Episcopal he worked 42 hours a week, in addition to maintaining his GPA, to help pay for tuition. After graduation, he took a year off to work in sales before enrolling at LSU where he eventually earned a Business Management degree. Armed with his work ethic and degree he started his own business in his late twenties. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) the business failed.
“Everything I do in my life is all about ministry.”
At 30 years old Chris took stock of his life, realizing that trying to control everything was getting him nowhere. After searching for his purpose, he pledged himself to God and the tide turned. This new focus lit a fire for helping others within him that courses through everything he does.
Now Chris uses his life experience and passion to help small business owners succeed. He is the Senior Partner and Founder of Next Level Solutions, a company that provides full service IT, accounting, HR and operations support. “I know what not to do,” says Chris. He adds that his experience allows him to “help people not do the same thing” that undermined his first endeavor. Together, Chris and his partners have more than 60 years of experience in a range of industries. Sharing their real-world lessons is working well and the company is thriving. Chris is thrilled to use his knowledge and skills daily to help others.
With his business ministry a success, he also makes time for personal ministries. He says one of the most powerful efforts he’s been involved with is the Kairos Angola ministry. The Kairos mission seeks to provide God’s special time for those impacted by incarceration. Chris and his team of volunteers devote a four day weekend to sharing their message and connecting with prisoners. “We love on them and tell our stories,” says Chris, who is once again pulling from past experiences to make a difference in the present.
The Kairos ministry is just one of many in which Chris is involved. He also participates in the Emmaus movement, which offers a similar spiritual experience for non-prisoners. He is active in First United Methodist Church, serving as a youth ministry volunteer, on the church council, and on the finance committee. A few years ago Chris also added musician to his growing list of roles. He says he experienced the power of music during a weekend retreat and was inspired to play. So, he picked up the guitar and learned.
Above all else, Chris’ most cherished roles are that of husband and father. His wife Amy is a teacher at Magnolia Woods, after having previously worked as a CPA. Their oldest daughter Hayley is an Episcopal alumna and a junior at LSU. Youngest daughter Mallory is a senior at Episcopal this year.
“I’m blown away with what the good Lord has done with a good intention.”
And then there’s the army of volunteers that Chris organizes. Chris says the Cajun Army was established in response to the 2016 Baton Rouge flood. He remembers Next Level Solutions team members needing help and his strong urge to provide it. After an 11 hour boat rescue and seeing firsthand the extent of the damage, his ministry heart once again went to work.
Having organized mission trips before, Chris knew the hardest challenge would be to find food and shelter for volunteers. He recognized that people would want to help, but they would need a place to connect. Thus, the Cajun Army Facebook page was born. Initially, Chris thought he could manage this army with a few spreadsheets and simple posts. In reality, he never could have imagined the impact and reach of the founders’ idea.
Over the course of their mission, the Cajun Army fed thousands upon thousands of rain-weary residents, ripped out countless sheets of flood-soaked sheet rock and prayed with people who simply needed someone to be there with them. What’s even more amazing is that the Cajun Army accomplished all of this with volunteers and donations. Pallets of corn, pounds of chicken and the “go boxes” to hold 20,000 chicken dinners were all donated. Donated, free of charge. People were so moved by the mission and the ministry that they wanted to help. Chris provided that outlet and the help poured in. It still does - now in Houston in response to Hurricane Harvey.
“There’s a larger force in control than me.”
Chris says he is humbled by the tremendous dedication and compassion of this army of willing souls who readily help their fellow man in times of need. The Cajun Army draws people from all walks of life and all corners of the country and inspires them to pick up a spoon or a shovel and make a difference.
Chris’ time as an Episcopal Knight may not have been what you might think. He reflects on his years in high school as personally challenging as he worked long hours while juggling the rigorous demands of high school. But as with everything else in his life, this struggle contributed to his story.
“I learned what it meant to have high standards,” says Chris of his time on Woodland Ridge. He says his grandpa, dad and the school shared the same standards of how to treat others and how to live with integrity. These values became a guiding force in his life and he says he’s happy to now share them with his daughters and even the Cajun Army whose values remind him of the Episcopal Honor Code.
Husband. Father. Missionary. Volunteer. Businessman. Musician. Runner. (Yes, he runs half marathons when he can squeeze them in!) To say Chris King’s life is full is an understatement. He is living a purposeful life, which is what an Episcopal education strives to instill. While most people would be content with just one of his ministries, he manages them all with energy and grace that inspire those around him.
We thank you, Chris, for setting a high standard for us all to follow, and we salute you for your commitment to help those in need and for creating ways for others to help as well.