A Message from Our New Senior Pastor, Mark Sorensen

Have you ever just stopped to think, “You know, God has a terrific sense of humor,” sometimes? Let me tell you, I do. Almost daily.

Let me give you an example. Almost a year to the day that I was announced by our Bishop of the Texas Annual conference that I would be the next Senior Pastor of this incredible church, I had preached a message from Joshua 1 in Harvest speaking to how Joshua must have felt following Moses, his mentor and friend, in leadership. I literally said in my sermon, and I quote, “Who wants to be the guy that follows the guy who’s led the people for over 40 years?!” I wonder if, as I said that back in 2020, the Lord was laughing and thinking, “Yeah, you’re about to be that guy, Sorensen.”

Can I tell you? What an honor to be, “that guy”, for such a time as this in the life of our church. So, what’s ahead for The Woodlands Methodist Church?

I’m glad you asked.

Before I answer, let me go back to the story of Joshua for just a moment. If you remember, before Joshua’s story begins, Moses had his own story. Moses, faithful to God’s calling in his life, had led Israel out of Egyptian captivity and, with Pharoah hot on his heels to reclaim his former slaves, Moses found himself standing on the banks of the waters waiting for a miracle. And God delivers. God instructs Moses to, “raise his staff” so the Lord can part the waters and God is so faithful; the Israelites cross through the Red Sea on dry ground (Ex. 14:16). Moses does as he is commanded, and God creates a path for His people while he stands on the shore and watches it happen. However, what’s interesting about Joshua’s story is that Joshua had a similar, yet different experience.

When Joshua steps into leadership and into the new season of leading the children of God, the Jordan River stands between him, the people, and the Promised Land.

Look at what happens next, The Lord replied, “Now, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. The Priests will carry the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall.” (Joshua 3:12-13)

Did you catch it? With Moses, God parted the waters and then let the people cross over. With Joshua, the leaders were required to begin crossing first and then the waters parted.

As I was reading this in my quiet time, that struck me in a way that I had never read it before. Here’s why. The truth is, God is always faithful to deliver His people with leaders who obediently seek, follow and act out of His leading and faithfulness. Moses was the proof of that. However, here’s the fun part, rarely is the miracle just as it was before. The role for new leaders doesn’t change. We must still obediently seek, follow and act out of His leading and calling in our lives. Yet, the miracle that awaits oftentimes requires new methods, new paths and new instructions from the Lord. That’s the beauty found in the journey of faith. I’ve never been more excited to be in ministry than I am today.

In my twenty-five years of serving in the United Methodist Church, I can confidently say that I get to work alongside some of the most gifted men and women of God that serve as your pastoral staff and ministry team. You know, for Joshua, the Lord found it important that he see it wasn’t just on him to make the miracle happen, the leaders needed to step into the river as well. What followed? On the other side of the leaders stepping into the Jordan, the people of God walked into the new chapter and season that He had called them to step into.

Now, there were giants, walls and battles to be fought, and I am sure there are giants, walls and battles that lie ahead for us all. But let’s not lose sight of what’s greater: the Lord was with them every step of the way and the battle belongs to the Lord.

True then, true today.

I’m thankful for where we’ve been, excited to see God on the move today, and expectant to see what’s ahead. I hope this newsletter gives some insight into what’s happening within and outside the walls of your church, and I hope to see you soon!

The Lord is on the move and to God be the glory!