Chris Haughee has worked with children and teens for more than 15 years. He’s heard many stories, listened to many heartbreaks and learned many names. Now, as a chaplain at Intermountain Residential Services — a child welfare agency in Montana — he is fostering an atmosphere of love. “As I walk forward in advocacy for children, I am walking with Jesus,” he says. “I am embraced by a love that transcends me.”
Haughee earned his Master of Divinity degree at Multnomah from 1996 to 2000 while pastoring nearby. In 2005, he took a pastoral call in Helena, Montana. While serving the congregation of First Presbyterian Church, he continued his education at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he pursued his doctorate for two years. A series of personal and professional curve balls upset the smooth road he’d envisioned and caused Haughee to question if education was for him. “I needed a program that provided the flexibility for me to continue [my ministry] and make connections between the children I serve and the work of the Kingdom,” he says.
He found this combination in the cultural engagement track of MU’s Doctor of Ministry program. “The cohort in cultural engagement allows the freedom to explore themes of advocacy alongside brothers and sisters in Christ from a wide range of backgrounds and ministry settings,” he says.
This support is especially valuable due to the nature of Haughee’s ministry. “It means a great deal when you are doing the often hard and lonely work of advocacy for an underserved and misunderstood part of the church,” he says. “It’s a journey closer to the heart of God embodied in the crucified Savior.”
Haughee’s studies are effectively being transferred to his work environment. He is intentional about fostering spiritual discussions with staff members at Intermountain. In a recent conversation, they connected Jesus’ Beatitudes with the work of healing emotionally disturbed children. “There were a few tears shed as we realized that despite our best efforts, the brokenness of this world is something only God can ultimately heal,” Haughee says. “We may not see the fruits of our labors on behalf of many of these children, but still we have to keep pressing forward and doing the best we can for as many as we can for as long as we can.”
The work inside and outside the classroom is a battle. Haughee is careful to cultivate the attitude of a listener in all of his interactions. “The world is filled with people talking,” he says. “I don’t need to add to the noise. A Spirit-empowered whisper will achieve more than the bullhorn shout of the self-righteous and self-assured.”
Haughee’s leadership has also been enhanced through his studies. “I am more balanced, more humble, and more grateful for the small influence I do have,” he says. “I know Christ better and can serve the church more ably as a result of my time at Multnomah.”
When he’s not perusing an article or engaging in class conversation, Haughee can be found organizing activities, fundraising for Christmas gifts, or simply eating barbeque with the children in his ministry. He is daily being transformed by love. “It is a love that shows me I have more to gain in this work than I have to give,” he says.