Billy Graham Center

Interviews with Crawford Wheeler Loritts - Collection 419

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Crawford Wheeler Loritts

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection

Brief Description.
Two interviews in which Loritts discusses his childhood, family, conversion, education, perception of racial conditions as he experienced them, evangelistic ministry, church planting projects, 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, Bill Bright, management trends among evangelical organizations, organizational finances, the reorganization of CCC, and evangelicals' utilization of African Americans in their institutions.
Vol: 4 Reels of Audio Tape

Collection 419
[April 8, 2000]
Loritts, Crawford Wheeler; 1950-
Interviews; 1989-1990

4 Reels Audio Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


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.

Scope and Content

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. The time period covered by the interviews is from 1950 to 1990. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of the topics discussed in the interview. The index is keyed to a cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original. The boldfaced entries are intended to highlight the topics covered in the interview.

T1 - Side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:30 Introduction to interview on June 24, 1990.
00:45 Family: religious environment; father's character, values, influence; playing baseball in the old Negro League; great grandfather; transference of values through generations; mother's background and influence.
13:15 Religious environment of home, impact of sister's conversion, own conversion and spiritual development and responsibility.
20:00 First sermon preached, contribution to establishing fellowship groups in high school and college.
25:00 Racial attitudes in America: awareness as a child, family countermeasures while growing up and with his children, white evangelicals and racism, leadership among Black evangelicals, parent's stories and attitudes.
39:00 [Break in interview to change interview site to the O'Hare Hilton.] Continuation on racial attitudes and his family's response to them. Evangelicals' preoccupation with management and product; their inability to speak prophetically.
46:30 End of Side 1.

T1 - Side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from Side 1.
01:30 Continuation on management trends among evangelicals. Role of world crises to shake the American church. Observations about cultures of evangelicals and organizations.
06:30 Significant influences: mentors, including Bill Bright; childhood accident which created sense of destiny.
12:30 Philadelphia College of Bible: decision to attend, desire to serve, his role in encouraging evangelism.
18:30 End of Side 2.

T2 - Side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:45 Continuation on Philadelphia College of Bible: program, evaluation of education, ministry assignment to fulfill school requirement, racial composition.
05:15 Overview of activities: American Missionary Fellowship, Olan Hendrix, reasons for joining, responsibilities, training for Christian leadership; church planting in Dallas with Tony Evans, desire to test ministry model for mobilizing congregations; church planting in Canton, Mississippi; Campus Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC): speaking and invitation to join to reach black students.
14:30 Chicago '81 conference: opposition by black Christians contrasted with large attendance; Here's Life Black America: formation, programs; Destiny '87 and Destiny Inc.; other activities; reaction to increased responsibility.
22:15 American Missionary Fellowship: job description, activities.
26:30 Response to frustration in ministry.
28:45 Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship: church planting work with Tony Evans, role of prayer and evangelism, facility as identity, role of demographics in growth, comparison with other black churches, impact of experience on theoretical model.
41:15 Personal philosophy about activating congregations for evangelism. Dynamics in team ministry and necessity of leader.
45:00 End of Side 1.

T2 - Side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from Side 1.
01:00 Continuation on team ministry and leadership dynamics; emerging conflict from having two leaders; resolution.
03:45 Church planting in Canton, Mississippi: influential people, impact of experience on theoretical model, comparison with holistic model used in Mendenhall (Mendenhall Ministries), Jackson (Voice of Calvary Ministries) and Oak Cliff.
09:30 End of Side 2 and interview.

T3 - Side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:45 Introduction to interview on April 21, 1990.
01:00 Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC): recruitment and employment of Loritts; training, initial assignment and traveling. Speaking responsibilities and conviction about not soliciting speaking engagements.
11:15 CCC: ethnic composition predominantly white, high employment longevity among African Americans, high priority given to placing minorities in strategic leadership positions; favorable staff response to hiring of Loritts.
16:00 Racial attitudes compared with those during the 1960's; prevalence of careerism, management concerns and individualism in evangelical agencies. CCC attempts to counteract tendencies and personal hopes for the 1990's in face of national crises.
25:15 CCC: reorganization, divisions and activities. Church Resource Group emphases and activities. Priority of ministry to the world.
35:00 Changes CCC implemented to counteract individualism and rekindle commitment to ministry's vision. Spontaneous reemphasis on prayer, example of Bill Bright.
41:30 Bill Bright: character and impact on organization.
45:45 End of Side 1.

T3 - Side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from Side 1.
01:15 Continuation about Bill Bright; leadership Bright has developed for continuity in CCC.
03:15 Here's Life Black America (HLBA): early days, finances. Conviction that money should not be the final factor in decision making.
10:15 HLBA emphases: 1) leadership development in evangelism and discipleship, 2) catalytic events (i.e. Destiny '87), 3) urban family life conferences, and 4) producing resources.
15:00 HLBA: disappointments, stresses, frustrations, lessons.
17:45 End of Side 2.

T4 - Side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Destiny '87: origins, influential people, goals, planning, Destiny Movement Inc., criticism from the African American church, results, participants, finances and fund raising, obstacles, highlights.
18:45 Atlanta '88: relationship to Destiny '87, emphasis on evangelism and discipleship.
21:30 Family conferences of Here's Life Black America: origins, emphasis, comparison with those of the Institute for Black Family Development.
26:45 Comparison of cooperation among white evangelicals with that among black evangelicals; sharing resources; identity, vision and leadership of black evangelicals, necessity for greater cooperation among all evangelicals.
34:30 Shifting terminology to describe to African Americans; divisiveness of organizational title (Here's Life Black America) questioned.
36:30 End of Side 1 and interview.


The materials in this collection were received by the Center in June 1989 and April 1990 from Crawford Loritts, Jr.

Acc. 89-65, 90-45
May 17, 1990
Paul A. Ericksen
C. Easley

Accession #: 89-65, 90-45
Type of material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the Audio Tape File:

#T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 65 minutes, one side only. Interview with Crawford Loritts, Jr. by Paul A. Ericksen. Discussion of family life (particularly influence of his father); conversion, spiritual growth and evangelism; education (particularly at Philadelphia College of Bible); management trends in American evangelicalism; and racial attitudes and condition in the United States. Recorded on June 24, 1989.

#T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 55 minutes, one side only. Continuation of interview with Loritts by Paul A. Ericksen. Discussion of management trends; education at Philadelphia College of Bible; evangelism with American Missionary Fellowship; church planting under the auspices of Black Evangelistic Enterprise in Canton, Mississippi and with Anthony T. Evans in Dallas; the dynamics of team ministry; working for Campus Crusade for Christ; planning Chicago '81 conference; establishing Here's Life Black America; and planning Destiny '87 conference. Recorded on June 24, 1989.

#T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 60 minutes, one side only. Interview with Crawford Loritts, Jr. by Paul A. Ericksen. Discussion of his joining Campus Crusade for Christ, its inclusion of minorities and reorganization, Bill Bright, Here's Life Black America, fund raising, and management and individualism trends in evangelical agencies. Recorded on April 21, 1990.

#T4 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 40 minutes, one side only. Continuation of interview with Loritts by Paul A. Ericksen. Discussion of Destiny '87, Atlanta '87, and cooperation among evangelicals. Recorded on April 21, 1990.

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