Jake Marshall grew up in London and was pursuing a career in design. One day his guidance counselor told him he wasn’t smart enough to pass the needed math classes and gave him 30 minutes to decide on a new direction in life. Despite the pain caused by that advice, it led to a long journey of discovering who he is and where God can use him.
His dad, who had been a world-traveling musician, was led to Christ in the 1970s by a missionary during a stayover in London on his way from Africa to America. In the 1980s, his dad took over the mission work, staying in London. Jake learned a lot about ministry from his dad, who tirelessly continues the work today in his mid-70s.
Jake desired good Christian friends as a kid but, in non-Christian London, he was the odd one out. While traveling the states and visiting supporting churches with his dad, he says God made a strong and obvious connection with BBC. His dad, along with Admissions Director Randy Bourn, and President Charles Crane, worked hard to help get him there, and they encouraged him. He started classes in the fall of 1997.
It was a great joy to be on campus, and he just soaked it in, “creating new relationships and memories with whoever.” Most importantly, he met Audrey on his first day, and they have been together ever since. He sees it as a divine appointment. “I was smart enough to marry her in 2001,” he says, “something she already knew was going to happen on that first day.” He is beyond blessed to have her, and they have three kids: Gabe, 14; Chloe, 12; and Ashton, 6.
Bill Krause was Jake’s most impactful professor, teaching him that a teacher’s job is to cause students to learn, among “many other pearls of wisdom.”
He has lasting friendships with Justin McMurdie (BA’02), Kevin Bates (BS’01), and Martin Flaherty (BA’02), but there are many more! Jake is honored that these men were placed in his life to shape and influence him and calls them world-class leaders.
One winter morning, Jake’s roommate discovered that someone had taken his underwear and frozen them to the back window of his car during the night – they were frozen solid! In response, Jake recalls that the prankster’s own underwear was hung across the gym building’s front peak with clothespins, and it may or may not have been he who did it. Maybe we’ll never know.
Life After Boise Bible
After graduating with a BS in 2001, Jake still had to get his citizenship sorted out. Then he felt a calling to ministry, a new thing for him. He did spend some time as an associate pastor, but not as much time was spent in vocational ministry as he expected. He was the operations officer of a non-profit for a while and today pays the bills with a career in real estate.
With the counselor’s words still in his ears, he also wasn’t happy with his academic performance in college. He started an MBA program with Harding University to prove to himself and the world that he was smart enough. Two-thirds of the way through, he dropped out for personal reasons. He had carried a 4.0 the whole time.
His heart is still with ministry, especially pastors. Desiring to use his gifts of facilitating, diplomacy, and creating connection, Jake has started The Ministry Lab. It will be a resource and community for church leaders, who he says have the most important calling a person can experience yet are burdened with many issues that hinder them. He wants to build a place where leaders can help, learn from, and encourage each other, connecting on a level that many don’t understand about the sometimes lonely and tiring endeavor of ministry.
Jake and Audrey realize their time with their kids is brief, and raising them well is very important to them. Some things in life, such as hobbies, have been set to the side while they focus on, first, being followers of Christ; second, being a great married example; and third, providing their kids a secure place to grow and learn. They believe they are raising adults, not children, and that they learn what they experience. So authenticity is more important than always having the right answers.
Jake has found a way to provide for his family through real estate but says the calling to ministry is relentless. Five years ago, he decided to say yes to any opportunity that came along, and it has led to some extraordinary ones.
Boise Bible College gave Jake a community with a like-minded focus on the importance of leading God’s church. This brings a bond between the most unlikely of people, something many experience wherever they meet servants of Christ who have dedicated themselves to His work.