Sitting down with Pastor Chris Griffin, one thing is certain: He doesn’t need that Grande Pike Place Roast he just ordered from Starbucks—the man has a naturally high energy level on his own. However, sitting down for a midday cup of coffee is a regular occurrence for Chris. In fact, he’s met 1,004 people for coffee since he became the volunteer men’s pastor at the Gateway Frisco Campus in October 2014.
“I’m on a mission to meet every man in Frisco,” he says. It seems like a ridiculous goal upon first hearing it. After all, there are more than 1,700 men who attend the Frisco Campus. But in three years’ time, he’s well past the halfway mark. “When I first started in October of 2014, I made that statement because I strongly believe that I can’t help you if I don’t know you,” he says. When asked if that statement has held up over time, he says, “It’s proven to be one thousand percent true.”
“I think meeting men one-on-one is the pathway forward because as pastors, we get to equip the saints for the work of the ministry,” he says. “There are different saints with different gifts, different callings, and different talents. How will I know what their gifts and callings are unless I meet with them?”
Chris approaches each meeting with an open mind, but his end goal is to find a way to help each man. Often, that involves direct ministry into the most challenging areas of a man’s life. But most of the time that looks like finding a place for them to become more involved in the Gateway Church community. And if you have a talent or gift, chances are Chris is going to help you find a way to use it to further the kingdom of God through Gateway. He’s had a passion for helping people find their place since before he was the Frisco men’s pastor. “When I was a deacon, I had this huge group of people on the greeter team,” he says. “And I would constantly tell them, ‘I can’t wait until you guys leave!’ One of my greatest joys was taking somebody off my team and putting them into the ministry they were truly called to. I love helping people find their callings.”
Since he started his coffee initiative, Chris has been able to put nearly 300 men into volunteer and leadership roles at their campus as well as put 200 men into classes and support groups that will grow their relationships with Christ and help them through their struggles. What makes Chris’s initiative even more impressive is that he does it all while running two successful alternative-energy businesses, pastoring at the Frisco Campus, and still making time for his wife and daughter. Maybe he does need that coffee after all.
Early last year, something interesting happened. Twenty-five men in a row asked Chris the same question: “How can I get involved with helping the next generation?” At first he didn’t think much about the question, but after so many men expressed the same interest in helping with Gateway Students, Chris realized God was doing something special. He worked with the Gateway Students team to create an opportunity for these men, and it proved to be a big hit. “We simply created a group called Gateway Students Dads,” he says. “They just show up on Wednesday nights and support the leaders and students. When they’re there, they don’t say a word until approached by a student. Within three weeks, kids were approaching them for prayer and fatherly advice on anything from their challenges at home to asking a girl to a dance. God is speaking to these men, and lives are being changed. I love it!” So far, 39 men are serving as Gateway Students Dads.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Pastor Chris’s initiative to meet every man in Frisco is that it’s a method of ministry anyone can do. You don’t have to be a pastor to set up a coffee meeting with someone. Maybe you have a neighbor or coworker you’ve been wanting to get to know. Doing ministry can be as simple as meeting for an hour and paying for a cup of coffee. “I get guys who come up to me all the time and say, ‘I had coffee with this guy the other day,’” says Chris. “I ask, ‘How’d it go? What did you learn? What’s one thought the Holy Spirit gave you as you walked away?’”
He believes that if you’re a Christian, you’re in the ministry and encourages you to connect with people around you, whether you’re a pastor or not. “Wherever you are, just do the ministry,” he says. “You don’t need the title. You don’t need to be on staff at a church. Just get out there and love the people around you. I can promise you that God moves when you do!”