The End of an Era

Reflecting on the Impact of the San Jose State Crusade House

To read the pdf version of this letter, click here.


A few weeks ago I received an e-mail with some sad news. The Crusade House that I lived in my first 3 years on staff with Cru, would no longer exist after this school year.

It seems that the house has changed ownership and the new owners decided not to renew the lease to the students who are living there. Hence, the house that has served as a hub of ministry activity for San Jose State Cru will no longer serve in that capacity.

The Cru house was the brain child of Don Wilcox, who was the director of the San Jose State ministry when I arrived in 1989. As far back as the early 1980’s, Don envisioned a house close to campus that could serve as a beachhead for ministry on campus. Don saw the advantage of challenging young men to live together and sharpen one another as disciples for Christ, being raised up as leaders for the campus movement.

The Crusade House in 2010. The house was a hub for campus ministry for nearly 30 years.

The Crusade House in 2010. The house was a hub for campus ministry for nearly 30 years.

In 1984, Don was able to secure a house within a block of campus that would serve as the Crusade house for nearly 30 years. During that span, dozens of men have lived in that house and hundreds of lives have been impacted through the ministry of the house.

For me, the house was an incredible part of my own spiritual journey. It was the first place I lived on my own after moving away from home. Living with 12 other guys who all loved the Lord and were committed to following Him was incredibly challenging and motivating to me.

The house provided an opportunity for me to grow up and develop healthy relationships with others.

Joshua 24.15 - "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Joshua 24.15 – “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

It was a great place for ministry as well. I led Bible studies, prayer meetings and training times. I hosted parties and discipled guys right there in the house.

One of my fondest memories of the house happened within weeks of my arrival on campus. We held a prayer meeting at the house on a Friday night and somewhere during that meeting, there was a knock at the door and then a young man walked in.

Eric Oxford looked like a “deer in the headlights” as he stumbled into our prayer meeting that night. Clearly, he didn’t realize what he was walking into, but to our surprise, he acted as if he intended to be there and he decided to join us.

Afterwards, I introduced myself to Eric and found out a little bit about him. I learned that Eric was a transfer student and one of his friends from back home was living in the house and was involved with Cru. Being a Friday night, he decided to come over and hang out with his friend. That’s when Eric mistakenly stumbled into our prayer meeting.

Eric Oxford came to Christ when he inadvertently walked into a prayer meeting at the Crusade House.

Eric Oxford came to Christ when he inadvertently walked into a prayer meeting at the Crusade House.

Eric admitted that he was too embarrassed to turn around and leave so he decided to stick around. I asked Eric if we could meet up on campus the next week and he agreed.

The next week I shared the gospel with Eric. God had prepared his heart and to my excitement, he trusted the Lord with his life right there in the student union.

Eric joined a Bible study I was leading and for the next four years, I had the privilege of building a relationship with Eric and discipling him.

The next year, Eric moved into the house and lived there for several years, experiencing exceptional spiritual growth as a newer believer. He was not only my disciple, but he was my housemate, and he became one of my dear friends.

Today, Eric and his wife live in the Sacramento area and they both are walking with the Lord, desiring to serve Him as teachers.

I believe that God’s primary instrument for impacting lives is people. But the Crusade House reminds me that God can also use resources like a house to influence others towards His purposes. Though I’m sad to see the legacy of the house come to an end, I praise God for the role the house played in my own spiritual development and in the lives of guys like Eric.

I praise God too for the role you have played and are playing in helping to reach people for Christ! We are so grateful for you.

If you have a resource, like a house, that could be used for ministry purposes such as a team retreat or special meeting, please let us know. The Lord could use your resource to dramatically impact a life for Him.

The Power of Partnership

How many people does it take to impact a life for Christ? Read on to find out.

(Click here to read the pdf version of “The Lowedown”)

Earlier this month, I spent perhaps my longest period of time on the road away from my family.

As you know, Jen and I are transitioning to a new ministry of Cru called Cru City, where we will be investing our time and energy into reaching out to Millennials in Orange County.

Jim partnered financially with Andy Henry...

Jim partnered financially with Andy Henry…

Before we officially launch this new endeavor, we’re taking time to raise some much needed funds that will enable us to continue ministering full-time for the Lord.

