Name: Chris Cleveland
Graduation Year: 2008
Major: Pastoral Ministries
Current Position: Lead Pastor
City and State: El Dorado, AR
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
My wife, Amber (’10), and I have been blessed to serve as a youth, associate pastors, and lead pastors. I now serve as the lead pastor (second pastorate), and she serves as the kids’ pastor, at El Dorado First AG. I also serve as the presbyter of Section 13, and on the District Presbytery Board of the Arkansas AG.
What is your favorite memory from CBC?
I have so many. When the Spirit of God moved in prayer at the beginning of AG History & Polity class, and it became the classroom of the Holy Spirit. Being a part of HeartSong ministry – traveling, watching the power of God move, and meeting my wife on May tour. The Chapel services and the mentorship from people such as Ron Bradley and David Arnett
How did CBC help you identify/develop your calling?
At CBC, I learned more about how to walk in true relationship with God. I learned how to study the Word of God and how to give myself time with the Lord in prayer. I learned the voice of God, which prepared me to walk with Him as I lead and minister to people. All of this came, in great ways, through the instruction and encouragement of the faculty of CBC.
How did your experience at CBC prepare you for life after graduation?
My time at CBC instilled a greater belief in God to use me in reaching people and I experienced a nearness to God that I’d never known before. I had a group of friends in ministry who I could pray with and for, and connect with to pray and dream together. I graduated with an assurance of God’s calling on my life, which keeps me grounded in moments of insecurities.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
Take advantage of all the opportunities afforded to you in college. Soak in the wisdom and truth from professors, and listen to the Word being rightly divided in Chapel. Enjoy the atmosphere of Chapel with people of like-faith, and don’t take “skips” just because you have them. Embrace the reality that God is shaping you now for what is to come — listen, learn, grow, and be prepared to lead. Don’t expect to learn everything in college. Most of all, learn to walk closely with God. He will cause you to remember the things you’re now learning and He will lead you in a wisdom, greater than your own, in the areas you feel inadequate.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire a new graduate?
I would look for someone with humility and a servant leadership style. Someone who believes in the marriage of excellence and anointing as well as the importance of the private walk with God. Also, I would look for someone who believes the vision needed for a place/ministry comes from seeking the Lord. Can one glean wisdom from others? Absolutely. But, one shouldn’t be a copycat – the same ministry components aren’t always applicable.