Chris is a guy who loves lots of things.  He loves God, he loves his family, he loves the arts, he loves tennis, and he loves food.  In the midst of the busyness of life he finds ways to pursue these loves, from keeping up his blog, to playing to tennis with friends, to writing songs, to growing a vegetable garden, to chasing his sons around the house.

Chris grew up in Central Illinois and attended Metamora High School.  He became a Christian at an early age and found his way into helping out at church youth group, teaching kids’ Sunday school, and leading music for the congregation.  Somewhere in the mist of that he met Elisa and a year after graduating from Eureka College in 2005 they married and moved to Evanston, Illinois where Chris could attend seminary at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.  There, he completed degrees in a Master of Theological Studies and a Master of Arts in Music Ministry, where he was able to pursue his passions of liturgy and the music of the church.  Shortly after moving Chris and Elisa started attending Church of the Redeemer in Highland Park where eventually Chris became one of the music pastors.

At some point the Marchands felt called to start a church in their hometown of Peoria, moving back in the winter of 2010 and believing that God would provide the necessary pastoral leadership (see: Greg Lynn).  In the midst of that Elisa kept working as a physical therapist and Chris got a job at a small Christian school teaching and then eventually serving as headmaster.  They also somehow managed to have two kids somewhere in there–both boys–Elliot (b. 2009) and Micah (b. 2011).

Chris cares deeply about how the Church worships God, which has lead him into a lifelong discovery of liturgy and the Church’s music. His hope is that others can join with him in that journey of discovery.

Special Talent:

I love to cook. I make a good homemade pizza.

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

Rich Mullins. He was everything I want to be and enough of a dirty sinner that I wouldn’t start idolizing him.

What is the most enjoyable thing your family has done together?

Every night before bed time the boys strip to their diapers and run around the house chasing each other and wrestling. It is utter bedlam but also pure joy.

What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

I would be playing tennis in the morning (hopefully with my boys once they get older), watching tennis while I eat lunch, writing and recording music in the afternoon, tending my garden right before dinner, and then dropping the boys off with the grandparents while Elisa I go out to a nice restaurant and take in a movie.

Most embarrassing thing on your iPod?

I have no shame! Maybe Lilly Allen, but I think that’s pretty good taste.

Original photo by Mr G’s Travels
Staff photos by our friend Tracy Brunsman