Check out our interview with pastor, businessman, and author Dr. Christopher Chappell. He talks about what inspired him to become a pastor, advice to black men and how people can live to win.
What inspired you to become a pastor?
Becoming a pastor was never my ambition in life. My father was a preacher and pastor, though many would lay claim that I too, would become a preacher and pastor, I fought to live contrary to that lifestyle. I was determined to prove this would never be my story. My desire was to fulfill my life as a businessman and to make millions. The day came while I was riding on I-285 in Atlanta, passing the Peachtree Industrial exit and a quiet voice spoke. That’s when I recognized it was my time to accept this call as a preacher. My response was yes, and my speech to my wife was, “I don’t want to be a pastor, but I will use my preaching to enhance my music ministry.” While in seminary school I remember being in church and having a desire to see people live life to their fullest potential through the abundance of life that comes through Jesus Christ. I told one of my professors and his response was, “Are you sure?” His next response was, “What makes you so sure?” I then repeated my desire and call to see people live victoriously and prosperously. The next week, my professor brought me a list of churches and non-profits that were looking for pastors and needless to say the rest is history.
In the current political state of the country, what advice do you give minority men to fight for change?
The advice I give to minority men is that what we are facing is nothing new. Reflecting on our history of being suppressed, forced to learn without books, forced to live under substandard conditions of job opportunities, and less than pay in many times been the norm. The difference between then and now is simply the mindset. I watched men growing up who had less education, money, and opportunities do more in life. African-American men were proud of their heritage and they knew that in order to rise up they would have to move from ordinary to extraordinary. They were determined to succeed and recognized that failure was not an option. This would be my word of advice to minority men today; we must live life with purpose. Purpose goes beyond success but is found in living life with significance. How am I making the people around me and in my community better? Secondly, you must pursue your purpose with passion. I find many men live life with a sense of entitlement, but you never get what you earn, you only get what you are willing to work and fight for. Lastly, you must have a plan. Ninety-seven percent of all people work for the three percent of people who plan. When you wake up in the morning you must work your plan. Failure to plan is a plan to fail. I am often asked what is it that drives me? My response is the fear of failure drives me. There are many days I am fatigued, mentally and physically challenged, but my plan in pursuit of my purpose will not allow me to take a day off. Though you may sleep or even rest, your vision and purpose never take a day off. It’s not that I am so demanding, but my purpose is demanding of me 24/7.
A lot of people are familiar with you due to Unifest, can you explain that event?
Unifest was designed to bring together the business community, religious, government, and entertainment industry to bridge relations that would bridge our cultural and ethnic differences. The event featured national gospel recording artists during a time that was usually set aside for Caucasians only at the North Georgia State Fair. Unifest required that government agencies, the business and religious community and entertainment industry deliberately pool resources and create one big rainbow of people. Regardless, to the color of your skin, your economic or social background these 21 days brought everyone together as one big melting pot and made a difference in the lives of people.
In 2014, your second book, Living To Win won the Xulon Press Authors Award. What three things can people do to live to win?
The book, Living to Win is designed to encourage the reader to understand the principles and strategies to winning. There are many people that we work with, attend school, and even attend church with that live defeated. As creatures of God’s creation, we were never designed as defeated beings but created as victors. There are three things you can do to win. The first thing you must do is “escape from excuses.” Meaning all the reasons why you are not farther along in life. I often tell the story of a man who sat at the pool of Bethesda in the bible for 38 years. His excuse was “I have nobody to help me into the pool.” I have a quick side note, I have been to this pool in Israel four times. The steps are so steep that the tour guide always warns me, to please be careful. I say that for this reason, the man’s excuse kept him down for 38 years. He could have easily slid down the stairs, rolled down, or even scooted. The moral of this moment is, “stop asking people to do for you, what you can do for yourself.”
The second thing you can do to win is to be willing to fight for more. Many of us believe we deserve more, but it is the attitude of a winner, that makes a winner. In my ball playing days, my mindset was, it didn’t matter how big or how fast my opponent, I didn’t hope I would win or I think I can win, but I know I will win. The attitude of a winner is its not over until I win. I refuse to allow life to leave me in my cemented condition. Lastly, for time sake, you must be excited about your future. I am excited every time I go to the airport because I see planes taking off and landing. That’s how I view life, I see others taking off on their dreams and landing to their desired destinations. I get up every morning thinking this just might be the day that I soar to the top and achieve my goal. I am excited about my future regardless of what my scoreboard may say, and I minimize my contradictions with winning as the predetermined objective.
