- Bro. Chris’
1995 – 2000
- Music Ministry
Saved by Grace
2000 – 2005
- Internet Ministry
Saved by Grace Ministries
2003 – Present (Part I)
- Internet Ministry
Saved by Grace Ministries
2003 – Present (Part II)
- Non-Profit Ministry
Saved by Grace, Inc.
2013 – 2018
- Internet Ministry
Saved by Grace Ministries
Present – James 4:13-15
Bro. Chris’ “Woodshed” Experience
Bro. Chris and his wife Stefanie moved from suburban Federal Way, Washington, to rural Maben, Mississippi, in Spring 2000, to live on sixty-five (65) acres of timberland he had purchased in Summer 1992. The land had very sentimental value to Bro. Chris being that it was his family’s original home-place, settled over a century earlier by his ancestors. Although it was still owned by family members through inheritance, it had worked its way out of the Fulgham Family name until Bro. Chris successfully persuaded a couple brothers (cousins of Bro. Chris’ father, who where the current owners of the property) to sell it to him.
When Bro. Chris originally purchased the Mississippi property in 1992, his intentions were to retire there one day after a long, rewarding career in the Information Technology industry. However, God had different plans for him.
James 4:13-15 (NASB)
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
Bro. Chris did not know it; but, in the mid-90’s, God planned to take him to the “woodshed”, leading him through a series of intensifying trails and tribulations (experiences he will never forget), causing Bro. Chris to re-evaluate his life’s values and priorities. You can read Bro. Chris’ testimony about his “woodshed experience” in the following post:
The end result being, God brought Bro. Chris “home”, reset his values and priorities, and began preparing him for the ministry to which He was about to divinely call Bro. Chris into action.
“God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”
— Mark Batterson
Saved by Grace
Upon moving to Mississippi, in Spring 2000, Bro. Chris and Miss Stefanie immediately began attending Double Springs Baptist Church, which is located only a mile north, up the road from their house. The church was very familiar to Bro. Chris as he had attended it every year, since childhood, when he would spend a week attending the annual Fulgham Family Reunion. Both Bro. Chris and Miss Stefanie became very active in the church, volunteering and serving in various roles where needed.
Bro. Chris has a deep love and appreciation for music, having been raised in a musical environment all his life. His family loved to sing and play instruments; especially at the annual family reunions. His mother Ruth even had a number of bands throughout her career and life. In fact, one of her bass players gave Bro. Chris his first guitar. He learned to play and also began writing his own songs, composing original music and lyrics.
Bro. Chris loved to sing in the church choir and eventually began serving as the church’s Music Minister. He would occasionally perform specials as would other members of the church, which is where he came to appreciate the talents of Bro. David Raines. Bro. David is an exceptionally gifted guitarist and vocalist. The two began performing together and were invited to do so at other churches as well. Bro. Chris and Bro. David co-founded the gospel singing group, “Saved by Grace” and began performing specials at church on a regular basis as well as performing at church revivals in the surrounding communities.
Bro. David had a saying “Where two are good, three are better.” And it was not long before a third member, Miss Charlsie Carden, another very talented vocalist, was added to Saved by Grace. Miss Charlsie, who also sang with another group of young ladies in the church, added a certain je ne sais quoi that brought a unique harmony to the group.
In addition to music specials at Double Springs Baptist Church, the Saved by Grace gospel trio continued performing at various church revivals and special events. They love harmony and would incorporate a cappella every opportunity they could. The group would sing Traditional Hymns, Contemporary Christian and Southern Gospel songs, with Bro. Chris continuing to compose new music and lyrics as well, including:
- Before I Go, There’s Something You Should Know
- Dreaming of Salvation
- God Loves You, and There’s Nothing You Can Do About It!
- Have You Ever Wondered?
- Jesus Paid My Penalty
- My Savior’s Love
- Will You Believe?
and several others. Eventually, the gospel trio became a quartet, when Miss Charlsie’s fiancé, Bro. Larry Halford joined Saved by Grace, adding a slight Blue Grass twang that blended nicely with the group.
Saved by Grace continued to perform at Double Springs Baptist Church and other venues as Bro. Chris surrendered to God’s call upon his life to enter the Gospel Ministry in Summer 2003, and enrolled in the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary that fall, thanks to a full scholarship from Double Springs Baptist Church. Bro. Chris was licensed by the church in August 2004, and later ordained in May 2005, when he was approached by the congregation of Fentress Baptist Church, of Fentress, Mississippi, to become their Pastor. He had already been preaching there full-time since January 2005, when their original Pastor had fallen ill and passed away a couple weeks later.
