Crawford retiring from CCLEL

John Crawford

John Crawford

John Crawford, who for 12 years has served on staff for the Arkansas Conference, has announced he will retire at the end of 2014.

Crawford developed the laity component of the Conference’s Connected in Christ program, which was the predecessor to the current Center for Clergy and Laity Excellence in Leadership (CCLEL). He now serves as assistant director of the CCLEL.

Connected in Christ was how Northeast District lay leader Charles Long developed a solid working relationship and friendship with Crawford.

“I told John if, in the future, he needed some help to let me know. Not to let a volunteer get past him, he called me the next week,” Long said. “John and I have planted a lot of seeds together, and the harvest will come someday. I can truly say John was instrumental in strengthening my relationship with God and the Methodist Church. What more can be expected of a friend? “

The Rev. Davis Thompson of First UMC North Little Rock calls Crawford an important voice of the laity and their ministry.

“His passion is to allow his gifts and talents, honed in the secular arenas, to be applied for good in the ministry of Christ’s church,” Thompson said. “While I often cringed when he said, ‘I’m just a layman,’ it reminded me that while I have been blessed to be ordained to full time ministry in the church, laity are called to full time ministry to the world through the church. I am thankful to John for this continuing revelation.”

The Rev. Dede Roberts, director of the CCLEL, also first met Crawford through his work with Connected in Christ. She appreciates his positive spirit and candor, as well as his firm belief that pastors and churches can make a real difference in lives, communities and the world.

“He has been willing to invest his time and considerable talent into helping us get where God was calling us to go,” she said. “I will miss him on the CCLEL staff, but I am pleased that he and Susan will have more time for travel and gardening and family.”