FLINT, Michigan — It was a cold day in Flint when I met Pastor Kevin Thompson in his office at Saint Mark Missionary Baptist Church. The pastor warmed himself with a cup of hot coffee and shared his early childhood, his love for music, and all the notable people he has worked with in the music industry — all of which led him to become a minister.
I pulled a chair up, captivated by his love for what he did and does for his community. He talked about his commitment to the city of Flint and the residents but also noted that St. Mark's services are open to everyone.
As Pastor Thompson took me on a tour of the church, he continued to share the history of each room we went into. There’s a computer room where kids can learn computer skills. We also shared a laugh about all the wonderful and delicious meals that had been cooked in the kitchen.
He took me into the newly renovated gym where a picture of the famous 'Flintstones' mural was painted on the wall. He even discussed the church's financial literacy workshops and a partnership with Commit To Fit. During our heartwarming conversation below, Pastor Thompson discussed his life’s journey and all the happenings at St. Mark’s.
Flintside: Who is Pastor Kevin Thompson?
: “[I am] a servant of the Lord. I was born and raised here in the city of Flint [where I] attended Merrill Elementary, Holmes, and the mighty Northwestern High School. I matriculated at Apex School of Theology, Hosanna School of Theology, Flint Bible Institute, and Mott Community College. I’m the father of three wonderful children, and of course, I have some bonus children.”
Pastor Thompson inside his office at St. Mark Church on Jan 6, 2024. (Michell Thompson l Flintside.com)
Flintside: When did you know you wanted to become a minister?
: “I didn't. I was a servant in this church as a little boy. I was in the choir, usher board, junior deacon, and a musician. I was about 17 when the pastor wanted me to move forward. I did and received my calling in 1992. In 1994, I preached my very first sermon and was licensed and ordained in 1996.
I served when I was younger, and the pastors thought I was a great follower and ultimately moved me into a [leadership role]. And there's congregation and community that says I'm a great leader. I would like to do the best that I can as a leader here in our community.”
Flintside: Did music play a part in you becoming a minister?
: “They did tie in together. When I was serving here at St. Mark as a musician, the Lord allowed the opportunity to present itself to me to play for different people and groups. The opportunity was a great thing for me at the time. It was to play for mom and pop Winans for the old ship of Zion Boat Cruise on the Boblo Boat. It was a concert going up and down the Detroit River.
I had the opportunity to travel to Nashville, Tennessee, sing with the Bobby Jones Super Choir, and meet musicians such as Ben Tanker and Kirk Franklin. [I’ve met] quite a few artists so music has always been my thing. That moved me more into ministry because I understood it relates to the scriptures — that it all started there.”
A mural of 'The Flintstones' is displayed inside the renovated gym at St. Mark on Jan. 6, 2024. (Michell Thompson l Flintside.com)
Flintside: Can you give our readers some history about St. Mark Church?
: “St. Mark Church has been in this community for a very long time. Before my time on St. John St., you heard them saying St. John community. St. Mark was there. It started as Temple Baptist Church. After Pastor Hopkins became pastor, the church's name was changed to St. Mark Baptist Church by one of the members.
They grew from one church in the St. John area to another and moved to 2902 Dupont Street. Now, in this building, 3020 Dupont Street, once the Lutheran Church moved away, [it] gave them more room to do outreach. We build upon a solid foundation. It was a community church then, and it's a community church now.”
An inspirational quote is painted above a basketball hoop inside the St. Mark gym on Jan. 6, 2024. (Michell Thompson l Flintside.com)
Flintside: Do you believe that’s an important role of the church to fill those gaps, provide service, and meet the needs of residents?
: “The church itself needs to always be in the community and have as many services, ministries, or outreach as possible. Love and action are some of the things that we do around here. Our food program aims to address food and water disparities in the north side of Flint [and] Genesee County.
We provide enrichment programs to the youth and adults, after-school programs for the children, fishing, fishing trips, and summer programs. We also have DoorDash and partner with the Eastern Michigan Food Bank for our food distribution. We have a free therapist [and] our individual and group counseling.”
Flintside: Is there something you would like to leave Flintside readers with about St. Mark and yourself?
: “There's nothing in this world, in life, that you cannot handle — that you and God cannot handle. You don't have to go it alone. St. Mark Church is a beacon of light to the community. Let us know where we can help. Whatever you need, we’ll try to supply the need to let them know that our church motto is ‘A lot of prayer, A lot of power. A little prayer, A little power. No prayer, No power.’ And continue to pray for us as we embrace the next dimension, operate in a spirit of excellence, and move forward in the things of Christ.”
St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church is located at 3020 Dupont St. in Flint. For more information, call (810) 234-6609 or visit their website. St. Mark’s Community Outreach Center is located at 615 W. McClellan St. in Flint. For more information, call (810) 777-5197.
Enjoy this story? Sign up
for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.