Born and raised in Central Illinois in the heart of corn and soybean country, Chris graduated from Arthur High School in 1980. Chris’ life in the small, rural town of Arthur, Illinois centered around family, friends, creativity, and athletics. But, one of Chris’ most unique past-times involved setting off firecrackers underneath the Amish horse and buggies that would frequent his home town! Always imagining and building something, Chris intended on a career in Architecture, only to come to Nashville for college, and "getting bit" by the Nashville Music Industry. After studying Music Business at Belmont University, Chris launchaed into what would become a 30- year successful career in Producing, Songwriting, Publishing and Artist Development, representing music by such artists as the Beatles, Elton John, Amy Grant, Third Day and Unspoken. But in 1997, Chris felt a deep inspiration to walk away from it all to build something new. Chris thought it was a company, but of course, it was a church. Eastgate Creative Christian Fellowship was birthed in his and Laura's living room in Dec. 2004.
It was during those 2,872 days between 1997 & 2004 on the journey away from corporate music life to pastoring that Chris Smith really became Chris Smith. He had to rely heavily upon his faith and his creativity and talents as a builder to support his wife and six kids, while journeying into a re-discovery of God’s purpose for his life. Could the fiery trials of reinvention be payback for throwing fire-crackers at those Amish Buggies? He couldn't keep a car in the driveway? Couldn’t keep the electricity on in the house? No running water in the house? God has a sense of humor, but he and Laura learned during that season that a simpler life, dependent upon God, was a life of joy and peace.
Over the last 20 years, Chris has been ordained in the local church as a Deacon, then as an Elder and currently as a Pastor, giving him a unique equipping to oversee every aspect of God's house both governmentally and pastorally. He has been married to Laura since 1984, and they have six children, Jessica, Julian, Jhason, Jeorgi, Jude, and Jenesis. They currently have twelve Grandchildren and are anticipating more from this fruitful clan!
What quality/trait do you admire most?
Selfishness and egos.
Most traumatic experience:
Drinking bleach when I was 4 years old and having to have my stomach pumped.
Some of your biggest mistakes:
Lining up in front of a high school football teammate (275 pounds) as a 95 pound freshman for lineman drills. Shooting bottle rockets at the Police Station at 2am with a buddy the night after High School graduation. You can guess the outcome......
Favourite Vacation Spot:
London...(are your bags packed, Babe?)
Pastoring God's people.
Favourite TV shows, Books or Movies:
TV: NFL Football & Fox News
Books: Bible, Mere Christianity, Tale Of Three Kings
Movie: Count Of Monte Christo-2002.
Writing, playing guitar, building stuff, traveling.
Bob Dylan, John Mellancamp, Bruce Springstein, Coldplay, Bruce Coburn.
Pizza, Curry Chicken, Ham & Swiss Sandwiches, anything chocolate.