While I was on the road raising funds, I had the opportunity to meet with my friend Jim Gove. I first wrote about Jim in our May, 2005 newsletter, which you can read here.

I love meeting with Jim, first of all, because he has such a passion for the Lord and he’s one of the most encouraging guys I know.

But I also enjoy Jim because he is a reminder to me of the power and fruit of partnership in the gospel. Let me explain.

Years ago, Jim began supporting a young missionary named Andy Henry who had just graduated from Sacramento State University and was raising funds to join Cru’s full-time staff.

...who led a Bible study with a student named Dave Butts...

…who led a Bible study with a student named Dave Butts…

When Andy completed his team, he showed up at Cal Poly, Pomona, where I happened to be attending.

One of the students who was in a Bible study led by Andy was Dave Butts. Andy encouraged Dave to invest a summer of his life on a summer project, knowing that it would be critical to Dave’s spiritual development and ministry training. After much persistence from Andy, Dave decided to attend a summer missions project in Lake Tahoe, where he learned to share his faith.

After that summer, Dave returned to Cal Poly and his on-campus job. As the Lord would have it, I got a job on campus working with Dave. In addition, we became study partners for a class that we happened to have together (are you getting a picture of God’s providence?)

Dave Butts played a key role in my renewed commitment to Christ.

…who played a key role in my renewed commitment to Christ.

One night while studying together, Dave shared the gospel with me. Though I was already a believer, I wasn’t walking with the Lord at the time, and that conversation was the beginning of a spiritual journey that led to me making a recommitment to the Lord several months later.

I immediately got involved in Campus Crusade on campus and I ended up in a Bible study led by a guy named Mark Matzaganian. I had known Mark a few years before and I did NOT remember him being a Christian, much less a religious person at all.

It turns out that Mark had met Andy on campus a few years earlier and Andy led Mark to Christ after sharing the gospel with him. Mark was now a leader in Cru and became my Bible study leader and discipler during my 5th year.

Mark came to Christ through Andy and became my Bible study leader and discipler.

Mark came to Christ through Andy and became my Bible study leader and discipler.

Years later, I met Jim when he showed up for an outreach event we hosted at UC Davis with Hugh Ross. Jim was part of a local “Reasons To Believe” chapter and was there to man the resource table for Dr. Ross’s ministry.

A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to meet with Jim and hear more of his story. What amazed me was when I learned that he was a financial partner in Andy Henry’s ministry.

Imagine Jim’s surprise when I was able to share with him how he had directly influenced my life through his financial partnership with Andy!

We don’t often get the privilege of seeing the living results of the ministry investments we make. But my hope and prayer is that some day you might randomly meet a believer and through the course of your conversation learn that they had been impacted spiritually because you chose to financially partner with a missionary couple, Dave & Jennifer Lowe, who had influenced them to live for Christ.

How many people does God use to impact a life? Too many to count!

I thank God for Jim Gove and how his investment has impacted my life through people like Andy Henry, Dave Butts and Mark Matzaganian. And we thank the Lord for you and your partnership with us, which has impacted so many other lives for Christ!

Learning About 20-Somethings

Connecting to the Culture of this Generation

Click here to download the pdf version of The Lowedown.


images taken from

Earlier this week, Jen and I watched a bit of the Grammys. It was a stark reminder to me of how different the current culture is to the one of my youth.

Most of the Grammy buzz was focused on Queen Latifah who presided over a mass marriage ceremony of 34 gay and straight couples while rapper Macklemore sang his hit song “Same Love”. Latifah quipped, “Whatever god you believe in we came from the same one.” It’s incredibly bad theology but unfortunately it’s a philosophy which many in the popular culture endorse and follow.

Another stark moment came for me when Country newcomer Kacey Musgraves appeared on stage to perform her hit song “Follow Your Arrow.” The song is about how there will always be people who will question you no matter what decision you make. While there is some truth in that, Musgrave’s response is “You’re damed if you do and damed if you don’t so you might as well do whatever you want.” While I wasn’t shocked, I guess I was a bit surprised to hear this ode to Post-modernism and Relativism coming from the Country music genre.

images from

images from

Popular blogger Ed Stetzer posted his thoughts online after the Grammys. Stetzer suggested that we as Christians should seek ways to engage the culture instead of just complaining about the things we don’t like, as we are often apt to do. He also pointed out that the Grammys don’t really reflect the true values of our country. While I agree with Stetzer that we need to find ways to lovingly engage this culture instead of just complaining, I also think that the Grammys are a reflection of what many in our country think and believe and while not necessarily reflective of everyone, it definitely demonstrates how values are trending.

