Features / God Stories

Pastor Chris’ Reflections on the First Year

Pastor ChrisIs Smoke Rise what you expected?

I can say, without hesitation, that Smoke Rise has exceeded my expectations and has been even better than I had hoped for. The people of this church are loving and caring, deeply committed to each other and eager to reach into our community with God’s love. My family has not only felt accepted, but embraced by our church. We have quickly fallen in love with this church and feel loved by this congregation.

What has surprised you?

No one anticipates breaking a leg during Vacation Bible School, but surprises come in all kinds of different packages. In June, I preached my first sermon at Smoke Rise on crutches! On a more serious note, I am consistently amazed by people’s willingness to “go the extra mile” and by the strength of our Sunday school program. It has also been a blessing to see so many baby dedications and baptisms taking place during this first year of ministry.

You are constantly in motion. Where do you find your strength?

Three answers—family, friendships, and faith. I am blessed to have the most wonderful woman in the world as my wife, my best friend and my minister. Jen and the boys inspire my own faith and serve as God’s instruments to teach and touch my life. I am also thankful for many dear friends and colleagues who provide wise counsel and help me better understand the calling to be a minister. Finally, I am grateful to God for providing strength for each new day and inspiration for each new sermon. I believe in the power of prayer and find renewal in this spiritual practice and also great strength in the knowledge that others are praying with me and for me.

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