The Journey To Finding Purpose

My first couple of years working in church ministry were great. The church that I was born in, Glad Tiding Church, had hired me to conduct and arrange music for their 100 voice choir and orchestra. It was a bit intimidating at first, I was only 27 years old when I started and many of the choir and orchestra members were significantly older that me. But leading in the old GT church was so much fun. I remember the power of the music as we belted out great songs of worship to the Lord…. ‘Bless the Lord, who reigns in wisdom and in power’… ‘Worship the Lord, let’s praise His holy Name!’


I was even blessed to be the choir director when the church moved into it’s new 2200 seat auditorium. The stage had all the bells and whistles. Their was a huge platform in the middle of the stage that went down to the floor below to pick up sets. Their were two huge revolving turntables on each side of the stage for rotating sets and two great curtains for the front and back of the stage. To this day, it is still the best stage that I have worked on in church ministry.

But unfortunately, there were some problems. The church could not afford all this grandeur. Because of some significant leadership problems the church did not make the transition to the new building in good shape… not to mention that they owed millions of dollars and the interest alone was killing them. So in the fall of 1984, a couple of us staff members were let go. The church did not have the funds to pay us.

At the time, we were enjoying our nine month old son, Josh, and my wife Anna was pregnant with our second child, Stephanie. So as a family with one child in arms and one on the way, we had some praying to do. I started to put my name out to other churches, went on unemployment (thank you Canadian government) and continued to conduct the choir. We were living in Anna’s parents basement suite and Anna was back working at the Royal Bank, so we were getting by.

A few weeks later, I was leading the GT choir on a Sunday evening and I spotted two men in grey business suits sitting in the middle of our congregation. Something told me that they had come from another church to check me out. To make a long story short, they had come from First Assembly in Calgary and in short time I was hired to conduct their annual Singing Christmas Tree and become their new Music Pastor.

That fall, I was flying back and forth from Vancouver to Calgary and working on two Christmas productions at the same time. I later turned over the Vancouver production to another leader and my little family and I moved to Calgary in time to conduct the many performances of the Singing Christmas Tree. Busy times!

But in the midst of all that change, God finally showed me what my true calling was. I could lead music groups and conduct and write music for choirs and orchestras… but that was not my main calling. When I arrived in Calgary, they just assumed I could lead worship (and I didn’t tell them I had never lead before) so I was soon scheduled to lead. At that same time I turned thirty years old and I began to lead people in worship for the first time in my life.

That was many years ago and leading people to set their hearts and worship on God is still one of my greatest passions and joys. Leading people to God through worship has taken me around the world numerous times and allowed me to minister in front of hundreds of thousands of people on almost every continent. I agree with what King Hezekiah said, “The Lord has chosen you to stand in His presence, to minister to Him, and to lead the people in worship.”

God knew what He was calling me to do…

lead the people in worship

Question: What is God calling you to do? What is your true calling?

Check out my new book.. Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure’ available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

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6 Responses to The Journey To Finding Purpose

  1. Shortly after you left I served a 3 year term at GT as Youth Pastor. Made some great friends. Started with 12 of us, grew to over a hundred in a few short months. I was passionate, but naive. In my 3 years there I sat under 3 different Senior Pastors, each change was like having the carpet pulled out from under you. Then in 1987 GT Split 3 ways. The current pastor took a bunch, another group went PAOC and the third exodus followed the Casey Treat trail. GT was the second of three Church Splits I have experienced in my 53 years, thirty as a Minister.

    And like you, Tracy and I had a newborn and were living in a basement suite. I resigned. Nobody left to pastor! I sat in the parking lot of Old Orchard Mall weeping. Broken. The HS said to me “You don’t need a Platform or a Pulpit to Pastor people”! We boldly stepped forward into a decade of itinerant youth work across Canada, Asia and Europe. GT was the second of three Church Splits I have experienced in my 53 years, thirty as a Minister. Seen to many good people hurt.
    So Today, “The world is my parish” (John Wesley 18th century preacher) My true Calling! :o)

  2. Mark Cole says:

    The Lord definitely has a different road for each of us.. those days at GT were tough.. I was more than thankful to have missed that.

  3. joey barton says:

    I do not know for sure what my calling is, but I do know what I am gifted with-
    I am a 30 year veteran of the bass guitar and I love to play but that isn’t my true gifting.
    He has blessed me with a deep understanding and revelation of music and its inner workings that I never asked for initially. he has blessed me with perfect pitch and relative pitch. I have the ability to figure out songs and entire scores mentally without touching an instrument. I am guessing that I could probably score an orchestra. my shortcoming is written music but I have come leaps and bounds in that area as well as I allow Him to enable my weaknesses. I believe that as I need it, he reveals it to me. tie all of this together with a prophetic mantle and you have a musician that understands songs and has the tools needed to create tension and release musically. in the past year alone, He has revealed more to me about the language of music than in the first 29 years- and I knew a lot before that. I sense that I am being prepared for something but not entirely sure what. I continue to perfect my craft as I wait upon Him.

  4. Paul Blumhagen says:

    Hi Mark, Its Paul Blumhagen if you remember.
    Saw you last in CLA just before you left for GT.
    A bunch of years have gone by, and living in semi retirement with my wife. Have bragged to her on many occasions of your skills as a musician and a minister.
    Miss you-have thought of you many times over the years and have wondered if you have produced a CD/CDs and if you could direct me to get copies. Have listened many times to your rendition of “his eye is on the sparrow’. We are not young man anymore sosome of my past memories are becoming more meaningful to my wife and I now. Look forward to hearing from you. Hope you are well, yours affectionately, Paul and Sara . 🙂

    • Mark Cole says:

      Hi Paul.. it’s so good to connect…
      I’ve done a number of recordings and 3 of them are available on iTunes..
      If you type in ‘Mark Cole and the Glad Tidings Worship Band’.. you’ll find around 30-35 of my tunes..
      Blessings to you and your wife… Mark

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