My grandfather, Pastor Holbrooks, was the second pastor of the First Baptist Church in Cullman back in the late 1800s. So my spiritual heritage in this town is rich and long standing.”Chris Harrison, Lead Pastor of Church212
CULLMAN – Church212 is a new-generation church that connects its congregation to God's dream of restoring people, igniting their passion and revealing His purpose for them. The young church is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to its growing congregation and guidance of Chris Harrison, the church’s lead pastor.
Harrison and his wife Heather married 19 years ago and parents to three girls: Anna Marie, 17; Natalie, 15; and Melody, 11.
Harrison graduated from Vinemont High School and later went to Synergy Bible College where he earned his degree in ministry.
“I grew up in Cullman where my father, Dr. Mike Harrison, was the pastor of Agape Church for 19 years,” he explained. “My grandfather, Pastor Holbrooks, was the second pastor of the First Baptist Church in Cullman back in the late 1800s. So my spiritual heritage in this town is rich and long-standing,” he smiled warmly.
“I have always known that I would be a preacher,” he continued. “I had a dream at the age of five that set me on a path to ministry. In the dream, Jesus was swinging me in a swing and telling me Bible stories. It was a reoccurring dream, but the last time I had the dream, He told me that I would teach others the gospel,” he chuckled.
Just like his father and grandfather, Harrison was born to preach and has been doing it most of his life.
“As a young man I told my parents to buy me a suit because I was going to be a preacher,” he chuckled.
“I would preach to my sisters, to the neighbors, to the cows in the pasture beside my house and to anything that moved or breathed – all of this before the age of seven! At age 15, I officially answered the call to preach and delivered my first sermon at my dad’s church on a Sunday night. I have never stopped since and that was almost 23 years ago. I went full time in ministry in 1996 at age 18.”
After helping establish Church212 of California six years ago, Harrison moved back to his hometown and soon found himself developing Church212 of Cullman.
“When I would visit Cullman I was alarmed at how many people my age and younger that were not attending church anywhere,” he said in astonishment.
“I had been all over the world, preaching in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Philippines, Korea and other places, but my heart just couldn’t get away from this wonderful town. I pastored a church in Guntersville and another one in Sylacauga, but it just never felt like home. The seed for Church212 of Cullman was planted in September of 2014 and is quickly growing by leaps and bounds, especially with the younger generation.”
When Harrison speaks, the Lord's words flow through him. With his infectious disposition, it is no wonder why his small church continues to grow.
“Church212 has a mission of restoring people that many would not even want in their church,” he explained. “We are a place that believes grace changes everything. If you show unconditional love to people rather than bash them for their sin, they will want to change on their own,” he smiled.
“We don’t spend any time making people feel bad about what they do; they feel bad enough on their own. We focus on telling people how God sees them. His thoughts about them are always good. He’s not angry. He’s not out to get people. He’s trying to help them, and this is our primary message. You could call us a grace church.”
Harrison has been preaching his whole life and is a tremendous blessing to his congregation at Church212. His love for God and his neighbor is second to none and radiates from within his soul.
Church212 meets at The Loft 212, located at 212 4th Street SW, Cullman, Ala. Weekly service is at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. A monthly service is held at 6 p.m. every second Sunday of the month behind Grumpy's Italian Grill.