Cattle For Christ, A New Brand of Ministry
By Debra Davis
A gentle breeze swayed tall green grass as fat black cows munched peacefully nearby, unaware that their mission in life is to help spread God's word. It's a plan devised by Enterprise native Glenn Crumpler, who founded Cattle for Christ International in 2001 and serves as its president.
|Glenn Crumpler frolics with children in a village where he and other volunteers worked to improve cattle herds.|
"I look back now and see that this was part of God's plan for my life all along," said Crumpler who, after retiring from the military, entered the ministry. "I had always had cattle. Even when I worked full-time with the Alabama Army National Guard, I had a few mama cows. But when I was called to the ministry, I actually prayed that God would take away my love for cattle so I could better serve Him."
Crumpler did sell his cattle while attending seminary school, but during his final year there he came up with the idea of Cattle for Christ.
Even though he had served as a pastor and associate pastor, Crumpler said he felt God's plan was for him to use his experience as a minister and a cattleman to spread His word.
"I feel like before I even knew His plan, he was giving me the foundation for this ministry," Crumpler said. "My education, pastor experience and love of cattle all played a part of it. When I was in seminary school, I assumed I would work in a church. God didn't take away my love for cattle as I had prayed for, but he filled me with the passion for the poor and the lost -- people who hadn't had the opportunity to hear the gospel.
"I still don't see all the pieces of God's plan for me yet, but I've seen enough to know it's definitely God's leadership through every bit of it."
Cattle For Christ is a non-denominational 501(c)(3) non-profit organization run by a volunteer board of directors. Although Crumpler works tirelessly to raise money for the organization, even his salary is determined through earmarked donations. The entire ministry operates off donations and has never borrowed money. Ninety percent of every dollar donated to Cattle for Christ is used for mission work, while only 10 percent is used for administrative costs.
Even the organization's office on the outskirts
of Enterprise is donated.
Originally, the mission work was funded through donations of cattle given to the ministry. Some cattlemen chose to tithe to the ministry by donating a calf a year, or others would give a bull or cow that was sold for the organization.
Two years ago, Crumpler said the Lord gave him the idea of starting a Cattle for Christ herd as a way to more permanently fund the ministry.
"Before we even announced it, we had received three beautiful heifers," he said. "It was God's way of providing what we needed, when we needed it."
To date, the herd has grown to 160 brood cows and 100 calves. The herd boasts some of the top genetics among Registered Black Angus cattle in the United States. Cattlemen across the country have donated high-quality cows, semen for the farm's artificial insemination program and top bulls from famous ranches were given to the ministry.
Crumpler's best friend for more than 30 years, Jack McIntosh of Enterprise, is his right-hand-man on the farm. He's also a member of the Cattle for Christ International Board of Directors.
While Crumpler is traveling, which is a large amount of the time, McIntosh sees to the day-to-day operation of the farm.
"We're very particular about every dollar we spend," McIntosh said. "First, because it was given to this ministry and secondly because we have only a limited number of dollars to spend. We make every dollar count."
Anyone can donate to the ministry -- not just cattlemen. The farm's equipment was either donated or purchased at greatly reduced prices. Grazing land, nearly 200 acres, is donated or rented from local owners at a reduced rate. Maintenance on the equipment is donated as is feed, seed and fertilizer.
"The Lord truly has blessed us, and provides what we need," Crumpler said. "Because we don't borrow money, we may have to work harder until we can get the money or equipment we need, but if He doesn't provide it, we just do without it."
Like most cattlemen, Crumpler works hard every day. Sometimes it's on the farm; other days, he's traveling across the country to attend cow sales as a guest speaker or to preach. He still goes on mission trips - he's been to so many countries it's hard for him to recall how many.
But his focus is clear.
"Our number-one goal is to take the gospel and love of Christ to all the world with a focus on the under-reached people," Crumpler said. "A third of the world -- 2.4 billion people -- has never once heard the name of Jesus. Another third has heard His name, but know Him as a prophet or a teacher, but not as their savior."
To accomplish that goal, Crumpler said he can't always preach in the traditional evangelistic way. That's where his work ethic and love of cattle help him show God's love.
"In some of these areas, we're helping them learn how to raise cattle for their families or how to improve the genetics in the cattle they may already have," he said. "Sometimes it just makes a difference to them that a total stranger cares about them and loves them."
Relying on donations, Crumpler said he's thankful that cattlemen are such a generous bunch, adding that he's never met a cattleman that doesn't believe God exists.
"Cattlemen see all the miracles that God performs on a daily basis," he said. "They witness the birth of a calf; plant seeds and see them sprout from the earth. God gives us rain and sunshine when we need it. They see His hand in everything they do."