Chris Green is the vicar St James, Muswell Hill, a vibrant church in North London. Before that, he was on the staff at Oak Hill Theological College, a seminary in North London, teaching, preaching, church leadership, church planting and ministry. He is a Church of England minister, and has been involved in leading four churches. Chris has written several books, and has most recently published is Assemble the People Before me: The Message of the Church. His next book, Cutting to the Heart Applying the Bible to the work of Applying the Bible will launch in Summer 2015. Chris is a graduate of Edinburgh University.
The real story
I was born on the edge of South London, in Ashtead, Surrey, in 1958 and I grew up in a loving and stable family. I was taken regularly to church, and fortunately it was one with a brilliant children’s and youth work. I honestly can’t remember when I became a Christian, but I do remember standing by a bus stop on a rainy November afternoon, and I was late for going away on a youth group weekend; I decided that I would become a Christian then and there, if God would provide me with a bus! I prayed a prayer, opened my eyes and a bus pulled up. I do not recommend that as a pattern.
An active church youth group meant I went on camps and had opportunities to give talks, and eventually people began to suggest I should head for fully-time ministry. No-one at the school or church gave me any guidance at this point, so I ended up studying Divinity at New College, Edinburgh; at that time it was one of the most theologically solid universities in the UK although I didn’t know it, and I had a brilliant foundation for future ministry. God was very kind to an innocent 18-year old!
I was also looking at being ordained in the Church of England, and after a brief stay at Cranmer Hall, Durham, I was ordained in 1983 and worked in Christ Church, Virginia water, and then Christ Church, Bromley.
But back in Edinburgh, my flatmate Phil Edwards had persuaded me to come to the Christian summer camp he went to, and I came under the influence of the brilliant Andrew Cornes. Under him I learnt to study the Bible for myself, to explain it to others, to lead Bible studies – and above all, to put Christ first in everything. Those years under Andrew’s wings were the most formative of anything I have done.
The second most formative was a placement in Tennessee in a Southern Baptist Church, which introduced me to a seriousness and focus to the task of church leadership I had not encountered before. I still learn loads from our American sisters and brothers.
At the end of my contract in Bromley I couldn’t find the right church to move to, so I went instead to work for a year with Dick Lucas at the Proclamation Trust in London. I had two roles. One was to help teach on the first year of the Cornhill Training Course, and this introduced me to the role of training future preachers that has become such a major theme of my ministry. The other was to help Dick finish The Bible Speaks Today on 2 Peter and Jude, and this introduced me the idea of writing Christian books, which is another major slice of my ministry.
I then spent a happy eight years in Surbiton, minister at Emmanuel Church, Tolworth, where we had great experiences in ministry, and I married Sharon – and now with two great boys.
We moved to Oak Hill in 2000, to be David Peterson’s Vice Principal, and now Mike Ovey’s. It is a wonderful thrill to see each year successive generations of young men and women heading into ministry with hearts on fire for Christ and a passion to see a world won for him.
And now we’ve reached a new phase of life and ministry, back into church life again in busy North London, St James, Muswell Hill. Join us one Sunday!