One year before Chris Bratton became a student at Charis Bible College, he was employed as a heavy equipment operator near Dalton, Georgia. At the time, Chris led several small groups for youth and young adults at the church he attended, but the prayer in his heart revealed his desire for more. His prayers were those of a thankful man; he was thankful for his job and the ministries the Lord had opened to him. He also prayed with a servant's heart, "If You want me somewhere else, I will go wherever You want me. If there is something else, if there is more...I want more." Today Chris is far from Georgia, living his new life of more, ministering the love of God to the people of Colorado Springs.
Chris has believed in Jesus since he was a young boy, but it wasn't until spending time in jail that he truly received Jesus as his Savior. After being arrested four times in six months, on alcohol and drug related charges, Chris lost his driving privileges for five years and spent a month-and-a-half in jail. While incarcerated, he turned to Jesus and asked Him to help him overcome his struggles with substance abuse. "Every day since opening my heart and surrendering my life, I know His presence has never left me. He has been with me every moment since that day," said Chris.
After his release from jail, Chris began visiting a local church; there he connected with a young adult small group. His involvement with the group helped him find his place in the Body of Christ and further established his walk with the Lord. Three years later, as Chris' true identity in Christ was revealed to him, his leadership skills began to emerge and he started leading the group. Chris' style equipped those within the gathering to step forward and engage their faith; he encouraged them to have a voice and participate in the discipleship process. In addition, he began taking small numbers of people out into the streets of the local area to minister to anyone they encountered.
Through his church Chris also found a mentor, a man well acquainted with Andrew's ministry. This friendship introduced Chris to more of God's true nature. While Chris had been born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit before coming in contact with Andrew's teaching, it was Andrew's message on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that helped him understand what God was doing in, and through him.
With his new revelation, he realized that the desire for something more that had risen in his heart was from God. He spent significant time praying his prayer, "...if there's more...I want more..." and things began to change. "Things started shifting, and doors that were open, started closing. It was a beautiful thing. I got laid off and pulled out of the ministry I was involved in. I never questioned what the Lord was doing—I knew in my spirit greater things were coming," recalled Chris.
Chris' mentor mentioned CBC, and suggested Chris check out the school's website. The first time he visited the site, he sensed the Lord leading him to attend. Every time he went to the site, the Holy Spirit seemed to flood his body, and he began to consider moving to Colorado. While still contemplating the move, Chris and some friends attended Andrew's 2010 Gospel Truth Seminar in Atlanta. At the GTS, one of Chris' friends paid for his registration to attend CBC.
Two years at Charis further solidified Chris' relationship with the Lord and fueled his growing passion for street ministry. "The Word that was planted during my first year amplified the way I was able to communicate with people," said Chris. The Lord used Isaiah 61:1 to quicken Chris' spirit and call him into ministry. "This verse has come alive in me and given me a heart for people. I was a drug addict for ten years, and I have been released. Now I can release others through lots of love. I get to demonstrate God's love to the world, just like Jesus," he said excitedly.
Since his graduation from CBC, Chris has taken his revelation of God's unconditional love for him, and has begun to minister to any and all who will listen. For the past several years Chris has been ministering late at night, on the weekends, in downtown Colorado Springs. Though he said he usually has a handful of Charis students with him when he heads out at 12:30 am, he will also hit the streets by himself if the Lord leads him to do so. Whether he goes with a team or without, Chris normally ministers for several hours before calling it a night—or morning. Chris said he and his teams are usually well received by the late-night crowd, and that they see many hearts and bodies healed through their ministry. As he meets people on the street, he is aware that they are not encountering Chris' own intellect, knowledge or opinion, but rather Christ operating in and through him. "They are encountering Jesus, face-to-face, and that's what captures the human heart—it is the love of God that leads them to repentance and relationship."
Chris has also hooked up with a growing body of believers in Colorado Springs called, Pulse, a ministry founded by fellow CBC graduate Justin Knapp. Today, Chris serves as the Small Groups and Outreach Pastor for the predominantly twenty-something's gathering. His groups, shaped by his call to street ministry, are preparing to operate as evangelism outreach teams. Chris' vision includes multiple teams serving the community throughout the week, in addition to the late-night out reach currently happening on the weekends.
Chris said, "I used to make money for a living and do ministry on the side. Now my primary focus is meeting with people and sharing the love of Christ. I sow into people, people sow into me and God brings the increase. Thank you CBC for putting God first and for equipping the saints for the ministry the Father has for each of His children."