Mark's telling of the words and deeds of Jesus has had a big impact in a couple of the churches I've served. At one, it opened up the men of the church. After a short study of Mark, several admitted to really thinking about Jesus for the first time. Several stay-at-home dads began attending church with their wives and kids. New energy flowed into the congregation.
Here at Good Shepherd, Sioux Falls, this month saw the close of an 8-month study of Mark, conducted by small groups of church members meeting in homes. Already, there are deeper relationships, new ministries emerging, and profound hunger for more study.
Mark wrote for Christians under duress. A recent Chicago Tribune feature picked up on this, exploring the use of Mark as the Easter message in communities facing economic upheavals and other problems.
If you've never read a full account of Jesus' words and deeds, try out Mark. It is only 16 chapters, and moves briskly. You can read it in one sitting if you are motivated or if you are just trying to kill an evening.