One does not need to be an expert to notice that Frisco has been experiencing an economic boom over the last couple of decades. Increasingly, prestigious businesses like the Professional Golfers’ Association of America and Keurig Dr Pepper are electing to move their headquarters here. For a time, Frisco was the fastest-growing city not just in Texas, but in the entire U.S. So, it is no surprise the city has also witnessed a veritable influx of new and diverse inhabitants. According to data from 2017, around 30,800 Frisco residents –nearly one-fifth of the city’s population – were born outside of the country! Heterogeneity makes for a culturally-rich society, and it is one of myriad factors that distinguishes Frisco as a desirable destination.
Frisco resident Chris King is working hard to help “bridge the gap” between people from disparate upbringings. Mr. King is the senior pastor at North Bridge Church, a nondenominational house of worship that he and his wife, Ebony, founded in March 2017. Last year, Mr. King took his altruism a step further by creating the North Texas Bridge Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to uniting North Texas residents, regardless of background. “What we do in the North Texas Bridge Foundation is go outside of the four walls of the church and bridge gaps,” Mr. King explains. “We are going to bring people together and celebrate those people, and drive that to be our culture.”
Mr. King is originally from Houston, and he and his two brothers were raised by a single mother. As a kid, Mr. King says he adored watching cartoons like “The Jetsons.” He remembers being fascinated by the futuristic technology the fictional family had at their fingertips. So, when his fifth-grade teacher started recruiting kids for the school’s typing and computer clubs, he jumped at the chance to join. Soon, Mr. King became enamored with computer technology, and he even created his very first computer program in the fifth grade. “The world just seemed equal when we were talking about technology,” Mr. King says. “Technology did not care about how much money you had. I came from a low-income household, so it just gave me an escape.”
Aside from technology, Mr. King also loved to play basketball, football and baseball. He was so athletically gifted that when he was in college, he played on Drake University’s basketball team in Des Moines, Iowa. He remained physically active even after he graduated from school with a computer science degree. Mr. King jests that like many young adults, he felt as though he was going to live forever. So, naturally, it came as a shock after he almost died from a blood clot in his lungs when he was just 29 years old. When the doctor told Mr. King that most people with his condition do not make it out of the hospital alive, it shook him to his core. “That scared me and that spooked me,” he reveals.
Even though he was less active in the church at this point in his life, Mr. King’s faith still endured. “I did the only thing I knew to do: I prayed,” he recalls. “I asked God, ‘What do I have to do to get my life back?’ And, He said, ‘Give it to me.’” From there, Mr. King started regularly attending church again, where he and the pastor prayed for his health. And when he returned to the hospital for a follow-up visit, the doctors told him his lungs were completely blood clot-free. Mr. King says that from that moment on, he realized his life’s purpose was to spread God’s word. So, he enrolled in seminary school to obtain his master’s degree in practical theology; he knew he was destined to serve the Lord as a pastor. “I feel like my life depends on it,” Mr. King states. “And I am not speaking hyperbolically or facetiously. I am serious.”
It was not long until Mr. King experienced another divine intervention. He had gotten a job at IBM and was exiting the building one day when he crossed paths with a beautiful woman. That woman was his future wife. “It was one of those movie-type moments,” Mr. King chuckles. Mutual friends later set the two up on a date. Not only did they both work at IBM, but they also had their strong Christian faith in common. Needless to say, it was only a matter of time before the Kings were married.
Now, Mr. and Mrs. King are proud parents to three young girls, Morgan, Kristyn and Kree. They are thrilled to meet their very first son, who they will welcome to the world in June. Mr. King says they absolutely adore raising their family in Frisco because the city is in a pivotal point. “I feel like the world and the country are watching Frisco, and we have a wonderful opportunity to be an example,” he says. “The growth is unprecedented and the opportunities that our children will be afforded are just second-to-none.”
In their free time, Mr. King says he and his family like to see movies. He is partial to comedy films, but if it were up to his wife and girls, they would watch chick flicks and Disney movies every time. “’Frozen,’ ‘Frozen 2’ – if I have to see one more ‘Frozen’ I am going to scream!” Mr. King jokes.
In addition to movies, Mr. King also likes to travel with his family. Every Christmas, he and his wife take their girls to a new destination. Last year, for instance, they went to Atlanta, Ga., where they toured the Civil Rights Museum. Mr. King says he tries to make his family’s trips fun and educational. “One of the things we have to be intentional about being an African American family raising our kids in Frisco is that they are not inundated with African American culture,” he explains, adding that black residents only make up around seven percent of Frisco’s population. “We took them to Atlanta so they could be exposed to different aspects of the culture, and so they will not be necessarily ignorant about their culture, as well as others.”
As a dedicated pastor, Mr. King says he wakes up every day around 4 a.m. to work out, reflect and pray. Mr. King’s practical theology degree comes in handy when he creates his lessons. At the end of each sermon, he assigns his congregants a weekly challenge. Not only is he affording them a greater Biblical understanding of God’s word, but he is teaching them how they can apply those lessons to their own lives. “I am taking the message and making it practical and plain while I am expounding on the Biblical truths that are to be revealed,” he says. Mr. King adds that he hopes North Bridge Church, as well as the North Texas Bridge Foundation, will help unite people from various generational, socioeconomic, racial and cultural backgrounds. As far as he is concerned, it is his life’s mission to do just that. “I have known since the late 1990s that my purpose here on Earth was to bridge gaps and help bridge communities,” Mr. King says. “That is what I am here for.”
Simone Carter is a freelance journalist and avid lover of all things arts related.