How an unlikely pastor started one of Canada’s fastest growing churches

Courtesy: CBC NEWS
A Birth of a Church
In late 2009, Village Church was born in Surrey 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 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.
Kevin Alkema remembers when there weren’t enough seats for everyone inside the school, so they set up a television outside. “People were sitting on the square ball court so they wouldn’t break the fire code,” he said. Word was spreading quickly that Clark was an incredibly gifted speaker, and the crowds kept getting bigger. 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. As he’s planning expansions, 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.”

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