very briefly and then within minutes of that we went to the nursery and they said, “here is your room and here is your daughter”.

So, wow I am in sitting here and Mercy is such a sweet baby. She is very calm and hasn’t cried at all. She is a great eater and is coming through all her test with flying colors! She is with us here at the hospital in our room and we will go home tomorrow. We are amazed at the moment and know that God knew all of this was going to happen even though we didn’t have a clue! Thank you for all the prayers and financial support over the last year as we raised money in anticipation of this day! We will do our best to keep facebook/twitter/instagram updated so you can all share in this with us!

Lots of love,

Mark, Kristin, Malachi, Canaan and Mercy


Well this has been an exciting year so far for the Artrip family. We announced a few weeks ago that we are transitioning this summer to plant a church in Hilliard,Ohio. Hilliard is a west side suburb of Columbus. We are looking forward to all that this year will bring on the ministry front!

Last fall we did a “Facebook Fundraiser” for our adoption, and God answered our prayers and our goal was met! We are so thankful to all our friends and family from all around the world would gave in support. So now people are asking “Where’s the baby”? Or “Do you know when it will happen”? Those are great questions and we wanted to update you with our status on the adoption front. We had many leads in the fall and winter and pursued all of them. In every case the birthmothers choose the raise the babies themselves. We have not given up and continue to have patience for the right situation to come along and we will continue to pursue every lead we get.

We are aiming to do an Independent Adoption. This means that we are not going through a public agency to be paired up with a child. We simply rely on people who may know of a situation where a baby or child may be placed for adoption. We have a private lawyer who will handle all the legal aspects of the adoption. So here is where WE NEED YOU.


If you know of someone who is considering placing an infant or young child (two or under) with an adoptive family please give us a call, email or facebook us! If you talk to someone who knows someone, who knows someone…please help us network get in touch with us. We would welcome the chance to talk or give our family profile if there is interest. It just takes one person to make the connection!


Thank you all again for your support and continue to pray as we look to make lots of changes this year as a family and I hope one day soon we will have adoption news.


THANK YOU with much love,


Mark, Kristin, Malachi and Canaan

Markartrip(at)gmail.com kristinartrip(at)hotmail.com



This past week has been the public communication of something that has been happening in our hearts for years and now even behind the scenes for months.  The communication timeline has had me tell our My lead pastor, our church administrator, our pastoral staff, our Elder’s, our student leaders, Student Ministry volunteers, my small group, and finally our students and parents this last Wednesday.  It’s a bittersweet time for us that has been tiring to navigate, but I am excited to finish well and look forward to what God has called us to. The letter below is the best way I could consolidate and communicate all the information about our transition. It won’t answer every question, so I’ll do my best to tie up any other loose ends at the bottom




Friends, Family, and Grace Church,


I recently notified the Pastors, Staff, elders, and adult volunteers that this will be my last school year on staff at Grace Church.  This summer Kristin and I are transitioning to plant a church in Hilliard, Ohio.  This is not a rushed decision or one that we take lightly, but rather the public announcement of something God has been doing in our hearts for years.

We moved to Powell seven years ago and have been blessed to minister among a truly great church family and staff.  We have made wonderful friends and a home that existed only in our dreams.  Grace Church has treated our family with the utmost honor and we will always view on our time here with fondness. You have cared for us as individuals, a couple, and a family more than we deserved and you are to be commended for it. Professionally, personally, and financially we could have made this our home forever, were it not for the Holy Discontent God has stirred in our hearts.

Since I was in middle school I have felt a strong draw to church planting.  Before I started dating Kristin at age 17 I told her that I intended to be in full time ministry first as a student pastor and then as a church planter to make sure we were passionate about the same direction.  We first met with Grace Brethren church planting coaches when we were in our second year of college to educate ourselves on the process.

It has been a blessing to be in an environment where church planting was always talked about.  We haven’t had to hide it. As I interviewed at Grace Church I shared with Pastor Rick and the staff that I was excited about ministering with them and also expected to someday plant a church. It has been exciting to be in a context where other churches have been planted and to watch that process give birth.  Over the years we have talked through this with the staff and Pastor Rick has even mentioned it to the elders.

Those closest to us know that this has always been on our hearts, and we now see God’s confirmation to take action.  It wasn’t one specific event, but just the culmination of prayer, time in the Word, blogs, books, conferences, and conversations.  Everywhere we have looked we have seen God calling us to plant a church.

The first question people will ask is where this leaves our student ministry, so I want you to know a few things from me personally. We are not a student ministry of one person. We have multiple programs and ministries that happen consistently without me every week and they will not skip a beat with faithful servant leaders involved. Our church has always had a strong youth ministry before me and will continue to have one after me because it is the heart and vision of our pastor and leadership.  I also want you to know that I care very much about our student ministry and I intend to work alongside the group that has been named to find my replacement and give input into the process.  I am very confident in the direction that our student ministries are headed and know that with the right hire, things are positioned for growth and breakthrough

I will remain on staff until August 1st or earlier in the summer if the elders find my replacement, but in the coming months we will be moving and transitioning to Hilliard so that we can begin to build relationships.  We want to selfishly ask for your prayers. This is an exciting, joyful time one minute and a terrifying faith walk the next.  We need the support and encouragement of our church body to do this.  We know this will come as a surprise or letdown to some, but we want our lives to be about what God has called us to, so we hope people will see that and celebrate it with us.

Many will ask what the next steps in this process are, so let me outline the months ahead.  I will remain fully engaged in ministry at Grace Church until the transition date this summer.  We will not start meeting with our launch team until next fall and hope to publically launch as a church on Easter in 2013.

