Mark Swayze, who leads worship each Sunday in The Harvest, also happens to be the church’s Pastor of Contemporary Worship and Community Growth, which means he speaks into and helps guide the musical expressions in each of the contemporary venues. For him, worship is about so much more than a few songs during weekend services.
Swayze and his team had been serving at University United Methodist Church in San Antonio for many years and were quite settled in that community. Then Bob Swan called and asked if he’d meet with Mark Sorensen, the pastor of The Harvest, which was looking for a new worship leader.
“Sorensen was a worship leader, so he instantly connected with me, and Nycki and (Swayze’s wife) Missie instantly connected over Haiti,” Swayze says. “So all of a sudden we’re sitting there, and he starts talking about Harvest and where he wants it to go and the new building and his dream for the community. Missie and I sat there listening, and when we left the lunch were like, ‘Dang it. We’re going to go to The Woodlands.’”
After sharing the decision to move with his team, Mark did not anticipate their response. “By the end of that week, all seven members and their spouses and kids said ‘We’re in for Houston,’” Swayze says. “They sold their houses, quit their jobs, and 22 people moved from San Antonio to Houston and then went looking for new houses and jobs. It was crazy. Our first six months is the story of God opening up doors for jobs and opening up houses and neighborhoods for every single one of them.”
He’s excited about being a Pastor at The Woodlands UMC under the leadership of Mark Sorensen and Dr. Robb because they are willing to equip their people and give them a large canvas on which to bring their visions to life.
“One of the things that I’m believing about contemporary worship in all venues in the future is that we become a movement,” he says. “I think that The Woodlands UMC worship is going to be the epicenter of Wesleyan worship music, teaching and resourcing of the church. I literally think that the earthquake hits The Woodlands UMC, and the aftershocks spread across the country.”
Mark and his wife, Missie, have two children: Lauren and Caleb.