The first thing you must know is this: Chris and Karen were content where they were. The elders recruited Chris. Chris and Karen responded to their approach. The Benjamins hope to move to Fort Smith as a part of this congregation and its staff in late October. They are working diligently toward that objective as they prepare their house in Lake Jackson, TX, to be placed on the market this week. When they arrive in Fort Smith, they plan to rent for a while.
Chris and Karen met in Razorbacks for Christ at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, as sophomores. Chris attended UA all four years. Karen spent a freshman year at Harding University and three years at UA. As a freshman, Chris participated in a mission trip to Scotland as an outreach in Razorbacks for Christ.
Though Chris graduated as an outstanding student with a degree in art, he and Karen [then married] moved to Abilene after graduation. Chris spent the next four years in the ACU graduate program acquiring a Master of Divinity degree. With that degree, he, Karen, and Wyatt moved to Russellville, AR. There he worked for three years with the West Side congregation as a campus minister at Arkansas Tech University. In late 1997 they moved to Lake Jackson, TX, where Chris has worked the past 6 years as their pulpit minister. He is close to finishing his Doctor of Ministry degree at ACU. [Classwork is finished.] In addition to his class and congregational work, Chris has served in a leadership capacity on several boards and has spoken at several lectureships.
Chris and Karen's roots are in Arkansas. Chris was introduced to the church through Center Street's bus ministry in Fayetteville. Home is Winslow, AR, where his parents live and his father is an elder. Karen's parents live in Hot Springs, AR, where she spent some of her pre-teen years and all of her teen years.
Karen is quite involved also. Besides encouraging Chris in his work and studies, she is active as a leader in women's and children's ministries [including church pre-school and women's prayer ministries]. She is primarily a homemaker for Chris, Wyatt, and Ethan.
A significant comment was made by one of his elders to one of our elders. He declared that the congregation at Lake Jackson regarded themselves to be part of the universal church. If God's purposes are better served by using Chris and Karen's talents here, God's will be done. While that congregation deeply regrets their leaving, they obviously continue to love and appreciate Chris and Karen.
The transition for the Benjamins will not be small! Keep them in your prayers and give them your encouragement. It is our blessing to have them. May we all live and work together to bless God. Help them move from love to love!
Link to other Writings of David Chadwell