So Who Is Pastor Chris?
I’m just a regular guy with an awesome family and a heart to serve Jesus by caring for His people. If you are like me you want to know a little about the pastor before visiting a church. I’d love to meet you at Grace Presbyterian Church in Grenada, Mississippi. Here’s the basics of my story.
I believe the Bible is God’s inspired and authoritative Word and that Jesus Christ is the only Savior and Lord of humanity. I embrace the historic and biblical Christian faith.
My main areas of strength are preaching & teaching, outreach & discipleship, pastoral counseling, and ministering to kids in crisis & mentoring young families. I lead by training and equipping people to use their giftedness for God’s glory. People grow best in a positive and encouraging environment that provides loving and honest feedback combined with a lot of compassion, mercy and patience.
Of course, I’ve got my weaknesses. I’ve got legit ADD which leads people to view me as the lovable absent minded professor. When I’m under stress I eat too much. When I’m too busy I exercise too little. So you guessed it, weight is a thing with me. I try not to take myself too seriously. I’ve learned that my shortcomings give me an opportunity to give praise & glory to God.
My dad is a Baptist minister (now retired) and I grew up as that stereotypical pastor’s kid. I didn’t embrace Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord until I was 24 years old. Before that I was pretty wild & rebellious and a general embarrassment to my family. But God in His mercy & grace totally changed the trajectory of my life.
I love being outdoors. I enjoy coaching baseball & soccer. I’m a life-long fan of the Boston Red Sox and the Green Bay Packers. Since moving to Mississippi I’ve become a fan of Mississippi State athletics….Hail State! Y’all have to forgive me for following the Alabama Crimson Tide for about 40 years before that.
People have called me a blue collar guy with a white collar mind. I think that means that I work hard and think deep thoughts. I’ve held a number of blue collar jobs in my life: fuels specialist in the United States Air Force, custodian & campus security officer at Gordon College, hardware & garden equipment sales for Sears, waiter at Denny’s, and grocery replenishment specialist & stocking team leader for Publix.
I’ve got two bachelor’s degrees: One in medieval studies and the other in nursing. I’m a registered nurse (RN) who works in a hospital setting. I believe working outside of the church keeps me living in the real world and helps me understand the real lives of people. I don’t live in a preacher bubble.
Along my path in life I earned a graduate certificate in human resource management with concentrations in leadership of non-profit organizations and marketing. I used to work professionally as a consultant to ministry organizations and larger churches.
I graduated from Covenant Theological Seminary with a master’s degree in pastoral ministry. I also did additional study in church history & theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The main focus of my extra study was the Protestant Reformation and the Christian interaction with the modern world (contemporary theology, world religions, and science & faith).
I had two research projects published in Reformation & Revival Journal back in the day and even appeared as a guest on talk radio. I even made it into an issue of Current Thoughts & Trends. But I prefer to be a regular guy rather than some intellectual that nobody can relate to. So I gave up my pursuit of an academic career.
Major issues that are close to my heart are serving the poor and the immigrant, single mothers, and children whose parents can’t care for them. I also believe strongly in promoting healthy marriages and strong families. In the past I’ve done work for an organization that serves the separated in divorced.
I started out in Christian ministry working with children and high school & college students way back in 1991 at a Christian camp & conference center. As a pastor I’ve served congregations in Georgia, Missouri, South Dakota, New Hampshire and Vermont.
We’ve lived in the South since 2008 and Mississippi since 2011. We recognize we are “outsiders” to the Southern way of life and appreciate the welcome we have received in the Grenada community.
Both my wife Shelley and I have a long-held burden to minister to wounded and broken children as well as families in crisis, particularly single parent families. I’ve been a house parent in a group home for abused boys. My wife and I have been house parents together in a Christian children’s home. We’ve also served as court appointed guardians. Beyond that our home and lives have been open to the needs of many children and young adults.
Shelley and I have been married since June 1993. Someday we need to write a book “How to Thrive in a Dysfunctional Marriage.” We enjoy mentoring young couples who are in the process of learning how to thrive in their marriages.
We’ve got four young adult children – Elizabeth Anne, twins Hannah & Beth, and Matthew. We are also blessed with a granddaughter Carter Leigh-Anne. We are proud of our kids. Each one of them is on a journey to become mature and equipped followers of Jesus Christ who worship and serve God in fellowship with other Christians. Our book on parenting would be “How Defective Parents Raise Good Kids.”
So now you know me. I’d enjoy the chance to get to know you. Stop by Grace Presbyterian Church in Grenada and say hello. I’m always looking for more Facebook friends too!