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Pastor Mark talks with R13 speaker Crawford Loritts
We are thrilled to have Dr. Crawford Loritts speak at our 2013 Resurgence Conference in Seattle. Dr. Loritts is the senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church, and author, speaker, and radio host of Living a Legacy.
Recently, Dr. Crawford Loritts was gracious enough to answer some questions about what he's learned throughout a lifetime of ministry. I'm excited that he's in the lineup of main speakers at this year's Resurgence Conference, where thousands of young leaders will be able to benefit from his experience.
Mark Driscoll: Is there a particular verse or passage in Scripture that you find yourself returning to again and again for wisdom and encouragement?
Crawford Loritts: For most of my ministry God has placed me in “pioneering” roles. I have needed to press into and claim his courage to conquer the fear that threatened to stop me. All that to say that Joshua 1:1–9 has been used of God to keep me moving, trusting, and obeying him when I have felt like running or hiding!
MD: As you look back on your life, are there any moments that stand out as especially pivotal?
CL: In 1996 I was on the verge of a burnout. I was doing too much. I ran into a good friend of mine at an event where we both were speaking. During a break, he asked me how I was doing and I told him how exhausted I was and shared all the things on my plate. He turned and said to me, “Crawford, at this stage in your life, you need to move away from the things you can do and focus on the things you should do.” Those words were from the Lord. Shortly after that visit, I made some major decisions about how I would use my time and the things I would commit myself to.
MD: You made a significant change when you left a long-time, fruitful tenure leading Campus Crusade to pastor a local church. How did that transition come about?
CL: About three years before I left Cru (formerly, Campus Crusade for Christ), I experienced a growing desire to shepherd God’s people and to preach and teach the word of God in a local setting in which people would grow spiritually and impact the world for Christ. Karen, my wife, and I knew that this was the clear leading of the Lord. It was difficult leaving an organization that we love and had spent 27 great years with, and yet it wasn’t as hard as you might think because God’s leading was so clear. I talked to close friends and mentors and sought the Lord concerning the opportunities before me. He made clear his next assignment and led us to Fellowship Bible Church.
MD: You began preaching as a national evangelist at the age of 22. How did you discover your gift to preach and develop it at such an early age?
CL: I started preaching when I was 16 years old. My pastor believed in young people and would give them opportunities to grow and learn and lead. When I told him that I sensed a desire to preach, he asked me to preach at a prayer meeting. I did—and my pastor kept encouraging me. One thing led to the next and before long I was speaking at various youth groups in our area. Looking back, even then I sensed the presence of God when I would preach his word.
MD: You’ve raised four kids, and it sounds like all are doing well and walking with Jesus. As a father, what did you do right? What did you do wrong? What guidance do you have for new and prospective parents?
CL: Karen and I, by God’s grace, have done some things right in raising our kids, but we have also made a lot of mistakes.
The best thing we have done and continue to do is to seek God’s face in believing prayer on behalf of our children. From the time our kids were very young, we read the Scriptures to them and worked at integrating God’s truth with what they were facing or experiencing.
Love your children and let them feel that love.
As a dad I made many mistakes—disciplined the wrong child, was gone too much, etc. I learned to ask for their forgiveness, and this knit our hearts together. I also gave them access to my life so that they knew that they were and are a priority. We also had a lot of fun together! I gave them the gift of consequences. It sounds simple but the greatest advice I can give prospective parents is to keep putting your children in God’s hands, model Christ-likeness before them, love them and let them feel that love, give them God’s word, and raise them with a sense of mission.