Pastor Joe Harris
Joe was born in Atlanta to a healthy Christian family. After moving to Florida in elementary school he got involved in the church of his parents choice and began leading worship and serving with several other ministries. After high school, Joe regretfully rebelled against his family and the church and walked away from God. While there was a confession of faith in Jesus as a young child, it was not until Joe was 25 that he repented of his sins and willingly turned his life over to Jesus to follow him.
Joe and Teresa eloped and married on September 1st, 2002. Even though they were both running from God and being rebellious, God in his sovereign mercy brought these two together for His good purpose and plan. Obviously, at the time, they did not realize what was happening and the first years of marriage for Teresa and Joe were a complete disaster. Both were living selfish lives and were not trying to please God in any way. However, as God began to draw each of them to himself, he began to restore their lives personally and their marriage to follow. Joe and Teresa have two daughters, Mika Lena and Remi Elizabeth.
When Joe gave his life to Jesus in 2006, God began to do amazing things in him and through him. At the time, Joe owned a business that was falling apart, smoked 2 packs a day and cursed like a sailor to name just a few of the long list of worldly things that he had become involved with. However, Jesus changed Joe’s life completely. Joe was immediately set free from his sin and addictions began to live a new life in Christ. He started serving daily at Calvary Chapel St. Pete where God used the pastors and other godly friends to disciple him and teach him how to live for Jesus.
One of the first ministries that Joe began to invest a lot of time into was a ministry nicknamed the Bridge. This was a work release, prison type ministry where he would lead Bible studies weekly for about 20-30 men. It was here that God began to develop the gift of teaching and preaching in Joe’s life. He was able to lead several men to faith in Jesus and see even more men rededicate their lives to Jesus. Joe led a community group for over three years that averaged about 20 people per week. He led worship regularly at the church for several years. He also helped with the counseling ministry, conducted funerals and did several evangelism outreaches. .
About six months into his Christian walk, Joe felt God calling him into the Ministry. There were several things that God showed him one Sunday morning before church that confirmed God’s call on his life. He told a pastor and began to seek God’s guidance and direction. He went on to finish college and received his Bachelor’s degree from Liberty University. He was ordained as an elder at Calvary Chapel St. Pete in 2011 where he served on staff until 2013 when he went to Calvary Chapel South Tampa to lead worship. He was ordained Lead Pastor there in 2014.
Since the beginning of his call to ministry, Joe has been passionate about church planting. He believes there is a significant connection between evangelism and planting new churches. He began to pursue planting a local church in 2011 following the pastoral council that God had placed over him. In 2014, after God closing several doors locally, he felt God leading him to go help a great friend and church planter in Tampa, Pastor Pilgrim Benham. Looking back on the past several years, it is obvious that God was preparing and leading Joe and Teresa to Tampa. Joe is in awe of what God is doing and extremely thankful to be a part of the family at Calvary Chapel South Tampa.