As a young man, the call of corporate success was tough for Chris Miller to ignore, but following God’s call instead is something he will never regret.
After several years travelling throughout Europe and America, Chris Miller was building a dream life.
He’d recently married, had a secure corporate job, and opportunities to skyrocket his career. But a different path was calling that changed his life completely.
Chris had become a Christian several years earlier.
His passion to share Christ with others had been steadily growing since then, and he found himself using every opportunity – whether during his previous travels, or when making business visits – to study the Bible with others.
“God was working there,” he says.
“But running the studies made me also realise how little I did know. What it led to was me thinking about a college.”
Chris (left) with fellow students during his time at SPBC.
The South Pacific Bible College launched in Chris’ home country of New Zealand at the same time two huge job offers landed at Chris’ feet. He was torn.
“There was a huge feeling of, ‘What do I do here? Do I carry on with my career and make it even better, or do I career jump in a totally different direction that may not be quite so lucrative or seen in the eyes of the world as a wise move?’” he says.
Even after he’d made the decision to go, Chris said there were plenty of nay-sayers, including his boss, who was a Christian himself.
“I had to tell him, ‘I’m leaving to go to a Bible college in New Zealand’. He said, ‘You’re absolutely crazy! You’re giving away your life and your talent.’”
Nonetheless, Chris and wife Melinda moved back to New Zealand in1982, where Chris completed two years of study at the South Pacific Bible College, setting him on a new path.
“I think SPBC was a place where I came out of the secular working world to say, ‘This is what I need to do.’ It was God’s stamping of the call. I’d already been called, but it made me realise: I need to take up this call! It brought into focus a huge need that the church had.”
After graduating, Chris launched into full-time ministry. First, partnering with fellow graduates to serve the New Zealand town of Napier, where the church grew in number from low forties to mid eighties, during their 12 year stint.
During this time he and Melinda also added to their young family.
He then moved to the Otumoetai Church of Christ in Tauranga – SPBC’s founding congregation – teaching, preaching, and evangelising for the next 16 years.
In more recent years, Chris has founded Mount Ministries, a work which has again seen him keep close connections with SPBC and Otumoetai, as well as enjoy ministry opportunities all over the world.
“I have my home church, Otumoetai, which I love and bleed for and where I continue to see great things. And I also go out to other places.”
This has included teaching, preaching, encouraging and mentoring throughout New Zealand’s north and south islands, Australia, pacific island nations such as Tonga, and into Cambodia and Thailand. Chris has also fulfilled speaking engagements in the USA.
He reflects on his time at SPBC as a mooring to secure him in his lifelong ministry work.
“The bible college helped facilitate and helped bring my gifts to the forefront,” he says.
“I hadn’t planned on going out and preaching, but by the end of the two years of study, it pretty much drove me to realise, ‘This is what I’m called to do.’ And that was a huge transition for me.
“It was kind of frightening, because I realised it was not going to be just two years of study. This was what I’d be doing for the rest of my life. I committed my life to ministry.”
Chris now encourages others to experience SPBC for themselves.
“I think it’s such a rich foundation, and I encourage people to do it.
“It taught me the scope of the Bible, the richness of it, the big picture, and the fact that this book can change the world!”