When Mark Rayburn graduated from Briercrest College and Seminary 30 years ago, he wanted to find a job that would allow him to continue participating in short-term mission work. His search delivered a concrete answer.
Concrete was the answer. For the last 24 years Rayburn has owned his own concrete business, C and M Concrete Inc., in Puyallup, Washington.
“Concrete was not really a love,” Rayburn admitted. “Being a business owner was my draw so that I could have the opportunities to still do ministry and to have an impact on others.”
The concrete business has been good to Rayburn and his wife Christie.
“It allowed us to travel,” the former Briercrest Clipper explained. “We travelled (playing basketball) with Sports Ambassadors on seven different tours. Once we started having kids we decided, ‘Well, it’s time to probably stop doing a lot of different stuff’ and we decided if we can’t go on a lot of the short mission trips we’ll support those through our business who are. So we support a lot of Briercrest alumni who are actually full-time missions through our business. That’s been awesome.”
Over the last decade, Rayburn and his wife have also enjoyed working with Dr. Dave Currie, international speaker and former director of FamilyLife Canada.
“We still speak at marriage conferences with the organization he started up called Doing Family Right,” Rayburn said.
The concrete businessman first came to Briercrest after graduating high school in the U.S. His love for basketball and hunting drew him to the school.
“My older brother went to Briercrest,” he said. “I went up to check out Briercrest and a couple of other colleges. I think Carl Hinderager was the basketball coach in those days. He really liked the outdoors. I’m a hunter and fisherman so I really liked Carl . . . and decided that I’d go (to Briercrest) for one year and check it out.”
That initial year commitment turned out to be four.
“I made some awesome friends,” Rayburn exclaimed. “It was a great time.”
Many of those friendships remain today, including his relationship with Hinderager, his basketball coach who continues to work at Briercrest as professor of New Testament.
“I come up every fall and hunt with Carl and (his sons) David and KC . . . I bring my boys up,” Rayburn said.
In 2003, the relationship between the two families was further cemented when Hinderager’s youngest son David moved from Caronport to Puyallup to learn the concrete trade from Rayburn.
“When he got out of high school he wanted to come down and live with me and just work for our company,” Rayburn explained. “We showed him the ropes down here and then he took what he learned and took it up there.”
David now heads up his own company, Thunder Creek Concrete in Caronport.
“He’s done some really great stuff,” Rayburn exclaimed. “I think he’s carving a niche for himself. I’m pretty proud of him.”
David values the time he spent learning the trade from his mentor.
“It was a good place for me to do a lot of growing up,” he said. “Looking back now, I see it as the Lord’s provision for me. I got a really good education in concrete which is hard to find out here. Mark does mostly driveways and custom patios which is high pressure work– some of the hardest stuff to do.”
Rayburn reflects on the way he developed his business.
“I told God that if this is going to be of Him that I was never going to advertise,” he said. “If this business was going to fly it would have to be completely of God so, I’ve never advertised. For 24 years now I’ve never had my number in the phone book. I’ve never had brochures, I said, ‘Lord, you make the business work. When you want the business to shut down, you just slow things down and I’ll be okay with that.’”
So far, business is still booming.
“We’re busier now than we’ve ever been,” Rayburn said. “It’s been a fantastic ride. I’ve seen God bless in so many different ways.”
As his youngest son, who is in Grade 11, nears graduation, Rayburn wonders what the future will hold.
“When he gets out of high school I’ll be about 51,” he reflected. “So I’m thinking of doing something else. I’m not sure where the Lord’s going to have us do that, but it will probably be in marriage ministry somehow. We’re looking forward to what He has in store.”