Thanks for stopping by.
I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma while my father was finishing his graduate education. Just a few months later, I would return with my mother, father, and sister to northeast Kansas where the majority of my childhood was spent. My father (Dr. Randy Scraper) was a United Methodist Minister, now retired. My mother (Wanda Scraper) worked a series of different jobs as we moved from community to community following my father’s profession. Eventually, she would work for a local insurance agency in suburban Kansas City becoming the Director of Human Resource Management.
My earliest memories begin in Robinson, Kansas. Robinson is a very small town with a population of around 300 people when I lived there in the late 1970’s. Following my father’s profession, we would move first to Topeka, Kansas, and then eventually to Overland Park where I would graduate from Shawnee Mission South High School in 1996.
After graduating from High School, I enlisted into the U.S. Army Infantry. As an enlisted infantryman (11B2PB4), I would have the opportunity to attend and graduate from the Army’s Airborne, Air Assault, Jungle Operations Training (Panama), and Sniper courses, eventually deploying with the 10th Mountain Division in support of the United Nations mission in the Balkans. Among the greatest honors of my life has been the opportunity to maintain six generations of service as a Cherokee Warrior, all of whom served in the U.S. Army.
My uncle, Larry Scraper, served as an infantryman during the Vietnam conflict. Uncle Larry was tragically killed in 1974 in a stateside training accident at Ft. Riley, Kansas just days before my father was ordained in The United Methodist Church. My grandfather, Robert Scraper, served in the Philippines during the Second World War, his father (Joseph Franklin Scraper) having served during the First World War. My great, great grandfather, Archibald Scraper was not only a Trail of Tears survivor, but also served as a delegate to Washington representing the Cherokee Nation in 1865, 1867, 1868, and 1869. Archibald also served as a representative of the Goingsnake District in 1869 and 1870 as well as an Associate Justice of the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court in 1877. Archibald would likewise serve as Director of Public Schools during the Zeke Proctor trial which was convened at his home in Scraper Hollow. Archibald would also serve as a Captain in Col. John Drew’s regiment during the Civil War. Archibald’s father, The Scraper (Disugasgi) likewise served the Cherokee Nation as a Warrior, fighting alongside Major Ridge in the Creek War of 1812. You are welcome to read more about my 2020 pilgrimage to the pre-removal home of my ancestors on the banks of the Coosa River in Northeast Alabama here.
After my honorable discharge, my wife (Kate) and I began our trek across the country as we attended college and began our careers. Kate and I are both previously divorced, each of us blessed with a child from our first marriage, and one from our marriage to each other. Kate has worked diligently in the talent acquisition industry over the years. Starting with Express Employment Professionals as a front-office receptionist making $7.25 an hour, today she is the Director of Talent Acquisition for Nextep Inc., based in Norman, Oklahoma. Kate is the hardest working and most reliable person that I’ve ever met. She is the glue that holds our family together, and the kind of person who never turns away from hard work. She is hilarious, has a great social media presence, loves her family fiercely, and is terrifyingly good at skip-bo…much to my annoyance. In short…she is fabulous.
For my part, I began an education that will seemingly never end. I earned a B.A. Degree in Liberal Arts from Rogers State University, as well as a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Preaching and Organizational Leadership from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Like my father, I was ordained in The United Methodist Church. I’ve worked as a youth minister in Mobile, Alabama; a student pastor in lower New York; and an Indian Education Advocate in Lincoln, Nebraska; prior to returning to Oklahoma to take a series of appointments in The United Methodist Church. Those appointments found us serving United Methodist congregations in Durant, Stroud, Marlow, and eventually Oklahoma City where we’re happily living today. I’m currently enjoying an appointment as the Lead Pastor of Southern Hills United Methodist Church, where I’ve served since 2016. During my tenure at Southern Hills I have,
- Increased annual income from $370,000 (2016) to $949,000 (2021).
- Increased the size of the staff from 12 to 38.
- Led a successful capital campaign to expand the physical campus with the addition of a 10,000 sq ft building (opened in 2020).
- Increased Average Weekly Worship attendance from 168 (2016) to 2500 (2022) in the most ethnically diverse 10 mile radius within the Oklahoma City Metro area.
- Pioneered the construction and administration of a virtual campus, through which worship, study, pastoral care, and missional engagement are distributed virtually into over 90 countries annually (SHUMC reached 96 countries virtually in 2021).
- Increased community engagement and involvement by beginning a homeless outreach program that serves over 150 people each week with a team of 30 volunteers.
- Opened and currently operate a successful DHS certified child-care center with a current enrollment of 130 children.
There is so much more to my story, which I would love to tell you about sometime! I have two great daughters and one great step-daughter. One lives in upstate New York studying hospitality management, another in California making her way in the working world, and the other lives right here with Kate and I in Oklahoma City where she is in the Education program at the University of Oklahoma. I absolutely love my family and all of our dogs. I also love to cook (follow me @mbscraper on instagram to join in on my cooking escapades), read, run, hike, support our community, and have great conversations with interesting people while sitting outside around the fire. The rest of that will have to wait for another time.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know me a little better. If you have ideas, suggestions, or comments, I would love to hear them. You can email me directly here.