Chris Holmes was driving on Loop 288 when he encountered God. It wasn’t exactly the road to Damascas—it’s a small four-lane highway that circles around Denton. The encounter opened his eyes. “I hadn’t really heard from God in a long time,” says Chris. “I wasn’t going to church and had four kids.” He heard God ask him if his children were saved. “I had this horrible feeling come over me like I’m saved but I don’t even care about my own kids.” He knew he had to get his house in order.
Chris was saved when he was 14. He worked his way up in business, starting with work in a sewing factory when he was 14 all the way up until the day of the encounter when Chris was making great money managing a multi-million dollar home-building supply company. He had just built his dream home, had some land in the country where the family could hunt, fish, and have fun. They had lots of toys but realized his family was heading in the wrong direction.
“We found this church and started going,” he says. “Within six months, two of my kids were saved and we baptized them in the Brazos River.” Not long after that, his other two children were saved and baptized.
That’s when God spoke to Chris again on the same spot on the same road. This time, God brought a Scripture to his mind. Proverbs 22:7: “The borrower is slave to the lender.” Though he made a very comfortable six-figure income, Chris felt God telling him to make some drastic changes in his finances. “I felt God tell me to be debt free,” says Chris. “He said, ‘I want you to sell everything you own and build a house on your land in the country.’” The Holmes family put their dream home on the market and sold their travel trailer and even Chris’s 1965 Ford Mustang. “I literally went through selling all my worldly possessions,” he says.
Then the 2008 financial crisis hit and the real estate bubble burst. Chris struggled to sell their dream home and eventually settled for selling it for half of its estimated value. This left very little money for building their house in the country, so the family built it with their own hands out of scrap materials purchased from his company. They found a great church in their new town and fell in love with the pastor and the small congregation. Despite having only 300 members, the church donated enormous amounts to global missions. Chris fell in love with missions and began giving what he could.
However, the financial crisis affected Chris’s job as well. “I lost about 70 percent of my pay,” he says. “But the Lord was growing my faith. If I hadn’t obeyed God and sold everything, we would have gone bankrupt. I thought, Okay, God’s doing something.”
Things got so tight that Chris got rid of his truck and bought a cheap used car with great gas mileage. But when gas prices hit four dollars per gallon, he couldn’t even afford the gas for his daily commute from their country home to Arlington. It was cheaper to rent a small space in an office warehouse just down the street from his office. “I was sleeping on an air mattress on the floor three to four nights a week because I couldn’t afford the gas to get home,” he says. “In that room I had nothing, no TV, no shower—I took a bath with an Ozarka water bottle—but I grew closer to God.”
Over the next few years as the economy continued to improve, Chris became dissatisfied with the life they were living here. He began to resent his job and wanted to sell everything and move to Mexico to become missionaries. His family at the time wasn’t convinced it was the right move, but Chris decided to prepare himself for ministry and continue to grow his faith. His research led him to a Bible school that was moving from California to Southlake: The King’s University. He convinced his wife to move the family to Keller, Texas, where they could be closer to the new campus of the transplanted school and Chris’s office in Arlington.
Over the next five years, he worked all day, took classes almost every night, and did all of his homework while locked in a closet for 12 hours on Saturdays. “I’d come out with my hair all crazy,” he says. “I would try to do all the work on the weekends.” Five years later, he graduated with a Bachelor of Cross-Cultural Ministry. He had been leading people to Jesus at work, where business was booming again. That’s when he heard God’s voice again.
God asked him if he was ready to quit his job and move to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Of course Chris answered yes, but there were other questions that followed. How are you going to reach the people if you don’t speak the language? How are you going to support your family or afford to pay a translator with no income?These questions gave Chris a new perspective. He saw that he could be much more effective by keeping his job and using much of his income to support locals who were hungry to reach the people in the Yucatan Peninsula. “It’s almost arrogance to think that I could make a better impact than people that are already there and already know Mayan and Spanish,” says Chris. “If I would have gone down there, I would have failed and come back with no job.” (Now, Chris is vice president of the largest building materials distributor in Dallas-Ft. Worth for a fortune 500 company. He has watched the business grow from $38 million in annual sales in 2010 and to more than $1 billion in 2021.)
Chris planned a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula and met a man named Tomas Nieto, who had been ministering in Yucatan for more than 30 years. He had developed a curriculum of seminary classes that he would take to people in remote locations who couldn’t afford to go to Bible college. Tomas had more than 100 students in his programs. Chris asked if any of the students were interested in going to unreached villages to start their own churches. Tomas said there were, but the financial cost held them back. Chris found out it would only take around $350 per month to send a student to start a church in the jungle. They started with two people, and when Chris began to see the success they were having, he sponsored more students. Now, there are 18 missionaries being sponsored and 31 people on the payroll. Chris calls the operation Kingdom Connectors.
However, he believes there is more work to be done. Kingdom Connectors recently purchased an eight-acre property on which Chris will build a large campus where students can come receive training before being sent out to start churches. This campus will also host short-term missionaries, host youth retreats, and be a training ground to make disciples. As of 2020, there are 126 students in the Kingdom Connectors seminary program, and more than 400 people were saved in 2019.
Meanwhile back home in Texas, Chris is seeing people’s lives changed all around him. One coworker in particular—a rough-around-the-edges man—heard Chris talking about Kingdom Connectors and gave his life to Jesus. Chris was able to eventually baptize his family. He’s now one of the leading donors and is on the Kingdom Connectors board of trustees. This same man heard from God to sell his vintage pickup and donate it to the ministry. Chris has also started a gathering for believers in his company. Once a month, around 40 people get together in their corporate office for lunch to pray and share their faith.
Chris can’t seem to help doing ministry wherever he goes, whether it’s in the jungle in Mexico or in the board room of the Fortune 500 company he helps manage. “I’m just using the platforms God has given me to do ministry,” says Chris. “I thought I needed to go live in the jungle to be a missionary and fulfill my calling. I was miserable in my job, but God changed my perspective and showed me that my job is my mission. That’s when my whole outlook changed and when Kingdom Connectors began.”