Director of Children’s Ministry (Confirmation & 56)
When Rev. Chris McLain, the church’s Director of Children’s Ministry (56 and Confirmation), first decided it was time to move on from his position as a youth minister in Shreveport, Louisiana, he contacted two people. One of those was Harvest Lead Pastor Mark Sorensen.
After listing out his resume, Chris, an ordained deacon, made a peculiar statement that resonated with Mark.
“I told him that when I vest, I feel like a Gospel Jedi,” Chris says in reference to the fact that, as a deacon, he wears a flax-colored alb, which somewhat resembles a Jedi’s robe, as well as a sash across his body instead of a stole around his neck. For anyone who knows Mark’s love of Star Wars, it should come as no surprise that he took a liking to Chris and proceeded to fill him in on the church’s search for a new Director of Confirmation. Two months later, Chris came on staff.
Since being hired to oversee fifth and sixth grades and Confirmation, he has been promoted to Director of Children’s Ministry, a role that means he now oversees the ministry’s administrative wing and larger production events such as Christmas and Easter Eve family services. He also took on the role of Charter Representative for scouting programs meeting at our church.
He describes himself as “both playful and serious,” a fact evidenced by the John Wesley bobblehead on his desk. He believes this combination is perfect for leading kids on the verge of adolescence.
“Sixth graders are amazing because they are playful in that they’re children, but their minds are starting to move towards grown-up things,” he says.
Chris felt called to ministry at an early age and followed that path to Centenary College in Shreveport and eventually to the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
For the past 15 years, Chris has been involved in children’s or youth ministry in one shape or another. He has a special passion for teaching confirmation, which he describes as the telling of two stories: who we are as Christians and who we are as United Methodists. To him, it’s a time to lay out the basic facts of the Christian tradition and to walk students through the journey of making the decision to follow Jesus in a “non-invasive, non-guilt-laden way.”
“In nine months, we want to lovingly tell the story of Jesus to your student,” Chris says. “We want to create a safe place for them to be able to ask questions, raise their insecurities, for them to struggle and cry and worry and pray next to other people their age that are struggling and crying and praying about some of the same things.”
While many reference this age group as the “church of tomorrow,” Chris is of a different opinion.
“We want to let our students know that they are the church of today, that the decisions they make matter, that Jesus Christ comes and does a salvific work so that you and I can know eternal life,” he says. “And that we want them to own that. We want them to know that they can say yes to Jesus, and that that is separate from their parents.”
Chris is married to Skye and has a son, Jett.