As Jen and I transition to working with Millennials, we’re looking for ways to better understand our culture, particularly this generation known as Millennials. What do they think and believe and why do they believe the things they do? Why are they the least churched generation in our culture and why are they so skeptical of religion and corporate America?

While we still have much to learn, we were able to get some good input yesterday as we attended the Barna Frames event that occurred live here in Orange County. The concept of Frames is to read short books on engaging topics related to our culture in order to be better informed and hopefully better equipped to reach this culture. (see for more information on the Frames concept)

One of the topics presented was on 20-Somethings. Dr. David Kim spoke on “The New Shape of Young Adulthood.” There was a lot of great information that will be helpful to us as we move forward in working with Millennials.

images from

images from

One of the things Dr. Kim talked about was how many global tragedies and scandals this generation has been exposed to growing up that are unprecedented compared to previous generations. From the terror of 9-11 and school shootings, to numerous political scandals as well as extreme examples of corporate greed such as the Enron scandal, it’s no wonder that this generation is extremely skeptical of everyone and everything. In fact, Dr. Kim mentioned that 1 in 4 Millennials are likely to fact check a sermon on their phone while sitting in the pew!

Yet for all this generation has been exposed to, Kim says they are less sarcastic than the previous “Seinfeld” generation. They are generally more hopeful and that is a reason for us to have hope!

We have the greatest hope ever in the message of the gospel. Pray with us and for us as we seek to present the true message of hope to this generation of 20-somethings!

The Year in Review

A Year of Transitions and Graduations

It’s been said that the one thing that is constant in life is change. 2013 proved to be a year of transitions for us. Some were expected and others were quite unexpected.

One of the expected transitions we experienced this year was Jacob and Joshua graduating from elementary school to bona fide junior highers. It’s amazing to think about the growth and development of our twin boys, who are truly a gift from the Lord. We are so proud of the young men they are becoming. They excelled academically in grade school and have transitioned well to junior high. Even though the amount of home work has increased dramatically, they’ve persevered and continued to excel in all of their coursework.



Left: Joshua (left) and Jacob at 5 years old. Middle: Joshua (left) and Jacob entering the school yard for the very first time. Right: Joshua (left) and Jacob at 12 years old.


Jacob and Joshua continue to develop spiritually as well. A highlight for us was when the boys decided in October that they wanted to get baptized. See my November 13th post on to read more.

An unplanned transition for us occurred over the summer when we officially “graduated” from the mini-van stage as a family. After 12 years of faithful service, we decided it was time to retire our mini-van. An interesting factoid is that we sold our mini-van to Michael Jordan. No, not THE Michael Jordan, but a guy like the one in this funny SportsCenter video:


Left: our old ride we sold to Michael Jordan! Right: Our new ride!







Our hope was to raise enough money to purchase a new vehicle outright. While we fell short of that goal, the Lord did provide for a down payment on a reliable used vehicle that we hope will serve our family for many years to come. Thanks to those of you whose contributions helped to provide a newer vehicle for us. We are grateful for how the Lord constantly takes care of our needs.

Finally, we experienced an unexpected transition when, after 25 years of working with the Campus Ministry of Cru, we transitioned to a new ministry and new endeavor with Cru City. We’ll be working to establish a ministry among Millennials, those who are 18-30 years old in our culture and who have been described as the least churched group within our society. I guess you could say that we’ve finally graduated from working with college students to ministering to those in the post-college age group. I guess we’re all growing up! You can read more about our transition to Cru City by visiting our website and reading our October newsletter.

Thank you for praying for us and partnering with us through all of the transitions life brings. We are excited to see what 2014 brings!

Click here to read the pdf version of the Lowedown.


