MIDLAND The Rev. David Chisham says faith in Jesus Christ not only bodes well for eternity but also for the here and now.

“Some people feel that the only point to faith is that we get to go to Heaven when we die, but Jesus’s resurrection means for us that he is alive and at work among us today,” said the Rev. Chisham, new pastor of the First Christian Church at 1301 W. Louisiana Ave. “He can transform our priorities and relationships and give us hope for living.”

Chisham is a 50-year-old native of Wichita, Kan., who earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at Abilene Christian University and Drew University in Madison, N.J., before serving as a minister in Arlington, Va., Rockville, Md., and Baton Rouge, La. He and his wife Kori have one child.

The pastor rides a bicycle for exercise and the family travels to Europe and camps at lakes in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

“I’m big on the Gospel story of Jesus because he brings compassion, grace and wellness to our lives,” Chisham said. “We have to let go of those things that keep us trapped and take hold of the promises given to us in faith. I also love stories from the Old Testament about Elijah and his spiritual walk and the Book of Genesis with Joseph, Abraham and Jacob.

“David is an interesting character with his rise from being just a shepherd boy in the fields to becoming a man who is remembered as one who was after God’s own heart. The Psalms are not just song lyrics to me. Many of them are emotional cries from the heart and examples of prayer life in the early and later Hebrew and Israelite religion.”

An average of 120 people attend the First Christian Church at 11 a.m. Sunday and its congregants on Facebook and YouTube increase participation to 200.

Chisham said he was attracted by the church’s community involvement including its Children’s Learning Center day care and the Disciple Food Pantry it offers from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday. “This is an incredible congregation that’s doing wonderful work outside the walls of the church,” he said.

Jon-Aaron House, chairman of the committee that recommended the pastor’s appointment, said it “was just his pastoral nature” that proved persuasive.

“It was clear in our early conversations with David that his ultimate goal was to tell the full story of our church and to craft the new story going forward,” House said. “His first goal was simply to know the names of the people and we thought our congregation would respond well to his messages.

“He knows when to put humor in and when to be serious. He is confident in what he is preaching and you can tell he has done the study and prayer to be able to deliver his messages through different lenses to different people.”