From pulpit to barber’s chair: Chouccoli has a dual-calling

Published 9:39 am Sunday, June 23, 2024

Chase Chouccoli described himself as “not the most studious type; more of a class clown.” But one who took very seriously the call to preach. Today he balances his career as a barber with preaching.

Chouccoli preaches at First Pentecostal Church of Vicksburg (FPC) as often as he can. He also travels to preach wherever called, whether it’s to fill in at a Sunday morning church service, assist in revivals or lead youth gatherings.

Although his desire was to preach full-time, he found he needed a steady job. He wanted to find a job that would give him the flexibility to preach whenever he could.

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“What about being a barber?” his pastor at FPC suggested. Chouccoli recognized this job would give him the freedom to set his own schedule and space to allow him to minister when opportunities came. He went to barber school and now is a successful barber at Posey’s Barber Shop on Halls Ferry Road in Vicksburg.

Becoming a barber requires a 1,500-hour training program and specific practical and written licensing examinations. Barbers are different from hairdressers in that they are trained in and focus on elements such as beard grooming and trims, shaving, and classic masculine cuts, Chouccoli explained.

The youngest of three boys, Chouccoli was born and raised in Vicksburg. With a big grin and plenty of energy, he loves talking with people. Raised in the church, he loved music from a young age.

“I sang my first solo when I was 10,” he said. “I sang the song ‘Redeemed.’”

It was recorded by his cousin, Madonna McFall Massey, a Pentecostal singer. He plays the piano and sings, often using his voice as a complement to his preaching.

Chouccoli met his wife, Katie, at a conference in Texas in early 2023. The two married later that year. He said several of the older women in his church were trying to match him up with different young ladies at the time.

“The funny thing is, they had like four ladies, potentially, they wanted me to meet,” he said.

He was told to look for a girl in a green dress, but, “they all were wearing green.” Katie, in a green dress, caught his eye first and they started talking, which soon led to love and marriage.

An accident in September of 2020 presented Chouccoli with a brief setback. He was taking his Harley Davidson motorcycle for servicing when he was involved in a wreck.

“I got on my bike, pulled out of the driveway,” he said. “There’s a certain feeling you get when you take a turn. I felt that, and woke up in ICU.”

From eyewitness reports, while driving on Highway 61 South, an 18-wheeler changed lanes without signaling, its back bumper connecting with the front tire of Chouccoli’s bike.

“I flipped four times,”Chouccoli said.

He was airlifted to University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“I was in ICU two days, and then a regular room.”

He went home after seven days in the hospital. He listed his injuries as a cerebral hematoma, six broken ribs, a broken clavicle, broken toe and deep gash on one leg.

“The hand of God was on my life,” Chouccoli said.

A medical worker noticed a text message that popped up on Chouccoli’s cell phone, taken with him from the accident, and recognized the name of Chouccoli’s fellow church member. They were able to get in touch with Chouccoli’s church and family from this contact.

“I’m done with motorcycles,” Chouccoli said with a laugh.

Chouccoli’s passion for sharing the word of God only became stronger after the accident. He relishes opportunities to preach, and has traveled to several states to help in ministry.

“I have been blessed with phenomenal church leadership all my life,” Chouccoli said.

He recalled the moment when, at age 13, God spoke to him.

“I heard this voice, literally heard a voice, calling me to the ministry. It said, ‘I’m calling you to preach the gospel.’ It was a powerful move of God,” Chouccoli said.

It was later validated through the speaking of tongues and interpretation, as well as his pastor’s discernment, he recalled.

Although Chouccoli hasn’t received formal theology training through a school, he relates that he believes.

“Ultimately, the call to preach comes from God first. If you’re preaching and you’re not called, you’ll be the most miserable person,” Chouccoli said.” If you’re supposed to preach and you’re not doing it, you’ll be miserable.”

The most important thing to Chouccoli, he said, is for people to realize God has a plan for them.

“Whoever you are, God can use you and God has a purpose for your life. I believe that wholeheartedly. It doesn’t matter what background you are; what ethnicity you are, it doesn’t matter where you come from, what stage of life you’re in. You can be used of God and you have a purpose on this earth.”

And with God, he added, anything is possible.

“The sky is not the limit,” Chouccoli said, with a smile. “You can go above and beyond that.”