Raised in an atheist household, Mark Clark grew up as a skeptic. But despite his upbringing and struggle with Torette’s syndrome, Mark is now the pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in Canada. His charismatic personality and his love for the local church is evident through his preachings and teachings each Sunday. Here’s what a secular news outlet is saying about him and his growing church:
How an unlikely pastor started one of Canada's fastest growing churches
Jesse Johnston · CBC News June 29, 2017
In late 2009, Village Church was born in Surrey, British Columbia, when Mark Clark preached to 16 people who were gathered in his house. Today, Clark's sermons are heard by thousands every Sunday in Surrey and Langley and he is the lead pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in the country.
The tale of how Village reached this point — at a time when many churches in Metro Vancouver are struggling — is almost as unlikely as how Clark became a pastor. He grew up in an atheist household and had Tourette's syndrome — a neurological disorder that can cause a person to twitch or blurt out involuntary words. In his late teens, however, Clark followed a girl he liked to a Sunday service in Ontario and was struck by what he heard. He decided he wanted to start a church of his own.
"I started asking how could I reach people like me who grew up in an atheistic home."
Clark also married the girl.
Clark says churches that don't reach 200 members by the time they're two years old generally don't ever grow beyond a few hundred people.
"We figured if we could reach 200 by January 2012, we thought we might get some momentum and maybe pay me a bit of a salary and keep the lights on," he said.
In a matter of months Clark needed to set a new goal. Village moved to the Bell Centre in Surrey and gradually added more services and campuses to accommodate larger crowds.
Sky is the limit
Village plans to expand to Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and several small towns across the country where recordings of Clark's sermons will be played. Staff will work on site to build more personal relationships with members. Clark says he's not concerned people in new cities will feel disconnected if their pastor is preaching on a video screen instead of in person.
"If you're sitting in a room and someone is on stage communicating at say a conference or something, what you tend to do naturally is look up at the screens anyway," he said.
Clark says he often flashes back to the early days.
"I think about it pretty well every week, man," he said. "I just thank God."
Want to get to know a bit more about Mark? Check out this interview below:
Johnston, Jesse. “How an Unlikely Pastor Started One of Canada's Fastest Growing Churches.” CBC, CBC Radio Group, 29 June 2017, www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/village-church-growth-1.4184294.
Turning Point Zone. “Interview | Pastor Mark Clark.” YouTube, YouTube, 10 Aug 2016, www.youtu.be/fwxO_sgbcV4.