The Thanksgiving Tree

A picture of our Thanksgiving tree on our Kitchen counter

A picture of our Thanksgiving tree on our Kitchen counter

This November, Jen initiated a new tradition in our house. We call it the thanksgiving
tree. It’s a pretty simple idea. A handful of long, slim branches placed in a vase with dozens of cutout paper leaves attached with ribbons. Every night at dinner, one of us would pull a paper leaf off the tree and read a Bible verse that was printed on it related to giving thanks. We would then go around the table and share something we were thankful for.

Since we agreed not to repeat thoughts from previous days, it was a great opportunity to
expand our hearts and think about blessings beyond the biggies like my home, my family
and the food on the table.

Last week, Jen and I attended our staff conference to say goodbye to the friends and colleagues we have worked with for the past 25 years. It was a bittersweet moment to share our vision with them concerning our new direction and also brought a moment of finality to our 25 years of ministering to college students. We were truly thankful.

In the midst of saying goodbye, we received an enormous amount of encouragement and words of thanks and gratitude for our years of service and the impact we’ve been blessed to make in the lives of students and staff in our region.

Below are a few notes that encouraged us, and hopefully will encourage you as well.
As we read through all the notes that were given to us, we were particularly encouraged to hear about the indirect impact we have made in the lives of people we have never met.

Like us, you may not directly know all of the people whose lives have been impacted
through your partnership, but your impact is real nonetheless.

As November ends and the Thanksgiving season is officially
behind us, we are incredibly thankful for you, our ministry partners.
Because of your prayers and generous giving, we are able to
influence many lives for the sake of Christ!

Chris Warren is a graduate of UC Davis where he was involved with Cru for 4 years. Chris now serves as the director of Cru at the University of Arizona.

“Dear Dave & Jen,

I want to thank you two so much as you’ve both significantly influenced me. Your faithfulness has led us to where we are today. So thank you!”

- Chris Warren is a graduate of UC Davis where he was involved with Cru for 4 years. Chris now serves as the director of Cru at the University of Arizona.

“Dear Dave & Jen – You guys rock! It’s a privilege to labor alongside such faithful people and to see you continue following Jesus wherever He takes you. As someone who found Jesus and grew up in faith at Davis when you were leading there, I can never repay you for the change in my life (Jesus can, though, so stay tuned for that). You make such a difference in our world!”

- Beth Sekishiro is a UC Davis graduate and now serves on staff with Cru at Cal Poly, Pomona.

Lucas Mathews“Dave & Jen – I’ve never met you but I am a UC Davis grad. I understand that you started the movement at Davis. I wanted to thank you because through that movement I came to know Jesus and now I am interning with Cru at UC Davis. None of that would have happened without your vision and passion to reach my campus. God Bless!”

- Lucas Mathews came to know Christ at UC Davis through Cru and is now serving as an intern with Cru.

Click here to read the pdf version of The Lowedown.


We want to be Baptized!

Jacob and Joshua - October 20, 2013

Jacob and Joshua – October 20, 2013

Recently, I came across a picture from 2006. Jacob and Joshua were holding up a Good News booklet after they both had made a decision to trust in Jesus.

Jacob and Joshua proudly hold up their Good News booklet after having received Christ.

Jacob and Joshua proudly hold up their Good News booklet after having received Christ.

Over the years, we’ve had a number of conversations about their decision and whenever our church had planned a baptism time at the beach, we talked to them about it. But they were always a bit hesitant to take that step to publicly identify themselves as followers of Jesus via baptism.

A few weeks ago, unexpectedly, they both came home from their Wednesday night youth group meeting and announced that they wanted to get baptized.

So that Sunday, after the service, they both took the plunge, literally, to identify to everyone their desire to follow Christ.

It was an exciting moment for us as parents to see our boys growing spiritually and desiring to live for Christ.

We wanted to share that moment with you and say thanks for your prayers for us and our family. It has meant a lot to us to have dear friends and partners in the gospel praying for our family and our boys and their spiritual development.

Please keep praying for us and our family. And don’t hesitate to share any prayer needs you might have with us!

Dave & Jen

Jacob baptism

Jacob being baptized!

Jacob baptized!

Jacob baptized!











Joshua being baptized

Joshua preparing to go under!






Joshua baptized!

Joshua is baptized!



We’re Moving Again!


