“At 16, my first job was McDonald’s. I hated it,” says Harvest Lead 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.
“For 18 years, I have felt like I’ve been a pastor,” he says, “but when I first came here and I walked in and I saw “Rev.” in front of my name — it’s the first time I’ve been a pastor. I’m so amped about being a pastor, getting to listen to people, love people, encourage people, equip people, meet with people, be in ministry and do it.”
Mark is the author of the book “When Will Jesus Be Enough?” He and his wife, Nycki, have two children, Nick and Gabbi.