Crawford Loritts has recently retired from his job as Sr. Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, GA. He has certainly not retired from ministry, having started a new organization called Beyond Our Generation, aimed at encouraging and empowering today’s up-and-coming Christian leaders. However, now that he has stepped down from the full-time pastorate, he is able to reflect on a life spent in ministry. What he sees is a man who was trying earnestly to do what was right. What the rest of us see is a man used mightily by God to blaze trails and build bridges.
Crawford says he had no overarching intentions to be a pioneer. His only aim was to do the work God set before him. “I came to Fellowship Bible Church, a 95% white church at the time, in 2005,” he explains. “I didn’t come there as an ethnic statement. I was a Black pastor pastoring a megachurch in the South—whatever. I didn’t come there for that reason. I came there to preach the Book and love the people.”
This mentality goes back to his childhood. Raised in New Jersey, Crawford’s earliest experiences of community were multi-cultural. The children he played with, his parents’ friends, the people he encountered everyday—they were of all types of ethnicities. He had a great awareness of his lineage, but he also saw that love could cross any barrier society might impose. In fact, this vision of unity played a major role in his coming to faith in Christ.
“When I gave my heart to Jesus as a teenager, I was captured by the vision in Ephesians 2 of a wall being broken down and the visible unity of the body of Christ. I was 15 or 16 years old, and that whole thing captured me.”
Today, Crawford has travelled throughout the world, preaching in churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries. He has been the featured speaker at Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four Chapel, and the Pentagon. He is the author of 9 books and the host of 2 national radio programs. By nearly any standard, he is what the world would call a success. He has also seen firsthand how earthly success and power have derailed the church from its true purpose. On the increasing politicization within the body of Christ, Crawford quotes J.D. Greear: “When the church gets in bed with politics, the church gets pregnant, and the offspring doesn’t look like our Father.”
Instead, he looks to Daniel as a role model. He says, “Daniel had access to power, but he rejected it. When we accept power, we forget why we’re here.”
Crawford Loritts has had a driving passion for his own ministry, and it’s the same one he hopes to pass down to the generations to come. He hopes to see a church that will set aside any ambition other than its true purpose—to tell the truth of the glorious Kingdom of God. According to him, “What is attractive is the transforming power of the Gospel and what Jesus said in John 13: ‘By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.’”
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