General Ministry
Chris Schaffner

Chris is a CADC certified counselor working with chemically dependent persons and those with co-occurring disorders. Chris has worked in the field for 7 years and has worked with children and teens for over 15 years. Chris is also the coordinator for The Shelter, a ministry of Group Publishing that provides support to children’s and youth workers from around the world. He has worked with individuals of all ages who struggle with addiction, abuse histories, self injury, depression and suicide. Chris has provided training locally on suicide assessment and on working with the LGBTQ population. Chris provides training at SYMC, KidMin, UYWI, Operation Snowball events, Chicago HOPES and Access Living, CCDA Annual Conference, OtraOnda Dimension Juvenil Conference, has taught parenting and Anger Management classes, and teaches a community-based series called ‘Coping With…” that equips adolescent with life management skills. Chris lives in Central Illinois and is married to Trudy. They have 4 kids; Blake, Charley Grace, and the twins Claire and Chloe.

These then are the tools of the spiritual craft.  When we have used them without ceasing, day and night…our wages will be what the Lord has promised.”

-The Rule of St. Benedict

As I leave for work every morning I typically stop by the local gas station for my morning fuel; a 32oz. Coke and a sausage and egg croissant. It’s the breakfast of champions.  I live in a small rural community and like to drive through downtown on my way to work to see my small community waking up and coming to life.  There’s something very Rockwellian about it.

imagesCAY3QKKHOn the 30-minute drive, I pass through several smaller and larger towns and I always see three specific groups of people gathering together for prayer. They were there this morning and will likely be there again tomorrow morning.  These three groups are all distinct but have much in common; they are disciplined to start their day prostrate before the Lord.

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The first group I see are gathered at the local community center, Common Ground, an ecumenical gathering place for people of various denominations.  There is a small group of the faithful that start their morning gathering together to read through a chapter of the bible and pray.  I see them through the window with the heads bowed down deep in prayer and bibles open. They look sincere and devoted.

The second group I see is in a neighboring town. Morning Mass is letting out about the time I’m passing through.  Mothers and their children are in abundance as they leave with to start their day.  The moms are talking with each other while trying to keep the kids from wandering out into the street and into oncoming traffic.

As I arrive in the city, I pass a larger mega-church and see the third group of people getting into their cars and preparing to leave as well.  I know nothing about this group of people other than the fact that they just finished some kind of corporate experience centered on a Jew from Nazareth.womenpraying

It dawns on me that each group is focused on the same ancient scriptures and are connected together in prayer to the same God, and suddenly, I feel overwhelmed.  I’m overwhelmed with the idea that there are likely many more groups like this around the world, that I am part of something much larger and more potent than my measly prayer life. It is so good for me to be reminded of this. Doubt tries to convince me that I am alone on this and that no one else really takes this seriously. 

It is good for my soul to be reminded that we are all connected through the Christ that my faith does not exist in isolation. It is the hope he offers, the healing, and the promise of restoration that is in Him that we globally order our lives around.

May you be aware of your blessed connectedness to all the Saints everywhere and know that you are not alone…


Coordinator of The Shelter at Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2014 (Don’t forget! Tomorrow, Jan. 15, is the last day for advanced registration…sign up now!)


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