Former Captain Chris Plekenpol is the kind of man that others instinctively desire to follow. As an author and speaker, he communicates a passion for Christ that has been forged in the crucible of wartime experience. Plekenpol exemplifies John Eldredge’s image of the “warrior poet,” a man of God who is untamed and fearless but also pursues the soft side of love. He inspires men to become the warriors God has created them to be --- to choose the harder right over the easier wrong.
Plekenpol is a 1999 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a degree in mechanical engineering. During his six years in the U.S. Army, he qualified for Airborne Jumpmaster, Air Assault and Ranger with the 82nd Airborne Division. Plekenpol was promoted from a platoon leader of sixteen to the executive officer, second in command of 85 men and managed a $16 million budget. He was even offered the opportunity to become a Green Beret --- an opportunity he turned down in hopes of pursuing what he considered a more exciting assignment.
“Jumping out of airplanes, shooting cool guns, traveling around the world…it just became boring. None of those things could compare with the rush I felt every time I told someone about Jesus,” Plekenpol recalls. So he applied to Dallas Theological Seminary, planning to study there after he fulfilled his obligation to the army.
Plekenpol was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea for one year. When he was offered the chance to command, he agreed to extend his time with the army and was promoted to commander of the Apache Armor Company. Twelve days later, his colonel called with a new assignment. Plekenpol was redeployed with his 100 men and $85 million of equipment to Al Habbinanyah, Iraq in August 2004. He describes those two years in command as “the best time of his life.” His men played a key role in assisting the 1st Marine Division in taking Fallujah in November 2004. Plekenpol’s company had responsibility for security and capturing terrorists along the dangerous stretch of highway that connects Fallujah to Ramadi.
Both on and off the battlefield, Plekenpol has proved himself an exceptional spiritual leader. He is the founder of In-Him.net, a ministry dedicated to living life out loud for Christ. His book, FAITH IN THE FOG OF WAR, offers the truth about God’s love, mercy and grace as revealed through the daily grind of combat.
Plekenpol’s first love is the gospel, rivaled closely by his love for people. He quickly turns strangers into friends and hardly a day goes by when he doesn’t share the truth of Christ with someone. Plekenpol is an irresistible communicator who uses his personal stories --- both the poignant and the hilarious --- as doorways through which everyday regular people can come to faith in Jesus Christ. His transparent and energetic storytelling is especially appealing to young audiences.
After completing his military career, Plekenpol has finally arrived at Dallas Theological Seminary, where he is studying church history and will graduate next year with a Th.M. with an emphasis in media. He intends to use the rest of his days on earth to reach as many people as possible with the gospel of Christ, hopefully by pastoring a dynamic, culturally engaged church.
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