Bio & Testimony


Mark Grawehr began work in the construction trade in 1971, acquired various trade licenses, a BS in Mechanical Engineering, and became a Licensed Professional Engineer. His construction, engineering, service, and facilities operation’s company grew to become a renowned firm, which he ultimately sold in 2001, positioning it to become part of a fortune 500 Company. He continued to operate the enterprise as President while also serving as Senior Vice President of the parent company, until transitioning to full time pastoral ministry.

Grawehr has served in various ministries in both pastoral and fiduciary capacities of church leadership since 1987. After graduating Alliance Theological Seminary, he went on to earn a Doctorate in Biblical Studies.

Dr. Grawehr serves as a Consulting-Minister/Speaker, working with Church and Para Church leaders and boards by equipping and coaching towards new levels of healthy spiritual, relational, and organizational growth.

Recently, along with his wife Laura, his passion has been to spur on and encourage those faithful Pastors, Missionaries, Christian leaders, and spouses who have who have sacrificially poured themselves out.

Their ministry focus is coming alongside fellow shepherds and wives who have become weary or have been wounded and need healing and restoration.

Often this includes hosting uniquely designed opportunities for renewal, rest and replenishment that can range anywhere from simple, reclusive, soul nourishing spiritual respites to invigorating, adventurous, escapades.

The reality of this vision unfolds as Mark and Laura live out their calling at ‘Star Ridge Retreat’ in the spectacular Rocky Mountains of Northwest Colorado.

Christian Testimony

I was born in 1957 to two wonderful and hard-working parents of European decent. As devout Roman Catholics they provided me with 12 years of Roman Catholic education. Through that experience I developed a reverence for God however never really understood the biblical view of salvation. Like so many, I had developed some real rough edges and as I grew older, I rebelled from the Catholic Church.

Beginning work at an early age, actively involved in the construction trade, I decided to go on to college for engineering. I developed a best friendship with an atheist and I became an agnostic. I rebelled from the morality and lifestyle in which I was raised. All kinds of abuses and patterns began to develop in my life.

I had dreams and aspirations with all that the world had to offer which included a beautiful wife and home. That dream became a reality when the blonde haired, blue-eyed, Homecoming Queen runner-up and Captain of our high school twirling team and I fell in love. Within a short time, Debbie became my wife and together we began to renovate an old carriage house as our home.

Within just a few months of our marriage our dream began to turn into a nightmare. My dream girl was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Actually, she diagnosed herself prior to the doctors, as she was a nurse practicing specifically with the care of multiple sclerosis patients. Her fear had come upon her.

Within the first year of our marriage Debbie was completely paralyzed from her neck down unable to speak and legally blind. She was terrified, trapped within a function less body, faced with this reality for the rest of her life.

Frankly at this point I became angry with God. “If God is love, how could he do this to me?” Not only did I have a major problem trying to care for her, but we also couldn’t have children or do many of the things that we had looked forward to doing. Needless to say, this was not helping me to believe in a holy and a loving God.

Then we met some very special people that seemed to have something very special. I began to believe that they really might know God. One night as they prayed over Debbie, I witnessed an incredible change in her countenance. She went from being terrified and anxious to having a sense of genuine peace. Later she told me that during that prayer she sensed something as if it were a special touch from God. Soon it became evident to me that, despite my anger, Debbie began responding to me through her new eyes of love.

At this point, I really wasn’t sure what to do with this. I saw the reality of God’s life in these people and more importantly the transformation of the heart of my very own wife’s heart as she had placed her trust in Jesus Christ and accepted Him as her Savior.

At this point, I really struggled in my mind with the notion that the God of the universe would send one man, who was God, to be nailed to a cross for my sins. It just didn’t make sense. But I started to begin to want to believe it if it were true. I left the door open to the possibility that it was and asked Debbie to pray for me.

A few months later Debbie had been going through some very difficult times. One night she had such a high fever, that I gave up fighting. I remember lying down next to her thinking “this is my dream girl and I simply can’t fix this problem”, even though as an engineer I was specifically trained to fix problems. More importantly, I began to see my own selfishness and need for a Savior. I remember clearly praying “if Jesus really is the Son of God then please show me”. I cried for the first time since I was a child. I recognized my need, and by God’s grace placed my trust in the work of his Son.

During the next seventeen years, God had really changed our lives and tested me in the area of patience and contentment. That brought us to a place of being able to minister to many other people through our relationship with Him. Ironically, the nightmare became an opportunity for me to minister in a way I could never have imagined.

Following Debbie’s passing into eternity, I was suddenly placed in primary leadership of our church in the midst of an unfortunate scandal. Around the same time, my business partner, a professing born-again believer fell deeply into sin which had negatively affected our business relationship. (Please see my résumé for leadership specifics during some of these challenges.) These became wonderful opportunities to continue to grow in my dependence upon God, and develop my leadership skills, simultaneously, in both secular and church settings. Not only had God blessed my business endeavors beyond what I had imagined, He also used me in ‘shepherding’ the growth of an outstanding team of people.

In 1996 I was remarried to my wife’s best friend and primary nurse during the last three years of her life. Becky was a ‘missionary kid’ who grew up in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Having come out of some very traumatic experiences in her upbringing, my unique marriage relationship with Debbie became an inspirational model for her. God blessed us with two wonderful daughters. Debbiegrace and Emmajoy.

Suddenly, in the spring of 2020, I lost my wife Becky through horrendous circumstances that I would have never imagined. Although these last few years have been the most challenging of all, I believe God used this experience to better prepare and equip me to live out my calling to minister to other wounded shepherds, leaders and missionaries.

Now, I am thrilled to move forward into a new season with my wife Laura, focusing primarily on developing and leveraging Star Ridge Retreat by coming alongside weary, and/or wounded, shepherds.

As the reality of this vision unfolds, we feel privileged to live out our dream in the northwest Rockies of Colorado, by offering soul-nourishing respites with unique opportunities for replenishment to those who have so sacrificially poured themselves out. Sometimes, this even includes invigorating adventurous escapades!

I’m excited to see all that God has in store for the remainder of my life as I am committed, by God’s grace, to finish well.