5 years ago this month, we packed up all of our possessions and moved our family from Northern California, where we had spent the previous 10 years, to Southern California, where we stepped into a new role as Ethnic Field Ministry Directors. Our job has been to help start new movements on campuses everywhere to reach students of the many different cultures that exist on our campuses, and also to create a culture of faith, awareness and boldness for our staff to step outside of their comfort zone to take the gospel to students of every culture, planting new ministries that would grow and multiply and become self-sustaining.

While there were many road bumps along the way, I look back at the last five years and am amazed at all that God has done. Space doesn’t allow me to list all of the ministries that have been started or all that He’s done. What’s really exciting is that our ethnic ministries have grown and now have their own staff and national leaders.

Over the past 18 months Jen and I have sensed that our role was like that of John the Baptist as our role has decreased while the role of other leaders has naturally increased.

This past spring, we sensed the Lord telling us that our “mission” was accomplished and it was time to take the next step. It was a scary moment for us because we weren’t sure what that next step was. We identified with Abraham as we stepped out of our role before knowing where we were going. It made for an interesting summer of contemplation and reflection on our gifts, passions and experiences as we sought to reaffirm and redefine our calling. We’ve truly been on a faith journey these past 5 months.

One of the opportunities that was presented to us was the opportunity to start something new. As a pioneer, my interest was instantly piqued.

Through the leadership program Jen was involved in the past two years, we learned about a new ministry called Cru City. Specifically, we learned about an incredible need and opportunity to reach Millennials, the group of people in our culture who are 18-30 years old and who are extremely skeptical and turned off by traditional Christianity and evangelical approaches.

After much prayer and counsel, Jen and I have accepted the role as Orange County Directors for Cru City. So we’re not moving locations but we are moving our ministry focus! Our primary role will be to work with churches and volunteers to establish a movement among Millennials that will reach those who are lost and equip them to follow Jesus and impact others for Christ in their workplace, in their neighborhoods and among their families.

In short, we want to see this group, which has been described as the least evangelized segment of our culture, transformed for Christ and His church. After all, these are the next generation of church leaders.

In the coming months, we’ll share more about our ministry and the strategic nature of reaching this audience. For now, please pray for us as we seek to secure all of the funding that’s necessary to start this new endeavor and continue to work full-time for the Lord. And pray with us for this generation. They are lost and desperately need Jesus.

We’re so grateful for you and your partnership with us. Together, we’ve made a great impact for the Lord and great opportunities lie before us!

To read the pdf version of The Lowedown, click here.

Brief Update and Prayer Requests

Hello friends!
For the past month, Jen and I have been on a sabbatical. After 8 year with Cru, staff members are eligible for a one month sabbatical. Staff members can take a one month sabbatical every four years after that as well.

Though I’ve been on staff with Cru for nearly 25 years we’ve taken only one 3 week sabbatical 9 years ago. So we were very excited to be able to take the extra time to read, prayer walk, study and converse about what God is doing in our lives and in our ministry. It has been a great time. We’re now getting back into the swing of things with ministry and e-mails and all that. I wanted to ask if you would pray for a few specific things for us:

Please pray for Jen as she is in Orlando all week at some leadership meetings. I’m trying to keep the house afloat and help the kids with school work, etc.

Speaking of school, please pray for our kids who are adjusting to life as jr. highers. It has been quite an adjustment with the level of homework being much more than anticipated. Pray for patience too for me as I seem to have picked up a part-time job as math tutor! :)

For the next several months, we’ll be in a season of very focused fund-raising for our ministry. Please pray for the Lord to meet all of our needs and to provide the resources necessary for us to continue to serve Him in the capacity to which He has call us.

I’m planning to send out a newsletter later this week with some more updates and prayer requests. For now, I wanted to pass along a quick ministry highlight that I thought would be encouraging to you.

As you know, we have been involved in helping to launch spiritual movements everywhere on campuses, especially among ethnic minority cultures. Two years ago, we were able to help our ministry at San Jose State start a Destino ministry.

I recently got this update from the leader (Noe) there:

Hello Dave! I want to update you what is going on in SJSU Destino. This fall semester God has been moving a lot in the freshmen class. We have more than 30 students going to Fall Retreat compared to 10 last year. Our new goal is to take 50 student from SJSU Destino to fall retreat.

