Six Questions About Money: An Interview With Church Planter Mark Harper

Mark Harper and DebWelcome to Six Questions! It is a new feature where we’ll ask different people from various walks of life the same six questions. I expect that each person
will bring something unique to a standard set of questions. Today’s guest is Mark Harper. I’ll let him introduce himself momentarily.

As you read through this Six Questions interview and all the previous interviews, I hope your thinking is sparked. That as you hear  new and different perspectives you will be prodded to think about your own relationship to money.  The views of our guest do not  necessarily  reflect the views of Pocket Your Dollars.com or its staff, but are a springboard for thought and respectful discussion.

If you’d like to be featured in a Six Questions column, email me to express interest.

Now to Mark…

Introduce yourself in 75 words or less

My wife Debra and I, are pastors and church planters.  Our vision statement for Family Church in Hopkins, Minnesota  is “Making Church Fun.” (PocketYourDollars here: Pastor Mark and Deb spent 20+ year as children’s pastors and most recently worked at the church I attend. Last summer I helped them learn about social media and launch this new website for their children’s church curriculum business)

What money issue are you dealing with in your life right now

My salary as a church planter is half of what it used to be so cash flow is a challenge. We are making significant changes in our lifestyle, downsizing from a 3,300 square foot house to an 800 square foot condo. Admittedly this is challenging, but I’m passionate about the journey.

The Apostle Paul said ” I know how to face humble circumstances and I know how to face prosperity.” I am learning that money does not equal happiness. Happiness is having the freedom to do the things in life that make you happy.

One thing you learned about money while growing up that has stuck with you into adulthood

My parents and grandparents always said, “Never spend your principal.” (PocketYourDollars here: I like that!)

One thing you didn’t learn at home about money, but wish you had

My Dad was very frugal. To me it just seemed like he was cheap and that we were poor, so I rebelled against his frugality.  My only regret is that I didn’t have a better understanding of why he was being frugal. Frugality is the pathway to prosperity. Prosperity isn’t buying stuff. Prosperity is having money in the bank.

Name your favorite money tool, resource or book?

My favorite money book is, The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley. I liked his chapter on Economic Outpatient Care. This is an enlightening quote from the book, “the more dollars adult children receive, the fewer they accumulate, while those who are given fewer dollars accumulate more.”

My favorite web resource is Joshua Becker’s blog, Becoming Minimalist.

What’s one piece of money advice you wish every American would follow?

This is going to seem harsh to some, but American parents are too product driven. It seems that the primary way we show love to our kids is buying them stuff.   This is unhealthy.   My prayer is that we would spend more time with our kids and buy them less stuff.

If you’d like to connect with Mark follow him on Twitter @MarkHarper10 or visit his blog on Family Church’s website.

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It’s PocketYourDollars again wondering if you agree or disagree with Mark’s perspective on these six questions. My only request is that even if you disagree, you please do so respectfully.