In our very first episode you can listen in to a family discussion about a husband, a dad, a grandad, a friend, a pastor and a teacher. Hear it from the family as they tell Pastor Harris's story and the story of their family.
Nicholas E. Harris was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Dec. 23, 1940, and went to his eternal home on Nov. 23, 2020. At the age of 3, he and his sisters, Jan and Jerean, were adopted by Mary Harris and her husband Raymond Harris, who was a traveling evangelist with the Assembly of God Church. Nick often referred to his dad as "the greatest preacher there ever was."
He graduated from Grand Saline High School in 1958. He went on to attend Southwestern Assemblies of God University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science, and Midwestern State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts. He attended law school at TU for a year, but then pursued a career in business.
Later, he described hearing a pastor with the United Methodist Church, Dr. Thomas, deliver "a message of grace like a law brief," and it was there that the entire gospel of Jesus came alive and made perfect sense to him.
With that fire lit, he completed his work on a master's in divinity at Phillips University and began his full-time ministry. Nick pastored churches in Carmen, Lamont and Ponca City where he met and married the light and love of his life, Crystal.
Their new family moved to serve at the United Methodist Church in Fairview for 2 1/2 years and then were moved to serve at First United Methodist Church in downtown Oklahoma City.
He spent years bringing life back to this downtown congregation. God had given Nick a vision for this church, "I see the balconies filled and I hear the pitter patter of children's feet." And, it all came to pass.
In addition, Nick's ministries over the years included Loaves and Fishes, a weekly Bible study for business people in downtown OKC, who often referred to him as their friend, teacher, counselor and encourager. He also had a long-running radio broadcast called Holy Ground.
In 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing destroyed the historic First Church. Nick led the effort to restore the church, build a new facility and the open-air prayer chapel, all of this while leading his growing congregation from a remote location. He was thrilled to lead his people on a march back to the completed church, the home where it all started.
Nick was also well-known for his ability to spot talented, young pastors and shepherd them. He always encouraged them to go and start their own ministries when they were ready. Those pastors have in turn touched many lives for Jesus, which was Nick's hope and dream for them.
Nick gifted his beloved congregation of Ariel Chapel with in-depth Bible teaching, his knowledge of Israel, and always, truth.
In his almost five decades of ministry, those who were fortunate enough to encounter him described him as their pastor. Nick was a passionate advocate and teacher of relational grace, believing wholly in the living God and the Priesthood of Believers. Nick had an exceptional and extraordinary talent for reaching the spiritual and intellectually-minded while also never leaving out others who were not very far along in their faith.
Pastor Nick had a fierce love for the land of Israel. He led many teaching trips to Israel and many other historical countries. He loved to share his passion and knowledge.
He also loved the people of Kenya, where over the years, he helped build a medical clinic, a tabernacle and a school alongside Each One Feed One.
Pastor Nick deeply valued and loved his family. His wife, Crystal, was the light and love of his life. The family vacationed forty-one years together in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. He shared his passion for adventure by traveling to Israel and so many other places with his kids and grandkids.
His grandkids called him, "Coach" and he loved them without limit.