Noe then asks for prayer that they would be able to raise the funds to rent several vans to get students to the Fall retreat.

Praise God for how he continues to grow and expand His kingdom among the nations. Thanks for your prayers and your partnership with us.

As always, please share any prayer needs you may have with us. We love to pray for you and your needs as a family.

God Bless,
Dave, Jen, Jacob and Joshua


Senior Leadership Initiative


Jen, with her coach Judy, after graduating from her 2 year leadership program

How do you describe something that literally transforms your life? How can words be put to an experience that helps you to grow in your confidence to lead, and which helps you grow closer to the Lord in the process? That is what I (Jen) am tasked to do in this month’s edition of The Lowedown.

Back in July of 2011 I became a part of the Senior Leadership Initiative (SLI). This is a program within all of Cru that invites 25-30 leaders to build into them to learn how to lead “at 10 times their scope.” This past July when we were in Colorado I graduated from the program. Click here to read the latest Lowedown where I share a few of the highlights from the past two years.


Rocky Mountain High

5 weeks and nearly 5000 miles this summer saw us driving through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

The central event of our summer was attending our National Staff conference, which takes place every other summer in Fort Collins, Colorado. During the conference, Jacob and Joshua participated in “The Getaway”. The Getaway is a special program for junior high and high school students. They heard from speakers like Josh McDowell, participated in small group Bible studies and did fun activities like Paintball and Rafting, as well as the infamous “Food Fight”.


Joshua got more "food" in the food fight than Jacob did.

Joshua got more “food” in the food fight than Jacob did.

While Jacob and Joshua were experiencing the Getaway, Jen and I, along with about 5000 other U.S. Cru staff, were attending main sessions and seminars that challenged our thinking and motivated us to continue to engage in our ministry efforts. We heard from great speakers such as Alistair Begg and Lisa Harper. Some of my favorite messages were the short “TED” style talks that challenged our thinking on how to engage the current culture.

Jonalyn Fincher shared how our language and even the words we use can be confusing to our audience and can turn people off before we even get a chance to share our message.

Jonalyn shares more about how our words and language can sometimes trigger negative reactions among those who don't understand our message.

Jonalyn shares more about how our words and language can sometimes trigger negative reactions among those who don’t understand our message.



One of my favorite speakers was a man named Skye Jethani, who serves as the senior editor for Leadership Journal. Skye was part of a series of speakers who spoke on issues related to culture. The question being addressed is how can we better engage our culture and more effectively reach people today for Christ.

Skye’s talk really resonated with me because he was able to articulate an idea that I have thought about for a long time but had never synthesized or communicated in the way that he did. He talked about the role of consumerism in our society and how consumerism is actually a worldview where we are at the center and everything exists to satisfy my desires.

Consumerism doesn’t just affect those whom we’re trying to reach. It affects us in the church too. It affects our view of God and of ourselves. Consumerism affects our evangelism when we present Jesus simply by the gifts He will give us.

Skye shared an interesting perspective on the story of the prodigal son. He said that both sons were looking for what they could get from the Father. The younger son did it in a socially unacceptable way while the older son did it in a socially acceptable way. Both sons missed the joy of simply experiencing the presence of their father, which is really the whole point. Too often in the church, we as Christians are guilty of trying to make older sons out of younger sons.

We live in paradoxical times in that today’s generation of students and young adults is the most self-absorbed generation ever (thanks to consumerism), yet they are also the most activist oriented generation ever. They want to make a difference in the world.

Skye Jethani talks about the effects of consumerism on the culture.

Skye Jethani talks about the effects of consumerism on the culture.

Our goal often is to tap into that activism and get them to be a part of the mission. But according to Skye, the solution to Christian consumerism is not Christian activism (mission); it’s our presence with the Father. Christian mission isn’t bad, but it needs to be placed in the right order. We need to ensure that we are helping others experience the presence of the Father before we seek to employ them in the mission of Christ.

Skye’s talk was a reminder to me to beware of falling into the consumerism trap that puts me at the center of the universe while everyone, including God, exists to satisfy my needs, wants and desires. Please pray with us and for us that we would be experiencing the Father’s presence first and foremost in our lives and that we would be drawing others to the Father’s presence as well.

To read the pdf version of our newsletter, click here.