We are in the process of putting together the foundation of our new church.  Our mother church and accountability through this process will be Encounter Church and its elders. We will gather a launch team of people who are passionate about reaching Hilliard with the gospel and seeing a church birthed. This will be done by living in and building relationships in the community.  We are also raising one time startup funds and monthly commitments from organizations, partner churches (one of which is Grace Church) and individuals.  Those things along with administration (documents, tax free status, websites, PO Box) and continuing in student ministry here will fill my days and weeks.

If you want to talk more and/or stay connected with us, we would love to sit down and share what God is doing in our hearts.  As always, you can do that through my blog markartrip.com, facebook, and twitter (@markartrip).  I could never begin to tell or show you this side of heaven what Grace Church has meant to the Artrip family, so I hope you know the love and sincerity behind my THANK YOU. We love you.




God Bless,

Mark, Kristin, Malachi, and Canaan Artrip







1) How did you pick Hilliard?

I will elaborate on this more later and will publish our proposal we will be presenting to people, but the short story is that we see great need there and have research showing that Hilliard is spiritually hungry and ripe for the church we intend to be.


2) Who will take my job? Where does that leave Grace Church’s student ministry (THE ZONE and HSM)?

I answered that above but the short version is that I have spoken into that process with a very capable search committee and they are already contacting, meeting with, and looking for the next person. The job description is posted here if you or someone you know might be a fit.


3) What has God been up to in the last couple months?

I can’t even tell you how we have seen God affirm this since we finally stepped out on faith.


August – We were assessed as church planters in but didn’t know the when or where. We just prayed that God would open doors and make it obvious.


September – We were approached by Encounter Church with a timeline that was the ideal one Kristin and I had privately dreamed of. That was the first sign that God was waiting on our obedience.

Two days after deciding to do this we were given a substantial financial gift toward our new church.


January – We put our house on the market knowing that we wanted to move and it would take a while in this economy to sell a home. We sold our house in 8 days and it only took that long because the couple was traveling and wanted to walk through a few times. The couple who bought it walked through the first day and told us they would buy it.

We have found another great home in Hilliard which will make a great house to plant a church out of and we can see God’s fingerprints guiding both transactions. We will sell/buy on February 17th.


4) Who is overseeing this and sending you?

Encounter Church is a church that Grace Church planted in 2008.  That have a hyper Canadian-American pastor named Sean Spoelstra. Encounter has had a goal to plant another church since they started. We will be that church that they have wanted to reproduce themselves in and invest their DNA into. Grace Church will be involved relationally, prayerfully, and financially as well as other churches and organizations and individuals.


5) What is the name of your church? The name will be Movement Church.  Our vision is to be a movement of people finding their way back to God. I love the word movement and the double meaning of a person taking steps toward God and also a group of people acting out contagious, intentional action.  I will put much more up later in the proposal I already alluded to and will link to our website and all the social media stuff, but today is just about the transition….more to come.

Please pray for our family, Grace Church, and the many pieces of our new church still coming together.



First, we want to say “Thank You” to everyone who gave towards our adoption fundraiser. We have raised almost the whole amount! Amazing! The baby we hope to adopt in the future will be possible because of your sacrifice. We do not take any of this lightly and it has been such a humbling experience to fundraise. Thank you again.

Many of you knew that we were contacted about three months ago to consider a baby boy who was due on Thanksgiving Day. We were one of three families that matched with Erica. It has been a very interesting three months waiting to hear since her due date is so close. Today, we found out that Erica chose another family that has no children of their own yet. That’s ok! God is going to place the right baby into our family and we can move on with that peace of mind.

In that same conversation we were asked to consider another birth mother that will be due sometime in 2012. We don’t know any details except that this little baby will be African American. We will not know anything else till sometime in January.

We will be sure to keep you all updated! Thank you for praying for us!

Lots of love,

Mark Kristin Malachi and Canaan


This past week Kristin and I had the chance to go to the Story Conference. The story conference is the brainchild of Ben Arment and is held in Chicago. It was great week for Kristin and I so I thought I would mind dump all my thoughts post conference.

  • It is so great to be at a church that values me getting away and trying to get better at my job.
  • It was also great to be able to have time away with my wife. I love when she get to see and experience the same things I do so we are on the same page and can maintain the same vision.  We also had a couple of nights in Chicago without kids…very nice.
  • How could we both go to this conference you ask? We were hooked up with volunteer positions by our good friend and Grace College’s own Gail (Smith) Mayes and also stayed at her house and finally got to meet her awesome husband Jason. They took great care of us and wouldn’t even let us pay for most of our meals, so all we had was 3 tanks of gas, some tolls and a few other things. HUGE BLESSING.
  • It was great to see the behind the scenes of another conference and I hope it can make me better at the others I am involved in.
  • Part of our job was playing host to speakers and making airport runs.  That was great to meet people and have some selfish time with them.
  • Kristin got to play host to Lauren Chandler (wife of Matt) and really had a good time.  I think we were both impressed by how engaging and gracious she was to us. She made us talk about ourselves the whole ride.
  • As far as the conference, it was great. Its hard to explain why because it is not a typical pastor’s conference. I didn’t come back with a list of 7 things that I am going to tweak in our systems.  Instead I feel like my creativity tank is full again.  I rubbed shoulders with people who are outside of my normal lane but still in the church and Christian non-profit world who are way more creative and doing things much different than me. Got to see music, screen printing, storytelling, worship leading, speaking, filmmaking, lights, stage sets, and so many things that just inspired me.
  • I also came home with a bunch of non-cotton great t-shirts so in a shallow way that is a success for me right there!
  • Great week, great conference, great people, great friends, thanks God.