Harris said teams are made up of between six to 14 people.
At first, Harris said teams were involved in debris cleanup, then moved on to destruction and removal — a model they followed for a few months before moving on to sending in teams to help rebuild.
Harris said during the ’99 tornadoes, the UMC helped for three-and-a-half years, and “we’re committed to the same three-and-a-half years. Whatever it takes.”
“Every church has its place,” Harris said. “Some churches are immediate response churches. We couldn’t do it without the Baptists and their chainsaws and other feeling people.
“We’re not geared to be immediate response teams. We allow those who do that well to do their ministry. Once that’s done, we bring in the machine and we’re here for the long haul. It’s the Mennonites and the Methodists here. Everybody’s got their place in ministry.”
As for his ministry, Associate Pastor Adam Shahan said Harris is settling in well.
“He’s a great fit for this congregation,” Shahan said. “He’s a great pastoral presence as the church continues to rebound from the tornadoes. He’s a good visionary and has some great ideas that this church is going to be implementing. He has a very realistic and approachable leadership style.”
Harris is married to Trish Harris, who also is a pastor in the United Methodist Church with a congregation in Noble.
“We do tag team ministry,” Harris said. “If she (Trish) has someone in the hospital, I’ll go see them, and if I have one, she’ll go see them. It’s kind of like having two teachers in the same household. It works for us.”
Harris attended Oklahoma City University, where he earned his Bachelor of Art in religion in 1993. He went on to earn his Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology in 1997.