In December we launched a national search for a Family Life Minister, with the goal of hiring someone whose highest passion is to minister to our children, youth, and families – and who has the skill, experience, spirituality, and character to lead and grow our children, youth, and family ministries. This is a brand new position at LifeJourney. Previously our children, youth, and family ministries were part of a position that included many other unrelated responsibilities. We believe the time is right to have a position that focuses exclusively on children, youth, and parents.
Our job posting was published in early December on multiple national church websites, with MCC, and with about 8 seminaries and Christian colleges. Those postings were renewed in January for an additional 30 days. During that time, we received 47 requests for application materials. Thirteen of those individuals submitted full applications. After careful review, extensive interviews, reference checks, and a lot of prayer, we have found an absolutely awesome person to fill this new role.
Chris Edwards’ first Sunday at LifeJourney will be April 1 – Easter Sunday! Here is a quick summary of why we’re so excited about Chris:
- 18 years of exceptional experience ministering to children, youth, and parents in diverse roles.
- Family Life Minister at two prior churches with thriving children, youth, and family programs.
- Gifted at developing curriculum for children, youth, and parents.
- Has successfully managed large teams and programs with positive cultures.
- Served as a Social Worker III in North Carolina, classified as a Qualified Mental Health Professional and Qualified Developmental Disabilities Professional.
- Recruited, trained, and mentored foster care parents for a Christian foster care agency.
- Guided programs for at-risk youth with learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and addictions.
- Served several years as a YMCA Camp Director and a lead teacher for preschoolers.
- Certified in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, Clinical First Aid, and taught Crisis Prevention to parents and youth workers as Advanced Instructor with the Crisis Prevention Institute.
- Education: Master’s in Theological Studies, Bachelor’s in Ministry, Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician.
- 38 years old, currently living in North Carolina.
- Married 6 years to his wife Jill.
- Father of a 17-year old step daughter that he raised from birth.
- He became a follower of Jesus as a teenager.
- Since then he has had an eclectic church background that includes: United Church of Christ, Christian Missionary Alliance, Vineyard, Celtic, Full Gospel, and nondenominational churches.
- Strong sense of calling to child, youth, and family ministry as his highest career goal, not a stepping stone to something else.
- Has visited our church over two weekends and is very passionate about our calling to be a church that is centered on Jesus and the Scriptures, celebrates diversity, and welcomes all people.He comes from a UCC church with LGBT leadership and a focus on diversity and inclusion.
- Hobbies include Aikido (defensive martial arts), cello, biking, and a St. Bernard named Deojee.
Those who know Chris well describe him as someone who is gentle and warm, builds deep relationships with children and parents, has a great work ethic, and always goes above and beyond. His current supervising pastor, Rev. Sarah Wilcox, described him as having a warm “teddy bear” personality. Chris’ foster agency supervisor describes him as “the best trainer of parents I’ve ever seen.”
Chris has a vision and passion for working holistically with our families. He says, “I really enjoy creating programs that help families to live and talk about their faith in the home setting as well as at church. I believe it is important for the family to walk out their faith together instead of in isolation. I enjoy loving on families and helping them work through things together.”
Chris is excited about helping LifeJourney create an intentional strategy for how to support and grow the souls of our children from cradle to graduation, and weave that together with equipping and supporting our parents. We can’t wait till Chris begins on April 1 – Easter Sunday morning!