OUR LEAD PASTOR

Pastor Chris Francis grew up in a Christian home in South Plainfield, NJ, but didn’t surrender his life to Christ until he was in his early 20’s. He was on his own and pursuing a film career in Los Angeles when his life fell apart. He realized then that believing the right things about Jesus is very different from submitting to Him as Lord. Chris soon found a vibrant church community in Hollywood where he served as a volunteer, was accepted for an internship, and sensed a calling to pastoral ministry.

Chris moved back to New Jersey in 2009 to help launch a new church with other NJ natives. That same year he began dating his future wife, Jessica Thomas. In 2010 Chris & Jess were married and Relevant Church was born with Chris serving as Associate Pastor.

Over the next few years — as Chris attended Bible College and completed the ordination process with the Christian & Missionary Alliance — he and Jess felt God nudging them to start a new church in Brick Township. With much prayer and support from Relevant, the C&MA, and a launch team of 25 people, True Life was birthed in March of 2013.

Chris & Jess have three daughters, and although Jessica prefers to stay in the background, serving in more intimate and relational ways, she’s no less passionate about seeing lives impacted by the gospel of Jesus. 

Chris & Jess are incredibly grateful to call True Life family. This authentic and eclectic community has served them, encouraged them, challenged them, and loved them well these eight years. Pastor or not, the entire Francis family would unanimously choose this group of people to do life with. 

In fact, if it weren’t for them, Chris would have stepped down a long time ago!

10 LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT CHRIS & JESS

  1. Jess has a doctorate in Child Development and works for the University of Delaware as a research manager.
  1. Chris does most of the cooking and Jess does most of the home improvement.
  1. Chris wrote a book called The Dangers of American Christianity. It’s available on Amazon but you can get it for free on our church’s book table, so save your money.
  1. Jess competes in (and sometimes wins) 5k’s and half marathons. She ran Division 1 for the University of Virginia in her early days.
  1. Chris hates running but joins Jess for a few miles three times per year and pretends to like it.
  1. Chris likes to argue and Jess likes to avoid conflict, which made the first few years of marriage a bit tricky but keeps counseling sessions very colorful.
  1. They’re praying about opening up a coffee shop that only hires people with criminal records to help them build a resume. Investors wanted.
  1. They have successfully raised two of their daughters to love sushi and are patiently waiting for it to “click” with the third one.
  1. If asked about their parents’ flaws, their kids would say, “Daddy breaks things and Mommy loses things.”
  1. Chris & Jess pray together every morning and believe it’s one of the best things for their marriage, even if it leads to more yelling at the kids to leave them alone.

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