Brief Biography: The Rev. Dr. Christopher J. Benek is a follower of Jesus Christ, a pastor, husband, and father. He is also a global emerging tech & theology expert who is internationally known for his social and religious analysis and commentary. He is widely recognized as a techno-theologian, futurist, ethicist, Christian Transhumanist, public speaker, writer and tech pastor. He is the lead clergy expert regarding Artificial Intelligence in the world.
Vocation: Dr. Benek is the Pastor of First Miami Presbyterian Church & the Pastor & CEO of The CoCreators Network. He has previously served churches in Hopewell & Ridgeview, New Jersey; Greenville, Ohio; Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Education: Rev. Benek is a graduate of the world’s first ever Doctor of Ministry program focusing specifically on Theology and Science. The program was envisioned with the help of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and implemented through Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Rev. Benek holds two additional advanced degrees in Ministry/Theology (Ethics) from Princeton Theological Seminary and is currently working on a fourth in Technology and Theology at Durham University in England.
Technology and Theology: Dr. Benek frequently writes, speaks and provides skilled analysis on issues of theology, technology and technological futurism – most notably in the fields of artificial intelligence & virtual reality. Global media sources have compared his personal commentary to that of luminaries Steven Hawking, Bill Gates and Elon Musk. Rev. Benek is also the founding Chair of the Christian Transhumanist Association. He is notably the first self-identified, ordained Christian Transhumanist in the world.
Social and Religious Commentary & Writing: Rev. Benek is known worldwide for his insights that intertwine faith and practice. He has been a featured orator at numerous large venues and speaks regarding a multitude of topics. He is a sought after advisor and pastor in non-profit, government and entreprenueral circles.
Media: Dr. Benek and his social and religious commentary have been featured on/in the following media sources among others: BBC Radio, The New York Times, Yahoo News, Christianity Today, SI.com, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, Salon.com, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Worldcrunch, The Christian Post, The Associated Press, Russia Today, Le Monde, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, Newsmax TV, Gizmodo, H+ Magazine, UK Daily Mail, The Guardian, Big Think, The Atlantic and The Huffington Post.
Personal Narrative: Born in Ashtabula, Ohio during the year of the United States Bicentennial and the advent of Rocky – The Rev. Dr. Christopher James Benek grew up in the meager surroundings of Mobile Acres Trailer Park loving every childhood minute of it. A product of the Buckeye Local School System, Chris completed one year at Edgewood Senior High School before transferring to Geneva High School when his family moved to the country in Austinburg, Ohio. Surrounded by farms and woodlands Chris grew up in a engaging atmosphere that intrigued the imagination.
Upon graduation, Chris enrolled at Hiram College and sought out a Pre-Law educational track, dual majoring in Political Science and History while working full time. He also engaged in an eclectic mix of student activities – serving as a two-sport varsity student athlete, a member of the HC Student Senate and various undergraduate clubs and organizations. He was elected the president of the the Pre-Law Club and later founded the legendary Hiram College Disco Club. Chris was a three-year Editor-in-Chief of the Hiram College newspaper – The Advance, Team Captain of the Moot Court Team, and the chairman of the Campaign for Computer Expansion Committee that succeeded in prompting the College Administration to network the entire college campus.
In the midst of his Jr. Year, Chris’ pre-law path would change as he was introduced to the Northwest Avenue Church of Christ in Tallmadge, Ohio. There he would come to develop a yearning for that which is eternal, confessing his belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The following summer – as he studied in the ancestral home of Russell Kirk in Mecosta, Michigan as a National Honor Fellow for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute – two faculty mentors guided Chris to seminary.
In 1998, Chris enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary where he went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree and a Master of Theology degree with a focus on Christian Ethics while working numerous part time jobs. Chris also became active in the local Princeton community. He served as a representative to the Seminary Student Government Association, as a member to the SGA Constitutional Review Committee, The Jacques Maritain Society, and was the founder and president of Princeton Students Against Infanticide. Chris was an avid participant in Intramural Sports, served as a PTS assistant Web Designer, the Resident Director for the PTS Center for Christian Education, and in 2001 was awarded the PTS Fellowship Prize for Religion and Society. For two years of his education, Chris resided in Hopewell, NJ serving Hopewell Presbyterian Church as a Jr. High Youth Group Leader while also serving First Presbyterian Church in Ridgewood, NJ (1999-2002) as the Director of Adult Education. It was at FPC Ridgewood where Chris would become a Presbyterian and subsequently be called to join the Presbyterian Church (USA).
In fall of 2002 Chris accepted a call to First Presbyterian Church in Greenville, Ohio where he was ordained and served successfully as the Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Youth. During his time in Greenville Chris studied Biblical Hebrew and PCUSA Polity at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio while also completing Clinical Pastoral Education at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. Once again, Chris became engaged in his local community serving as the President of the State of the Heart Hospice Board of Trustees and Vice President of the Darke County Youth for Christ Board of Trustees. Additionally, he served as adjunct faculty at Edison State Community College teaching classes in Philosophy, Ethics, and World Religions.
In 2009 Chris enrolled at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary where he would later graduate from the world’s first ever Doctor of Ministry program focusing specifically on Theology and Science. Chris was the youngest member of the program’s first cohort which was envisioned with the help of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In that same year, Chris was called to Providence Presbyterian Church on Hilton Head Island, SC. (2009-2014) where he faithfully served as the Associate Pastor of Family Ministries while also serving on the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery’s Coordinating Committee as the Presbytery’s Chair of Leadership Development.
In 2014 Chris accepted a call to serve the largest church in the Presbytery of Tropical Florida – First Prebyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. – as the Associate Pastor of Family Ministries and Mission. FPC-FTL is situated on the famed Las Olas Boulevard and is widely known for its tremendous ministries in South Florida. In 2018 Chris went on to serve as the Moderator of the 41 churches of the Presbytery of Tropical Florida.
Additionally, Chris is enrolled at Durham University in England where he is working on a Ph.D. in Theology focusing on the intersection of technological futurism and eschatology. He is also a founding member and Board Chair of the Christian Transhumanist Association – an international organization focused on encouraging persons to develop and utilize technology to participate in Christ’s redeeming purposes in the world.
Currently Chris is serving as the Pastor and CEO of The CoCreators Network and as the Pastor of First Miami Presbyterian Church.
Chris has been happily married to his wife, Jeannelle, for 17 years. They are blessed to be parents of a 4 year old boy. They have two cats and are thankful for everything that God has done in their lives.