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Collection 419 Oral History Interviews with Crawford W. Loritts, Jr.

 Collection
Identifier: CN-419
Oral history interviews with Crawford Wheeler Loritts, Jr., in which he discusses his childhood; family; conversion; education at Philadelphia College of Bible; perception of racial conditions as he experienced them; evangelistic ministry; church planting projects with of Black Evangelistic Enterprise in Canton, Mississippi, and with Tony Evans in Dallas Other topics discussed include: American Missionary Fellowship; Tony Evans; Here's Life Black America; Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ. The second interview covers Here's Life Black America in more detail, as well as the Destiny '87 Conference; more on Bill Bright; management trends among evangelical organizations; organizational finances; the reorganization of CCC; and evangelicals' utilization of African Americans in their institutions. The time period covered by the interviews is 1950-1990.

Crawford Loritts was interviewed by Paul Ericksen on June 24, 1989 at the Delta Crown Room and O'Hare Hilton at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois. Ericksen conducted a second interview on April 21, 1990 in Loritts' hotel room at the Congress Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

Dates

  • Created: 1950-1990

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Extent

4.00 audio_tapes

182 minutes other_unmapped

Biographical or Historical Information

Crawford Wheeler Loritts Jr. was born February 11, 1950 in Newark, New Jersey. He had two older sisters. His family moved to Plainfield, New Jersey in 1962, where he lived until his late teenage years. Loritts grew up in a Christian home and made his own profession of faith in 1963. After completing high school, he attended Alma White College in Zarephath, New Jersey for one year. He then entered Philadelphia College of Bible (PCB), majoring in pastoral studies. He graduated from PCB 1972.

Loritts was an active Christian worker following his conversion. He preached his first sermon at the age of sixteen. While a student in high school, Alma White and at PCB, he was instrumental in establishing groups for Bible study, fellowship and evangelism.

After graduating from PCB, Loritts worked with American Missionary Fellowship (AMF) as an evangelist and resource for mobilizing local congregations for evangelism. In 1976, Loritts began working under the auspices of Black Evangelistic Enterprise (BEE) along with Anthony T. Evans on a church planting project in Dallas. The result of their team ministry was the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, which Evans continued to lead as senior pastor in 1990. Loritts also participated in the establishment of a second church, Canton Bible Church, in Canton, Mississippi.

While working with BEE, Loritts was used as a resource speaker by Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), to reach African American students on university campuses. In 1978 he was invited to join CCC, which he did. After an initial period of orientation, training and campus ministry, Loritts worked primarily as a speaker to campus groups. In 1981, after he developed a concern for American urban areas, Loritts coordinated a convention to encourage African American Christians to be involved in evangelism. Chicago '81 involved two thousand participants, and led in 1982 to the formation of Here's Life Black America (HLBA), of which Loritts was appointed the national director. HLBA, a division within CCC, was established "to serve as a catalyst in Black America to see God bring about: a rich harvest of souls throughout Black America; a spiritual awakening throughout Black America; the development and mobilization of manpower from Black America to reach the world for Jesus Christ." Among HLBA's activities were the production of resources, conducting leadership and pastors conference, and family life conferences.

In 1987, HLBA coordinated another conference: Destiny '87. Loritts and other African American evangelical leaders shared a concern that traditional evangelical mission agencies were not adequately recruiting or utilizing minority staff and that minority evangelicals needed to participate in ministry not only in their own communities but in ministry to the entire world. The conference, held in Atlanta, brought together African American evangelical leaders and missionaries and representatives of evangelical mission agencies. By-products of the conference were an increased recruitment and use of minorities by agencies, and the formation of Destiny Movement, Inc.

Within Campus Crusade, Loritts also chaired the Minority Task Force, whose purpose was to "address the need to accelerate minority recruitment" and extend employment longevity among minority staff. In 1988, he was appointed the national director of CCC's Church Resource Group, which coordinated the ministry of seven divisions: Here's Life Black America, Church Dynamics, New Life Resources, Here's Life Inner City, the US prayer ministry, military ministry and prison ministry. As of 1990, Loritts continued to serve on the staff of Campus Crusade.

Loritts also served on several organizational boards, including that of Columbia Bible College & Seminary, SIM International, Destiny Movement, Inc., and the advisory board of the Billy Graham Center's Institute of Evangelism. Prior to and throughout his tenure with Campus Crusade, Loritts spoke in conferences, churches, conventions and evangelistic outreaches throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the United States. He also authored a book, A Passionate Commitment: Recapturing Your Sense of Purpose.

Loritts married Karen Williams, whom he met when both were students at Philadelphia College of Bible. They had two sons and two daughters.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by by Crawford Loritts, Jr. in June 1989 and April 1990.

Acc. 89-65, 90-45

May 17, 1990

Paul A. Ericksen

C. Easley
Title
Collection 419 Oral History Interviews with Crawford W. Loritts, Jr.
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Billy Graham Center Archives Repository

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