Faces in the Crowd: Pastor Scott Harper

October 21, 2019

I met Scott Harper a few months ago when he joined the Clare County Chess Club that meets every Saturday at the Pere Marquette District Library. It was only a few weeks ago that I learned that he is the Lead Pastor of Clare Assembly of God located at 3557 E. Colonville Road in Clare. When I learned this, I asked him for an interview. A couple of weeks later, an interview was scheduled at the Pere Marquette Library.

Scott was born in Detroit in 1962. He attended public schools in the Detroit metropolitan area from kindergarten through high school, graduating in 1980. In the 9th grade, he experienced a turning point in his life – he was saved and began devoting his life to Christ. During high school he participated in track. In the mile-long race, he placed second in the State.

After graduation from high school, he attended Oral Roberts University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry. During his stint at the university, he participated in cross-country track, where his team was 11th in the nation in NCAAD I. He also won the President’s Cup, placing 8th in the country in a 3,000-meter race. He was Chaplain for the team.

Scott made missionary trips to 11 foreign countries over an 8-week period, including Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Yugoslavia. Several places, still under Communist regimes, were extremely sensitive. These contained underground churches that had to be constantly aware of their surroundings for fear someone would be listening and report them to the authorities. It was far better to have discussions outdoors instead of indoors because even the walls might have taps.

In 1986, Pastor Scott married Lisa. They have 4 children: Autumn, 27, who lives in Holt with her husband Tim and is currently expecting their first child; Jonathan, 25, who was president of his high school class here in Clare, is married to Addy, and is currently a youth and worship pastor with a Master’s Degree in Divinity; Victoria, 23, works as a social worker in Bay City with her Master’s Degree in Social Work earned from Spring Arbor University; and Jasmine, who is a Junior at Spring Arbor University working toward a degree in elementary education, and who participates in track.

Scott has been pastoring for the past 33 years. He came to Clare Assembly of God in November of 2009. He and his wife Lisa are particularly passionate about three areas:

1.Helping people connect with Christ. They absolutely love witnessing people place their trust in Christ.
2.Facilitating spiritual growth for people. Helping people take deeper steps of faith is a huge passion of theirs.

3. Impacting the community positively.
That passion extends to God, families, and the community. The church is a dynamic one that longs to make a difference by loving people, building them up in Christ, and sending them out to do the same for others.

Clare Assembly of God has developed several programs for these purposes. For example, near Christmas they have A Walk through Bethlehem (December 20, 21, and 22), which is the Christmas story illustrated through 12 stations with costumed actors and audience participation.

The church also supports the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, in which 150 children attend sports camp each summer – a program that has existed for the past nine years.

The church also created the Building Hope Project. It is a fact that Michigan is #78 out of 83 counties in childhood poverty and childhood wellness. The program created a food pantry, in which food is distributed to approximately 300 people in the area each month. Building Hope also distributes wood for home heating. The program will be distributing 200 coats to the needy. This program will be continued on November 17 this year and will keep operating throughout the winter season.

Scott says that a brand new extension to the Building Hope project is being added this year; it is called Building Hope Job Mentoring initiative. For high school students who qualify, 17 mentors (so far) have agreed to spend one hour each week throughout the school year in teaching such students skills that are not normally taught in high school, yet giving them the experience to add to their resume after serving a sort of apprenticeship in an area of their choice. The skill sets currently available for mentoring are general sales, tax preparation, hair stylist, coaching, auto mechanic, radio, business ownership/entrepreneur, machining, music/performance arts, ABA therapy, retail sales, fitness, restaurant, financial advising, law enforcement, and social work. Call Pastor Scott at (989) 386-3232 for further details.

Church services at Clare Assembly are on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. with Sunday school starting at 9:00 a.m. Youth takes place at 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. Discipleship classes takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. They are a come-as-you-are church.

Scott is an outdoorsman, and he loves kayaking, swimming, and hiking.

I asked him if he could be anywhere else but here, right this minute, where would it be. He responded, “On my third honeymoon with my wife. Wherever I can see her smile, that’s where I want to be.”

I asked Scott to describe himself in 3 words: “Compassionate, Community-minded, and Diligent worker.”

I asked him how his colleagues would describe him: “Respectful, Dedicated to forward progress, and Belief in bringing people together.”

I then asked him what he is happiest doing when he’s not working. With no hesitation, he answered, “Hiking with my wife.” He loves nature in all of its beauty.

Scott loves to play chess when he has the opportunity. I mentioned earlier that he’s a member of the local Chess Club, and he enjoys testing his skills against many different opponents.

Scott is a member of the Rotary Club. Its purpose is to connect people who then work together to solve community problems, provide humanitarian aid, and promote goodwill and peace. Their motto is “Service Above Self.”

Scott’s own personal motto: “Lose your life in a cause that is greater than yourself.”

Pastor Scott wants the community to know that “Clare Assembly is a church family that is passionate about family, friendships, and finding our calling. This is a family, and a place to call home. It’s a place to get help, healing, and hope. Lisa and I are here to serve you any way we can. We would be honored by the opportunity to get to know you better. Please do not hesitate to reach out so that we can connect!”

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