by Major Jennifer Ortman
Major Chris Poff retired this summer after an officership that spanned 45 years and a wide variety of appointments throughout the territory and at National Headquarters (NHQ), which fulfilled a dream of teaching she relinquished to follow God’s calling.
At just 18 she began her career “in charge” of the Peru, Ind., Corps, with her then-husband before attending the College for Officer Training (CFOT) the following year. Commissioned with a one-year-old child and having two more children before becoming a captain, her early years were spent behind the scenes as a natural servant and planner—or self-described “control enthusiast.” Her attention to detail served her well throughout her officership.
Chris held appointments in six corps, divisional youth/candidates’ and women’s ministries departments, at territorial headquarters and the CFOT. A highlight was serving at NHQ in the publications department and then as national consultant for Christian education.
In 2014 she was appointed back to territorial headquarters which proved providential as shortly thereafter she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it was a blessing to be nearer to her children and their families, Major Cyndi (Amos) Shiels, Major Jason (Mary) Poff and Angie (Stephen) Hansen. She has 14 grandchildren and six “grand dogs.” Chris has always loved animals; her cockapoo, Indy, has been a large part of her ministry for the last decade.
As a young person Chris thought she was giving up her dream of teaching to become an officer; however found that her officership utilized her skill and passion.
In fact, Chris’s last appointment was as an education officer at the CFOT! Cadets fondly remember her lesson using the “Wizard of Oz,” a story Chris says she loves because people have problems and needs that are only able to be solved as a community. Asked to give advice to new lieutenants, she laughed and said, “Don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy the moment you are in, instead of looking to the next.”