A husband, father, pastor, and community leader, Dr. Mark Harris has dedicated his adult life to serving people. Mark grew up in Winston-Salem, NC, the youngest of five children born to Everette and Virginia Harris. From an early age, Mark learned the importance of faith, family, hard work, service, and patriotism.
Mark’s dad has always been his hero. Raised in the Methodist Children’s Home and later shot down and held prisoner during World War II, Mark defines his dad as the ultimate overcomer who never became bitter, but always better. Both of Mark’s parents served their church and community in many ways, setting an example for their children to follow.
After graduating from R. J. Reynolds High School, Mark attended Appalachian State University where he graduated with a B. S. in political science in 1987, with plans to attend Campbell University Law School in the fall. It was at App that Mark met his future wife Beth, who was earning her degree in Middle School Education.
Just weeks before their wedding, Mark heard and answered God’s call to enter the ministry. With Beth’s full support Mark headed to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. Mark went on to earn both his Master’s of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degree in Christian Leadership from Southeastern.
Mark served two churches prior to moving to Charlotte. At Center Grove Baptist in Clemmons, NC, his first pastorate, the church experienced tremendous growth and ultimately relocated its facilities to 38 acres of land under Mark’s leadership. Mark developed a strategic plan at Curtis Baptist in Augusta, Georgia to unite the church’s Christian school campuses at the main church campus. With the construction of a seven million dollar education building this goal was realized, allowing for other improvements in the school’s structure.
In 2005 Mark answered a call to First Baptist Church Charlotte. Despite the crash of the economy in 2008, Mark led the church to address issues with aging infrastructure. The church launched a highly successful capital campaign, raising 2.6 million dollars from 2010-2013. The funds from the campaign enabled the church to upgrade its heating and air system, install top-of-the-line sound and lighting systems, and refurbish the worship center. All of these projects were completed without the church acquiring debt.
While serving as Senior Pastor at First Baptist Charlotte, Mark was elected President of the North Carolina Baptist Convention from 2011-2013. Mark’s tenure as President coincided with the ballot initiative in 2012 to define marriage in North Carolina as the union of one man and one woman. He helped mobilize North Carolina’s churches as a founding member of Vote for Marriage NC and is widely credited with playing a significant role in the Marriage Amendment’s passage.
Mark has served in numerous additional leadership roles. He served from 1999-2009 as a trustee of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, serving as Chairman of the Board from 2005-2007. Mark has also served on the Board of Directors for the Biblical Recorder from 2006-2010.
Mark is running for Congress because he believes the people of the 9th District need and deserve a Congressman who will listen to them, take their concerns to Washington, and work hard for them every day.