New Castle News

Closer Look

January 18, 2013

Pastor launches local crusades

NEW CASTLE — Crusade. For most, the word conjures up visions of Billy Graham or the Knights Templar.

Not for the Rev. Randy Crum, though. To the local evangelist and pastor of Wayside Emmanuel Church, the concept speaks of a spiritually re-awakened and revived Lawrence County, and he’s already launched a series of the traveling outreaches to win the area for God.

 Crum, who also works full-time for Penn Power, founded Vision Ministries Inc. 12 years ago “to crusade the city and surrounding areas, and to make a difference here.” His past efforts have included bringing programs to the Scottish Rite Cathedral that drew between 1,600 and 2,500 people. Now, though, he’s stepping up his game, organizing teams of local Christians to help him stage quarterly crusades throughout the county, as well as smaller, neighborhood gatherings.

His first crusade took place in October at Wayside, while the second unfolded last weekend at Mohawk High School. He’s planning to make New Castle his next stop in April.

“In New Castle and other areas, crime has gone up, things are tough,” Crum said. “But that’s not the major problem – the major problem is a heart problem; to reach the very core of man. Only God can do that.

“There are a lot of good people who are still here and who want to see things get better. This is the time Vision Ministries is going to come out and do that.”

But if Crum founded Vision Ministries 12 years ago, how is it that he’s just now getting started on the continuous crusades he envisioned then?  One reason is that he’s also preparing to retire from Penn Power.

“I’m going to have more time, and it takes time to do this.”

But any discussion of time begins and ends with God’s time – and that, Crum said, is the chief catalyst for his intensified activity.

“My gift and my calling always have been evangelism,” Crum said. “That was always my intention, and now is the time for that to start happening. I’m going to be 60 years old, and I’m to the place where I’m seasoned, so to speak. I’m not green; I’m not wet behind the ears. I know what to expect and how to get things done with the leading of God.

“People say, ‘You’re 60, why are you starting so late?’ I didn’t start it late; I started it in my late 40s. It’s just that God was building that. If we are open to what God wants us to do, it doesn’t matter the age, He can take 80 or 90; he did it with Moses and different ones throughout the Scriptures. It’s not about an age; it’s about a willingness to serve.”

Still, Crum concedes, both factors are helping to push his outreach.

“I’m getting older, and I want to make a difference,” he said. “I want to go out right. I want to finish well for the Lord.”

His strategy for doing that includes not only larger crusades in such places as Mohawk, New Castle and potentially the Lawrence County Fairgrounds in August, but also visiting individual neighborhoods.

“Nobody’s beating down the doors of our churches, trying to get in,” Crum said. “So we’ve got to take the church to them. There are big things we can do – the Mohawk thing, the Cathedral things – but it’s not only the big things that win, it’s also the little things.

“You’ve got to hit those little pockets, because if you win a big battle over here, but lose four little battles there, you can end up losing the war. So we’ll do a big thing, probably every quarter, but I’m also going to the streets – North Side, East Side, West Side, Riverside, Cascade Park, the projects. We’re going to hit those little battles here, too.”

(Tomorrow: Randy Crum relies first and foremost on God, but also on the gifts of local Christians to drive his crusades.)

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