Pastor Christopher T. Harris, Sr. was born on April 1, 1974, in Chicago, Illinois, to Ezekiel Simpson and Patricia Ann Harris. A member of Bright Star Church of God In Christ in the Bronzeville Community (www.BrightStarChurchChicago.com) since birth, he received his
foundation in Holiness under the leadership and mentorship of the late founder, Dr. James B. Stovall, Sr.. On May 30, 1993, Pastor Harris was saved and received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. In 1992, after graduating from Tabernacle Christian Academy, he attended one semester of Olive-Harvey College and one semester of Moody Bible Institute.
Pastor Harris has lived his life as more than a conqueror. Born blind and growing up struggling with Asthma, Pastor Harris overcame these conditions when God healed him miraculously. He has also overcome low socio-economic environment, and poverty did not preclude his pursuit of excellence and his destiny. Due to his elevation, he has survived the loss of friends and acquaintances without losing his focus on his calling – building a ministry and his community.
He received his Divine call to preach on June 29th , 1997 while at a Sunday
Night Broadcast Service at St. James Church of God in Christ located 10920 South Princeton, led by the late Bishop Willie James Campbell. Four months later, on October 19th, the late Dr. James B. Stovall made Pastor Harris his 1st Assistant. After Dr. Stovall’s death in 1998, Pastor Harris was appointed Senior Pastor of Bright Star COGIC on November 18, 1999. A shepherd of a rapidly growing congregation, Bright Star has experienced exponential growth under his leadership. Now pastoring more than 21 years, his church has increased to more than 1250+ parishioners. In 2002, Pastor Harris was appointed District Superintendent of the Bread of Heaven District by Bishop W.H. Bonner, Prelate of the Sixth Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of Illinois. He was one of the youngest pastors to hold this prestigious position in the COGIC organization in Illinois. Pastor Harris also served for six years on the Board of Bishops for the Abundant Harvest Fellowship of Churches under the leadership of Presiding Prelate Bishop David G. Evans of Lindenwold, NJ.
A man of great passion and vision, Pastor Harris has developed a notable international reputation. In April 2008, he founded GOD IS Productions, Inc., a gospel music production company. He has been the guest lead vocalist on more than 15 recorded projects. A noted singer in the Gospel Music Industry, Pastor Harris has ministered in song in over 24 countries, on 21 various world tours, and countless cities throughout the United States. In 2006, he produced his own album entitled “So Amazing.” This album has been successfully received both in Europe and the United States. For over 16 years, Pastor Harris served as Minister of Music for various churches in various denominations including Bright Star COGIC, St. Elizabeth Catholic Church and New Hope Missionary Baptist.
Of all his accomplishments, Pastor Harris’ greatest joy comes from his family. On September 18, 2010, he married the love of his life, Johanna “JoJo” Harris. He is a loving and devoted husband and father of four beautiful children: Chrystal (29), Chris Jr. (24), Christian (22), Christiana (18) and has raised his God son Keshon (17). Assigned to minister to the masses, God gave pastor Harris a personal motto: “Doing What I Can: While I can, With What I Have, Within HIS Will
Recognizing the need for more “community-minded clergy,” and due to increasing violence in Chicago, he established Bright Star Community Outreach (www.BrightStarCommunityOutreach.com) in 2009. This organization is committed to creating collaborative partnership program models designed to provide educational enrichment programs, anti-violence prevention and intervention activities along with good student incentives. With an operating budget of over $5 Million Dollars, BSCO provides employment to more than 450+ people annually and leads a collaborative of 105+ organizations in the Greater Bronzeville Community.
Pastor Chris Harris travels the country building relationships between African-American and Jewish Clergy and has traveled to the Holy Land six times and led more than 70+ leaders to Israel. Pastors’ 2012 trip to Israel prompted the development of the TURN Center (The Urban Resilience Network) based on the Israeli model of NATAL in Tel Aviv. TURN endeavors to focus on five core competencies: counseling, parenting, mentorship, work-force development and advocacy. Its unique model will utilize faith leaders as post-trauma counselors and use community surveys as the basis for services that directly correspond to the unique needs of constituents.
BCSO’s partners in this effort are: Northwestern Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, CIGNA, MacArthur Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to name a few. This community impact project has received more than $9 Million dollars of support thus far. BSCO's Trauma Helpline opened in July 2017 and our advocates have touched 650+ individual callers and our ambassadors have touched more than 45,000+ residents, students, school administrators, etc. making them trauma informed. Bright Star Church Chicago partnered with Howard Johnson to vaccinate 800+ people and have supported thousands of families with close to $1 Million Dollars in housing , utilities and food support throughout the COVID19 Pandemic with financial support from Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and other liberal partners.
Pastor Harris travels the country building bridges between African American and Jewish clergy and communities. Along with speaking and singing Hatikvah in countless synagogues across the country, he has taught students on various college campuses of the importance of Black – Jewish relations as well as how to combat BDS. For over a decade he has done extensive work with JUF, ADL, AIPAC, JNF, AePi, Sigma AePi, USY, AJC, Simon Wiesenthal Center and has led six trips to Israel educating more than 70+ faith leaders. His personal motto for this very important bridge building work is, “We are better together.”
AWARDS & HONORS
- The Decalogue Society of Lawyers Community Service 2013 Award
- Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity Congressman Eliot Engel Award 2015/16
- Near North Health Service Corporation 2016 Inspiration Award
- The 2nd Annual Israel-Midwest Bridge 2016 Award
- AJC Lawrence M. Adelman 2017 Award
- Chicago Defender Men of Excellence 2017 Award
- Honored by Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza for the 2017 African American History Month Award
- State of Illinois Treasurer Outstanding Commitment Community Service 2018 Award
- Nami Chicago Light the Darkness Faith Based Leader of the Year 2018 Award
- Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program/ Real Men Invest In Girls 2918 Award
- Chosen Tabernacle Ministries You Make A Difference 2019 Award (Honored for the Greater Bronzeville Neighborhood Network)
- DuSable Alumni Coalition Mary Herrick Scholarship 2019 Award
- Erikson Institute Early Childhood Leadership Honors for Completion of McCormick
- Foundation Executive Fellows Program 2019
- Leadership Greater Chicago 2021 Fellow