Reflecting on the Impact of the San Jose State Crusade House
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.
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.
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 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.