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The Rob Skinner Podcast: Helping You Make This Life Count

May 5, 2021

Today on episode 96,  I’m going to talk to Gary and Chris Simmons in Fresno, California.  Gary and Chris have served as bi-vocational leaders of the Central Valley Church of Christ since 2000.  In this episode they share:

  • How they’ve been able to serve as “tentmakers” for nearly 14 years.
  • How they bought a massive church campus for $1
  • The power of staying in one place for a long time
  • Their plans to start a new church planting next year

All this and more on the Rob Skinner Podcast!


More about Gary and Chris:

Gary and Chris Simmons have served as the lead ministry couple of the Central Valley Church of Christ in Fresno since 2000 (with a short break from ministry in 2004-2007).  They were both baptized in the Denver church in 1989 and 1990, while Chris was at CU and Gary was getting his graduate degree, and they met each other through church. Both are from New England, and after becoming disciples they have gotten to serve many places including Nebraska and Alaska! In California, they have served in the LA Church, the Bay Area Christian Church, and Fresno.


For the past 14 years Gary has served as a part-time paid minister while holding down a teaching job, and Chris does the ministry as an unpaid part-time position.  This has afforded the small congregation a chance to hire interns and to not have to pay insurance, allowing the church to do much more than if Gary and Chris were paid full time.    Chris recently got a part time job at a publishing company designing book covers, and the whole Simmons family fosters animals for the CCSPCA.  Chris also does social media and sings with the Fresno Master Chorale.


Chris' parents and brother are disciples in the Bay Area church.  Gary and Chris consider the Central Valley Church of Christ a key piece, geographically and relationally, with the BACC, LA Church, Bakersfield, AV and Sacramento.


Their daughter Audrey is a freshman at Azusa Pacific and recently became a disciple.  Their son Wyatt is 16 and going to an early college HS, hoping to study abroad after graduation.  They live with 5 dogs (plus fosters), 1.5 cats, 2 ducks and a chicken.