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7 Questions with Mark Soper
helps you in your leadership.
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Jonno White
7 Questions with Mark Soper

Name: Mark Soper

Current title: Team Leader Shire Salvos

Current organisation: The Salvation Army

was born into the Salvation Army and gave my life to Jesus when I was young. I developed a heart for serving some of the most marginalized people in society and seeing the local church as a key part in showing the love of Jesus and making him known to those in our community.
I fell in love with my wife Lauren when I was the youth Pastor at Hurstville salvos and have 3 amazing children Zoe, Emerson and Jude. I still love investing in young people and have been and seeing them released and given opportunity to lead and serve. I’m been blessed to be serving the local church for nearly 20 years in various forms as Youth Worker/Pastor, Assistant Church Leader, Menai Team Leader and now Shire Salvos Team leader but most of all I just love being a follower of Jesus and seeing him transform people's lives.

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1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?

Managing the expectation and pastoral needs of the congregation while trying to lead people to become more missional.

2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I was a youth worker and studied social work and was working for the Salvation Army and an Officer/Pastor asked to catch up for coffee and wanted me to apply to become his Church's youth pastor.
The same thing happened when I become and assistant pastor and after 7 years there I was asked by the Salvation Army Leadership to lead the church as the Officers/pastors were moving.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

At least 3 mornings i'm up early catching up with guys I mentor or men who I journey with spiritually/accountability. I normally spend quiet time in the morning before getting to the office or first thing when I get in. I try and drop the kids off to school at least 2 times a week and pick them up once. So at least one day I start late and finish early.
I try to have most of my meetings in morning. I often have lunch with people re staff, ministry, volunteers, networking or mentoring and see that as another time to invest in people.
I try to free up certain days and often try to have most of my meetings on 2 days and keep more flexibility on other days.
I often do emails first thing and at the end of the day and don't look at them during the day. I try to get home by 5:30pm and try not to be out more than 2/3 nights a week and theres 2 nights that are non negotiable for time with the family Tuesdays and fridays.
I usually have dinner at around 6pm - get kids to bed and around 8pm I go for a walk at least 3/4 times a week and normally call people on my way or catch up with other men one on one when I go for a walk. I go to bed around 10-10:30pm.

4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

When I started ministry I heard Wayne Codaro speak and read his book the "Divine Mentor". It has shaped a large part of my life and ministry.
Reading the word, journalling and praying with men and young people every week has been a regular part of my life for close to 20 years. It has laid a foundation of personal growth and discipleship in what I do with my time

5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

To hold things loosely and being willing to let things go even if they are good things it doesn't mean they need to continue and Without prayer nothing worthwhile happens

6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?

It's essential we give opportunity even when young people may not seem to be ready. If we provide the right supports for young people I've found they often raise to the occasion. Developing a culture of letting people learn on the job is essential.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?

One of the greatest blessings I have received in ministry is gathering the prophet's/prayer warriors together and actively seeking their input and advice and wise council. They have prayed for me and my family and given powerful and timely words and confirmation. They wise council has saved me and our church from making decisions we would later regret and I believe that the healthy position we found ourselves in is from the leading and direction of the saints.
I remember really struggling in one season in ministry and one of these prayer warriors gave me a verse which he just felt I needed to hear. I was thinking of resigning and hadn't told anyone and he gave me Romans 11:29 "For God's gifts and his call is irrevocable." At this time I was the assistant pastor/leader and encouraged to stay and 12 months later I was become the lead pastor. Amazing how a timely word in season is more powerful than we realise.