Your latest book is titled “Family The Way God Intended”. Can you give us a brief synopsis of your latest literary work?
Family is the origin of all existence, as we know. Family is also God’s idea, as the family goes, so does society. In order for society to do well, we need the family to do well. This in mind this book was penned to inspire other families to work and to become better, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Your family represents the Kingdom of God, strong and prosperous. Your family can overcome every obstacle and dysfunctional trait even as my family. The publishers tried to get me to change the cover, but my response was the cover tells a story. The cover shows a family loving, laughing and living. This cover represents the shift from division and hurt. What was once was no longer exist. This is Family the Way God Intended filled with joy and peace, as God is the source and finisher of our faith.
You go on the road to speak at mega churches, seminars, and conference. What are some of the topics that you speak on?
My message is that of hope and inspiration. I love to speak on 10 Biblical things for success and how to connect to the right people to fulfill your destiny. I enjoy speaking on how to launch your dreams, “cleared for takeoff,” my latest book, is being edited as we speak. The whole concept is that with the right conditions and with a deliberate set of actions, we launch the dynamics of principles that produce a predetermined outcome.
What do you believe is the number reason why families are broken up in 2017?
This doesn’t require a deep answer or lengthy statement. I stated it earlier; God must be the foundation of the home. I am not so concerned about God being out of school. God got out of school when he got out of our homes. As long as there are mortgages, power bills, insurance needs, food needs, tests to be taken, tuitions to be paid we need God. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states, “If my people that are called by name would humble themselves and pray, seek face and turn from their wicked ways, then will we hear from heaven, and he will heal our land.” Get God back in the family, and then we can have a better country, with better schools, better communities, better government and better churches.
You are currently the project leader for a multi-million dollar expansion of Grace Community Christian Church. Why is it important for you to continue to grow the church congregation?
It is important to build this structure, not for the sake of brick and mortar but purposing the building for people. It becomes a tool to introduce people to Jesus through business workshops, financial seminars, training leaders from around the world, equipping families and empowering millennia’s. The world system has no issue with growing. If a CEO doesn’t grow the corporation he/she is fired. If I don’t work to grow the brand of the Kingdom, I stand at risk of being fired by God. There is a parable in the bible, Matthew 25 that talks about the steward. His master entrusted him with his properties and he was expected to make it grow. It is important that I understand God has entrusted me with his people, and as one of his stewards, my assignment is to grow people spiritually and numerically. As a pastor, I should not be criticized for what it takes to do business for the Kingdom. In every business arena, it takes money, whether casino, sports, business, or government, so how is the church immune? The aforementioned entities are growing if the church doesn’t expand its technology base, reachability, and facilities we cannot compete in this 21st century. People have many opportunities striving for their attention the church should be the first option.
What advice would you give anyone who is interested in becoming a Pastor?
First, make sure you answered the right call and that your motives are pure. Just because you are a good mechanic doesn’t mean you should open a repair shop. WOW, I can’t believe I just said that. I say that for this reason, just because you are a preacher doesn’t mean you should be a pastor. Secondly, recognize you must be willing to put everything you have on the line for the sake of the gospel. There is a passage of scripture that states, No man has forsaking houses or land for the sake of the gospel that he doesn’t gain a hundredfold in this life and in the life to come, and with this persecution. No one is ever critical of a rapper, athlete, businessman that prospers. Pastors are often criticized for having wealth. Side note you don’t have to take an oath of poverty to be poor, just be poor! I must add this disclaimer “never go into business to make money.” You go into business to provide a quality of service and money will come. Don’t go into pastoring for money because you will forgo righteousness for the cost of a dollar. Lastly, you must be willing to suffer through loneliness, brokenness, and persecution. Pastoring can be a lonely place, because who do you speak with about your problems. You must maintain integrity while others may slander you in social media and the media without retaliation. Make sure you hear from God on this assignment.
What can we look forward to from Dr. Christopher Chappell?
Look forward to hearing from me as I am pursuing to aid ministries and churches around the world to do big business. How? By enhancing the reach of ministries and church through the power of technology and exposure. I am working to build a media brand to launch music, authors, and 21st-century spiritual leaders that will retake our place in the world. In 2020 I’ll be launching a global network that will train leaders from around the world to equip, emancipate and empower them to dominate in their different arenas.