“At 16, my first job was McDonald’s. I hated it,” says Senior Pastor Mark Sorensen. “Across the interstate in Marshall was a radio station, KCUL radio, and I thought, ‘I should just go apply for a job’.”
He didn’t know that they’d actually hire him, much less that he’d make a career in radio for the next 10 years. The general manager was even prepping him to become the youngest radio station owner in the south. But some part of him knew that radio wasn’t his calling.
“The whole time I’m in radio, I’m also teaching Sunday School,” he says. “I was doing 7th and 8th grade youth Sunday School. Opening up the Bible, teaching the Bible to young people, kind of meeting them where they were was something that I loved. But I never really put the two together — a call to ministry. Sometimes God nudges and sometimes God pushes, right?”
God pushed when the radio station asked for Mark’s resignation following a miscommunication and hurt feelings.
Then, in one day, three people suggested he should look into a youth ministry position. That evening, the pastor called.
“The pastor of the church called me and said, ‘Dr. Tommy Dunbar, First United Methodist Church,’ and I interrupted him and I went, ‘I’ll be there tomorrow morning,’ ” he says. “So I show up, and we just have this raw, honest conversation. He said, ‘Two things: do you have a relationship with Jesus? And do you recognize that you’re a child of God (and) believe in the power of the Holy Spirit?’ and I said, ‘Yes.’”
After five years at the church in Marshall, Mark took a position as a youth minister and contemporary worship leader in Tyler. He then went to Louisiana to serve as worship leader and in the college and young adult ministry at First United Methodist Shreveport. It was there that he realized God wanted him to pursue seminary and become a pastor.
He enrolled in Asbury Theological Seminary, and while attending, was contacted by Dr. Robb about joining the ministry team at The Woodlands Methodist Church. He was invited to become the Lead Pastor in the newly constructed Harvest Worship Center. He served in that position for eight years as he graduated from Asbury and became ordained in the United Methodist Church.
As the Senior Pastor of The Woodlands Methodist Church, Mark is passionate about helping people find community and continuing to make the large church feel small and welcoming.
“My heart is for discipleship, for people to be in community, knowing that they are welcomed no matter where they are or what they carry emotionally into this space. I want you to know that you are seen, you are valued, you are loved.”
Mark is the author of the book When Will Jesus Be Enough? He and his wife Nycki have two children, Nic who is married to Kristen, and Gabbi.