Ken was serving at the time as the minister of music at First Baptist Church in Gulfport, Miss. Within a matter of hours, the terrific storm destroyed that beautiful church building along with much of the Mississippi coast. More than a hundred families who were members at FBC lost everything in that storm. Most of their homes were destroyed. Ken and Chris were homeless, yet regardless of their condition, they and the other members of the staff at FBC Gulfport spent the next year helping their members and the community rebuild. Complete strangers took the Nuss family in and provided a place for them to live while they ministered to others.
One of the wonderful ways that Chris ministered to the people in Gulfport was through the Gulf Coast Community Ministries. GCCM operated a food pantry, Free Clinic, clothes ministry, homeless ministry and literacy ministry. As a licensed Christian counselor, she served people with counseling needs. She and her husband made a tremendous impact in the lives of others in the Gulfport area. In fact, Chris was honored by the state for her successful work in the area of ministry on the Gulf Coast.
Last fall, First Baptist Church was blessed to call Ken as our minister of music. We were also blessed that Chris was part of the package. One of the wonderful gifts that this couple brings here is not only an excellent ability to lead in worship but the ability to change people’s lives through Chris’ counseling ministry.
When I took the pastorate of Jasper’s First Baptist Church here in 2010, one of the first things I noticed was an absence of a licensed Christian counselor here in the county. When I needed to refer someone to a counselor, I always had to recommend them to go to Birmingham. Often that was prohibitive for many. I began to pray that God would provide a way for this need to be met. It was met with the calling of Ken and Chris to this congregation.
Recently, Chris opened a Christian counseling ministry in an office provided by the Walker Baptist Association, where she serves as a licensed counselor for the people in Jasper, Walker County and surrounding counties. Her services include individual, family and group counseling. She is a certified facilitator for Prepare-Enrich premarital and marital counseling. She brings more than 25 years of experience to this position.
On top of this ministry, she is offering through Jasper’s First Baptist Church, Grief Share. Grief Share is a support group who can help people as they struggle with loss of a loved one. This group will be led by people who understand what it is like to lose a loved one and help those who have experienced this loss recover and look forward to rebuilding their lives. This ministry will begin at Jasper’s First Baptist Church on Sunday, Oct. 13, and go through Jan. 5, 2014. The time will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and will be held in Room F-209A.
Even though the counseling ministry operates out of the Walker Baptist Association, it is open to anyone who has a need for counseling. It is not limited to any one group of churches or any denomination.
Chris can be contacted either by email or by phone. Her phone number is (205) 300-4857 and her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Her office address is Walker Baptist Association, 230 N. Walston Bridge Road, Jasper, AL 35504.
My prayer for our area is that we can grow healthier physically, emotionally and spiritually. This ministry can help people achieve this in their lives. After all, healthy families equal a healthy community. That’s what we should strive for in Jasper and the surrounding areas.
Dr. Dennis R. Culbreth is the senior pastor at Jasper’s First Baptist Church www.jaspersfbc.org