Pastor Chris Casillas graduated from West Coast Baptist College in 2003 with a degree in evangelism. He pastors Horizon Baptist Church in the Denver suburb of Thornton, Colorado. He and his wife Kim have two children, David and Jacquelynn. In January 2020, Chris attended the Week of Awakening at Lancaster Baptist, giving us an opportunity to catch up with him. 

How did God lead you to begin pastoring Horizon Baptist Church?

After graduating from WCBC, I served as an intern in the children’s ministry at Lancaster Baptist Church. Later, I moved to the Bay Area where I served as the pastor of Mission Peak Baptist Church in Fremont, California, for the next four years. My next ministry was as an assistant pastor at Timberland Baptist Church in Sherwood, Oregon, for another four years. During my time there, I felt the Lord leading me to plant a church. 

Through my father-in-law, who is an assistant Pastor at Elmwood Baptist Church in Brighton, Colorado, I got in touch with the church, which was preparing to plant churches in the Denver area. With the Lord’s leading and the opportunity that surfaced, I knew we were heading in the right direction. In October 2012, God accomplished what He had impressed on my heart with the establishment of Horizon Baptist Church where I’ve been pastoring since.

What are some ways the Lord has blessed the church?

We have seen members newly involved in serving in various ministries, including children’s classes, audio and visual, as well as outreach. They are ad bringing fresh enthusiasm to the Lord’s work, and it has been encouraging to see members share the burden of ministry and enjoy serving the Lord together. Every church needs members who actively serve on another to enable the church to operate as God intended.

When you have come to seasons of discouragement or challenge, what has helped keep you going?

Serving in the ministry can get lonely at times. When I need encouragement or a recharge, I find that attending a conference or revival service is a great recharge. Hearing preaching and meeting other likeminded pastors leaves me encouraged and refreshed. I also go doorknocking with pastors of nearby Baptist churches on a weekly basis. Serving the Lord with fellow pastors helps lend mutual support and reminds me that we are all striving together for the faith of the gospel.   

What do you remember most about your time at WCBC?

The college was a much smaller when I first came as a student in 1999. There was a family feel on campus, and I could sense the staff’s genuine care for the students. It is encouraging to return to campus after fourteen years and see the same spirit of warmth and camaraderie still present, even with a larger student body and teaching staff.

WCBC has an open-door policy of being available for students. In what ways have you found the door still open as an alumnus?

The college’s interest and investment in students extends past graduation. I still receive calls or text messages from Pastor Chappell, Dr. Goetsch, and Dr. Rasmussen. (Dr. R texts me every Saturday to let me know he is praying for me and my church.) Several of the faculty, including Dr. R, Dr. Lester, and Dr. Goetsch, have been to our church to preach over the years. I appreciate them for keeping the channels of communication open and for their constant encouragement and willingness to help. It’s been seventeen years since I graduated, I know they still care and pray for us.

What are some current goals or prayer requests for your church family?

We have been at the same building since our church started, but its lease ends in July. We are praying to secure a new facility—either through leasing or purchasing—that will give us more room to grow and flexibility over its use. Property prices have gone up in our area, but we trust the Lord to provide. One local church gave us $25,000, which is a great blessing, and hopefully, the first of many answers to this prayer.