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Sunrise Church | Pastor Mark & Lauranne Thompson

During youth camp in Alexandria, Minnesota, a young Mark Thompson was called into ministry. Later he attended and graduated from North Central University and began his ministry at a Christian boarding school in Oregon, where he taught Bible and music classes. The following year, Mark married Lauranne and moved to Illinois, where he was a youth minister at First Assembly of God in Aurora. He was credentialed with the Assemblies of God (AG) during this time. Then, after six years, he was called to be the lead pastor at an AG church in Diamond, Illinois. Though things were comfortable, Mark felt a stirring that God had something else planned for him.

On two separate occasions, two different evangelists called him, stating they had a word from God for him. Mark recalls, “Literally, the words they both used were ‘the winds of change are coming.’” Following these prophetic words, in 2013, a tornado hit the church right after a Sunday morning service, destroying their building. Mark said, “you know, it looked like everything was fine until I looked out the door and realized things had changed drastically.” At that point, Mark knew this was part of fulfilling God’s word for him and proceeded to rebuild the church building.

A couple of years following the incident, Mark received a call from Pastor Clarence asking him to pray and potentially consider taking one of the currently open lead pastor positions in Minnesota, one of which was Sunrise Church in Saint Peter.  Having recently established a new building, Mark did not feel this was God’s calling at the time and so declined. Later, after a Prayer and Fasting retreat, Pastor Clarence called again to share that Mark’s name had come up four times by four different people as the person they felt would be fitting for the Saint Peter church. Mark took this seriously and then really began praying about it.

Anticipating another change, Mark and Lauranne had a son who was attending college in Minnesota. They happened to be in town to help him look for an apartment, so they decided to visit Sunrise Church that Sunday. “It was during that visit that God spoke to me and said, ‘these people are sheep without a shepherd.’ I knew then that God was calling me there,” Mark recalled.

After what has seemed like only a few weeks for Mark, he has now been serving as Lead Pastor for seven years at Sunrise Church. Mark encourages that through seasons of change, “Don’t get caught up in details. The enemy likes to use those details, and we begin to focus on things that are so small. They may seem huge, but in the call of God in your life, they’re small. We need to keep our eyes on the prize and on what God has called us to.”