When Lamarr Lark Sr. showed up at Grace College as a freshman, he’d only been a Christian for two months. Providentially, he found himself sitting in Dr. Ron Manahan’s Old Testament class, and Manahan began to disciple Lark.
“It’s my fondest memory of Grace because he laid a foundation for me that has enabled me to be where I am today.” Their relationship continues to this day. In fact, laughs, Lark, “I often tell my wife of 35 years that I’ve been in a relationship with him longer than her!”
After graduating from Grace with a bachelor of science in counseling in 1987, Lark went on to spend 24 years at Abbott, a leading global health care company, where he retired as divisional vice president of human resources at the laudable age of 50. While at Abbott, Lark sought out any opportunity he could to pursue his passion to pastor. He served as an assistant pastor and executive pastor at various churches as he and his family moved around the country for his job. Lark knew when he retired, he wanted to pastor full time.
In 2014, the Lord gave him an opportunity to plant a church in Libertyville, Illinois, and Connection Church — a culturally, generationally, economically diverse church — was born. Lark bought and converted an old barn built in the late 1800s into Connection’s worship center, and now you can find him preaching most Sundays to around 50 to 75 people.
In addition to pastoring full time, Lark became an owner/operator of a Chick-fil-A (Gurnee, Ill.) in 2017, which gives him more financial freedom to invest in his young church.
Since occupying a seat in Manahan’s class, Lark’s relationship with Grace has expanded to reach the whole institution. He’s served on the Grace Board of Trustees since 2005. His lengthy experience in human resources has benefited Grace greatly, and he was instrumental in the design of Deploy, Grace’s competency-based seminary program, and in connecting Grace with other key pastors in the Midwest.
Whether Lark is walking the floor of his restaurant, preaching in a renovated barn, or working for a Fortune 500 company, his goal is to keep his eyes fixed on Jesus. “God has blessed us with material things, but that’s not where I get my joy,” he says. “My satisfaction is in Him and the work He does through me.” *As featured in the Grace Story magazine. – from grace.edu