"Call to Worship" – AG News

Music filled Chris G. Cole’s life as he grew up in blue-collar Palm Desert, California, 120 miles east of Los Angeles and San Diego. Beginning in adolescence, he played all-night jams among the sand and cactus where he played electric guitar. As a young adult, he carried that pursuit of music with him to Oceanside, where he surfed, skateboarded, and played in other bands by the beautiful Pacific coast. He held a well-paying job working with a computer-aided design (CAD) program for a construction company.

“I was young, skeptical of organized religion,” says Cole, 39. “I was my own God, in control of my life. Anything good that happened to me was because of me.”

Then came the economic bust of 2008. Cole shrugged off the recession, the next year marrying his girlfriend, Ashton. But his employer struggled to stay afloat as the housing market tanked. The young couple ran up debt. A month after Ashton suggested they move to Texas, Cole lost his job, and a CAD job opened in Fort Worth. With their two cats and Chihuahua, in 2011 the couple migrated to the fourth most populous metroplex in the United States.

Once there, Ashton made a declaration that surprised her husband: she wanted to go to church. 

Skeptical and not wanting to spend time searching, Cole suggested one located adjacent to their downtown Fort Worth apartment in the cultural arts district: 7 City Church. The AG congregation launched as a parent-affiliated church in 2012 and received helpful coaching from the Church Multiplication Network. Cole’s internet search uncovered a video of pastor Stephen C. Blandino, whose simple, straightforward message intrigued him...