Fentress is within reasonable commuting distance, so Bro. Chris and Miss Stefanie did not need to be concerned with relocating from their family property; however, with his ministry responsibilities now being redirected to a new congregation and community, Bro. Chris lacked the time and resources to properly devote to the music ministry of Saved by Grace. Bro. Larry and Miss Charlsie soon married, and although they continued to attend Double Springs Baptist Church, Bro. David moved to a nearby town attending a different church and the musical group Saved by Grace, was no more. Interestingly, a few years later, Bro. Larry eventually surrendered to God’s call upon his life to enter the Gospel Ministry also, and is now the Pastor of a church in a nearby community. He and Miss Charlsie have a son named Jacob.
Saved by Grace Ministries (Part I)
From the moment Bro. Chris rededicated his life to Jesus Christ, following his “Woodshed Experience”, in Summer 2000, he began earnestly studying his Bible to learn more about God, His Word, and His Will for our lives. Over the next three years, surrounding himself with others in his church and community, whom he respected and considered spiritual mentors, including but not limited to Rev. John Foles (the current Pastor of Double Springs Baptist Church), Bro. Doyle Reed (a relative of Bro. Chris’ and a Deacon of the church), Rev. Joe Shurden (a member of Double Springs Baptist Church), and various other Deacons, Sunday School teachers and Discipleship Training teachers, Bro. Chris began to delve even deeper into God’s Word in search of His Truth and Divine Wisdom. As he did so, and as he himself began to grow more mature spiritually, Bro. Chris felt an ever increasing call upon his life to enter the Gospel Ministry. However, he struggled with this call; because, he could not reconcile in his mind how to balance the responsibilities of such an undertaking with his current career as an Information Technology Manager for a company in a nearby town. After all, he needed to support his family, and he did not see how he could perform both functions, giving them each the attention they required and deserved. Bro. Chris continued to give priority to his career and ignore the call that was persistently on his heart and mind.
As with Bro. Chris’ “Woodshed Experience” only three years prior, God’s patience for Bro. Chris’ to have faith, trust in Him, and put Him first, had its limits. God decided to make the choice a little easier for Bro. Chris. The parent company of the company which employed Bro. Chris declared bankruptcy. Bro. Chris’ employer survived the bankruptcy; but, only by downsizing by over fifty percent (50%), which included the elimination of Bro. Chris’ IT Manager position. Strangely, Bro. Chris felt an inexplicable peace despite his new circumstances.
Philippians 4:4-7 (NASB)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Even so, Bro. Chris continued to struggle with God’s call upon his life, feeling that his first priority should be to seek new employment in his experienced career field in order to continue supporting his family. However, as with his recent termination, God closed every window and every door and despite his numerous years of experience and proven accomplishments, Bro. Chris could find no opportunities available to him. In an effort to ease the burden and pressure of the ever-increasing call he was feeling to enter the Gospel Ministry, Bro. Chris decided to put his IT talents to good use and construct and produce a website on the Internet for the purpose of sharing the Truth of God’s Word and the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, with the world. Borrowing from the name of his music ministry, Saved by Grace, Bro. Chris decided to call the ministry Saved by Grace Ministries and in April 2003, the ministry website went online. The initial layout/format remained virtually the same through 2005.
With Saved by Grace Ministries now online, Bro. Chris expected his circumstances to change; but, they did not. While he felt better about beginning the ministry, God was still not opening any windows or doors to opportunities in the Information Technology field nor was He letting up on the pressure Bro. Chris was feeling in his heart and mind to enter the Gospel Ministry. One afternoon in Summer 2003, Bro. Chris and Miss Stefanie traveled seventy-five (75) minutes to the neighboring town of Tupelo to visit a friend who was in the hospital. On the trip back home, Bro. Chris shared with Miss Stefanie the increasing struggle he had been experiencing over the past few years, a struggle he had kept to himself until that moment. He expected… he hoped… she would justify his reasoning for continuing to seek employment in the IT field. After all, Bro. Chris’ responsibility was to support his family. Instead, to his surprise, without any hesitation or reservation, she immediately responded, “If that is what God is calling you to do, that is what you should do”. They continued to discuss the matter on the way home, including the fact that Bro. Chris felt if he was going to commit to God’s call upon his life, he would need the proper training and should look into the requirements for attending Seminary.
