ABOUT REV. CHRIS L. VERSCHAGE
Chris is the Pastor at Cocopah Assembly of God, located on the Cocopah East Reservation, as well as the President and co-founder of Following Messiah, a life-long student of the Scriptures, and a former full-time English professor for twenty-five years.
As a minister, Chris is led by the Spirit as he combines his life-long love for the Scriptures, his academic training in research, critical and analytical thinking, and textual analysis, along with the appropriate Jewish and rabbinic studies, in order to dig into and open the Scriptures in a way that not only draws people to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and to His Messiah, Jesus [Heb. Yeshua] of Nazareth, but it makes them hungry to learn more about God and how to dig into the Scriptures for themselves as well.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Chris grew up in the Pentecostal movement and gave his life to the Lord when he was fourteen years old. Beginning on December 11, 2016, Chris and his wife, Karen, were voted in as Pastors of Cocopah Assembly of God on the Cocopah East Reservation in Somerton, AZ. Prior to this, Chris has been actively involved over the years in most forms and levels of church ministry, from pulpit to youth, including being part of a Christian band, called “Flickering Light.” Also, he has spent a great deal of time in studying materials associated with the Scriptures, such as Jewish and Christian theology, commentaries and verse-by-verse studies, some beginning Hebrew, as well as things written by ministers, theologians, rabbis, researchers, historians, and archaeologists. And as he completed these various studies, Chris received a great many revelations and insights into the Bible, as well as conclusions that he was able to draw.
LEARNING MORE FIRST HAND
After Chris completed his Master of Arts in English, Chris came across a book by Dr. David Stern, entitled Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospels: A Message for Christians (1990), from a local library, and discovered that he had independently come to many of the same conclusions that Dr. Stern discussed within his book. For the next eight years, Chris continued his involvement in the local church and attended different Messianic and mainstream Jewish congregations from time-to-time. Although Chris shares certain ideas and beliefs with Messianics and mainstream Judaism, such as his love for the Hebrew Scriptures [Old Testament], Jewish history, and the Jewish people themselves, there are other ideas among these groups he does not share.
AS A MINISTER
After eight years of attending these various congregations and continuing his studies, God drew Chris, Karen, and their family back to the church. As a minister, Chris draws from his studies and experiences to bring a unique perspective to the Scriptures that really opens the Bible up in a new and fresh way. Many people have given him the feedback that they are amazed at not only how clear he presents the Scriptures, but also how deep his messages takes people. A depth they didn’t know existed before.
Chris is unique as a minister because he is a firm believer that 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is as true today as it was the day that Paul wrote it. “All Scripture,” Chris maintains, is not only God-breathed, but it is “profitable” for all believers today for “teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.” Chris continues, “This epistle was the last one written by Paul – after Romans and Galatians – and so we should base our theology and teachings on all of Scripture, not just parts.” “A cover-to-cover teacher” is how Chris describes what he teaches people from the Bible. “If it’s in the Bible,” Chris explains, “then it is my responsibility to teach it.”
KAREN K. VERSCHAGE
Karen assists her husband, Chris, in the pastoring of Cocopah Assembly of God, and she is the Vice-President and co-founder of Following Messiah, the founder and author of the blog Karen’s Shofar, a life-long student of the Scriptures, as well as a wife, a mother of four, and a grandmother of five.
Karen grew up in the Southern Baptist Church and gave her life to the Lord when she was eight years old. When she was twelve, her family moved to Florida. While there, she was introduced to a Church of God congregation, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. Three years later, her family moved back to Lansing, Michigan, where she was baptized in the Spirit, and a couple of years later met Chris, her husband. They were married in December 1981.
Since 1981, Chris and Karen have raised four children, and they have struggled with their lives as believers, parents and now as grandparents. It was after Karen had been delivered from her panic attacks and depression, that Christ healed her from a learning disability that she had struggled with for forty years. It tremendously altered her life and it opened her heart and mind to God and His Word like never before. It was shortly after this when she began her blog Karen’s Shofar.