I've had the pleasure of knowing Robert for several years now. We met when I was researching material for my "First Responders" series (Abingdon Press) and found The First Responders Prayer, written by the right reverend Robert Crutchfield. I wrote to ask his permission to use the prayer in book #1, From Ashes to Honor; not only did he graciously say yes, but allowed me to use the prayer again in Honor Redeemed and A Man of Honor, too.
Father in Heaven,
Please make me strong when others are weak,
brave when others are afraid,
and vigilant when others are distracted by the chaos.
Provide comfort and companionship to my family
when I must be away.
Serve beside me and protect me
as I seek to protect others.
And that isn't all! Robert also allowed me to put him into each story. So when Pastor Wilson, leader of the Denver church attended by Currency of the Heart (book #1, "Secrets on Sterling Street" historical series, Whitaker House) left town for a family emergency, I asked Robert if he minded taking the good reverend's place. Yet again, he said yes. Robert remains at the pulpit in Guardians of the Heart and he'll lead parishioners in Healing of the Heart, too.
It's my honor and privilege to introduce you to my fun, funny, and faith-filled friend, Robert Crutchfield:
Q: So Robert, how long have you lived in Katy, TX?
I have been in Katy a little over 12 years now. I spent my first 41 years in a blue collar suburb near the Houston Ship Channel. I served on the recreation board there, and as precinct chairman and senate district chairman for the local Republican Party. I was quite a big fish in my little pond.
Q: When—and why—did you decide to become a pastor?
I first felt the call to ministry around 1998. Wrote some, served as chaplain to a couple of groups. I didn't feel called to the pastorate until about 5 years ago. Katy is very fast-growing. It needed, and still needs more churches. God really put a burden on my heart to help fill this need. I started preaching out of a nursing home just under three years ago, and we are still there.
Q: Everyone who reads the “First Responders” series comments on the beautiful prayer (above) that you so generously shared for each story. Tell us about your affiliation with first responders and what inspired you to write that prayer.
I have always had a love for our military and first responders...even when I was little. I served as a disaster team member with the Red Cross, then I was a military policeman while in the Texas State Guard. Following that, I spent five years in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, which is technically non-military but gave me an opportunity to work with the fine members of our smallest military branch. Later, I spent about three and a half years as chaplain to the Fire and EMS Department here in Katy. So the short answer is, I'm drawn to first responders because in many ways I am one of them, they are my people.
Q: If you have any awards or certificates, list them here and tell us a little about them…
I have more certificates than wall space! I'll share a few favorites with you. One is my commission as an Admiral in the Texas Navy which was given to me by the Governor of the state of Texas in 1986 when I was 23 years old! It's an interesting document in itself, because it bears the actual embossed seal of the state of Texas, which you don't see "in the wild" very often. I guess then-Governor White saw great things in me back then.
I also have the One Hundred Fathoms Group Award. It's given to the auxiliary members within the district who make the greatest contribution during the course of a year. It comes with its own pennant. When I was in, the personal pennant of a 100 Fathoms Group member was the only civilian flag or pennant that was authorized to fly from an operational vessel of the Eighth Coast Guard District. Another is the Texas Twister Award which was given to me by the American Red Cross for my participation in my first large disaster recovery operation back in May 1983. Back to the U.S.C.G. Auxiliary...I have my Chart Updating Program Honor Roll certificate.This is a national award given to several people each year. It recognizes those who made the greatest contributions to the aid to navigation/chart update program that year. They listed my name in the auxiliary's national magazine and everything, so that was kinda cool! The last one I think you'll really like: It's my certificate from John Hopkins University for completing their online course in Disaster Mental Health Intervention. It's definitely cool, having any piece of paper with my name on it from a school as prestigious as Johns Hopkins, but I'm proud of this certificate because it represents additional preparation that helps me help others who really need it.
Q: Regarding the Compassion Church... what is your personal hope for every parishioner?
That's easy! To help them use their God given gifts to develop an active personal ministry of their own.
Q: Do you have a go-to Bible verse? What makes that one special to you?
Romans 12:21 "Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good." It's special to me for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it's the motto of the Order of St. Isidore of Seville, a group I have twice served as Chaplain-General twice, and once as Governor-General. It also reminds me that as Christians, we are called to make a positive impact on the world around us, while resisting the negative impact the world can have on us. God gave man dominion over the world, not the other way around!
Q: What’s the biggest misconception people have about ‘men of the cloth’?
That we think we're perfect. Most of the time we are running around hoping we don't mess up too badly! That's why we pray and study so hard!
Q: I know you, too, are a writer. Can you tell us a little something about what you’re working on?
My blog, FaithInspires.Org, mostly. My bi-vocational minister's schedule, which includes a full time job outside my ministry, doesn't allow me to do as much original content as I would like. I've long had a dream of writing a book, and God willing, that dream will come true when He sees fit...and when I have the resources to ensure I'll do a first class job.
Q: How long have you been married?
When I met my "Karebear," she was a single mother working at the newspaper here in Katy. She had zero intention of remarrying. We dated, and almost immediately, something snapped inside both of us...and we've been married almost 11 years now. My favorite thing about her is her sacrificial generosity. She would literally take food out of her own mouth so that others could eat. I also like that she is a strong independent woman, but still has the ability to turn to me and say, "Whatever you say, Honey; you're the man of the house."
Q: Do you have kids and grandkids? What’s your favorite thing about being a dad/grandfather?
The hero worship! All my grandkids worship the ground I walk on. It's hard to describe in some ways. There's a special satisfaction in being able to mold a whole new person over time. As a grandparent I am close enough, often enough, to have a profound impact on their development. Still since I do not have the day to day responsibility for the nuts and bolts of their lives, I have a certain distance that can be helpful. The nicest thing my wife ever said about me was when she told our oldest grandson that "Papa loves everybody."
Q: How can people reach you?
The easiest way to reach me or Compassion Church of Katy is to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My blog is at www.faithinspires.org. I am on Facebook at www.facebook.com/revcrutchfield, and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/revcrutchfield. In addition Faith That Inspires Action (my blog) and Compassion Church of Katy have their own pages on Facebook.
Thanks, Robert! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you a little better, and I'm tickled pink that others now have a chance to get to know you, too. I'm sure everyone reading this appreciates that you took time from your busy schedule to share a little of yourself with us!