Before arriving at home, Bro. Chris and Miss Stefanie stopped by their Pastor’s home across from the church. Rev. John Foles, the Pastor of Double Springs Baptist Church at that time, was currently attending Seminary and Bro. Chris felt he would be the perfect source for confessing his longstanding struggle, his and Miss Stefanie’s conversation, his decision to finally surrender to God’s call upon his life, and his belief that God’s call required him to be formally trained in the study of His Word and the Ministry of His children. Bro. John was not surprised to receive this news as he had witnessed Bro. Chris’ growth spiritually and his active participation in the church, including teaching Discipleship Training to Young Adults, serving as President of the Men’s Ministry, and also serving as the church’s Music Minister. He discussed options with Bro. Chris on attending Seminary and who to contact at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he was enrolled in the Masters program, for more information. Bro. John prayed with Bro. Chris and Miss Stefanie. Bro. Chris and Miss Stefanie returned home and Bro. Chris had the first truly peaceful night’s sleep he had experienced in years.
Saved by Grace Ministries (Part II)
Bro. Chris contacted New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and stepping out on faith, trusting in God’s provision, he applied for admission… unemployed… no income… without any idea how he would pay tuition. As with Bro. Chris’ job when he first moved to Mississippi, God was waiting for him to respond in faithful obedience before showing what He had planned for Bro. Chris. A couple weeks later, at the church’s next monthly Business Meeting, Bro. Chris was surprised when he was asked to step outside for a moment during the meeting. This was very unusual, as he had never been asked to leave a Church Business Meeting before and he felt a little unsure of himself to say the least. Moments later, church members began filing out of the church as the meeting had concluded. His curiosity now peaked, Bro. Chris approached Bro. John to ask him what had taken place? Had he done anything wrong? Bro. John smiled his trademark smile and replied, “I’m sorry Bro. Chris, we meant to call you back in but the meeting ended so quickly we forgot. Nothing is wrong. The church took a vote and agreed to pay your tuition for Seminary. Congratulations!” Bro. Chris was in shock. Double Springs Baptist Church had voted to award him a full scholarship to attend New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary! God acts and provides for those who respond to Him in faithful obedience!
Psalm 37:5 (ESV)
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
As Bro. Chris began his Seminary training in Fall 2003, he continued to serve in various capacities within Double Springs Baptist Church, as well as develop and maintain Saved by Grace Ministries, reaching the world for Christ, through the technology of the Internet. Bro. Chris begin receiving numerous opportunities and requests to preach God’s Word at Double Springs Baptist Church and churches in neighboring communities. As a result, in Fall 2004 Double Springs Baptist Church licensed Bro. Chris for the Gospel Ministry. Bro. Chris continued to grow and mature spiritually through his Seminary training, personal study of God’s Word, and mentoring from Bro. John, Bro. Doyle, Bro. Joe, and others. He also continued sharing the Truth of God’s Word and the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, through Saved by Grace Ministries, and accepting opportunities to preach whenever available. In Spring 2005, Bro. Chris was ordained for the Gospel Ministry by Double Springs Baptist Church, when he received the call from Fentress Baptist Church to become their new Pastor.
Bro. Chris had been preaching at Fentress Baptist Church since January 2005, when their Pastor had fallen ill and passed away a couple weeks later. After preaching there a number of months, the church approached him the Sunday prior to Easter 2005, asking if he would consider taking on the role permanently and becoming their new Pastor. Bro. Chris and Miss Stefanie prayed about the offer; but, knew in their hearts that God was calling Bro. Chris to take the next step, leave Double Springs Baptist Church, and begin pastoring their new church family at Fentress. Bro. Chris contacted the Chairman of the Deacons of Fentress Baptist Church, informed him of his willingness to accept their call, and Easter Sunday 2005, Bro. Chris preached his first sermon as the new Pastor of the church. As mentioned above, Bro. Chris was officially ordained on May 1, 2005, by Double Springs Baptist Church, with the congregation of Fentress Baptist Church in attendance.
With Bro. Chris’ departure from Double Springs Baptist Church and his new responsibilities at Fentress Baptist Church, he no longer had the time or resources to properly devote to the music ministry of Saved by Grace and the gospel quartet disbanded as the other members also had diverging paths to follow. Bro. Chris continued to maintain the Internet ministry however and Saved by Grace Ministries flourished, logging thousands of website visitors each month. Bro. Chris continued his studies at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry with an emphasis in Biblical Studies, thanks to the continued full scholarship being generously supplied by Double Springs Baptist Church, despite his transfer to Fentress.
Saved by Grace, Inc.
Saved by Grace Ministries