Cru22 and Covid19

Cru22 was held in downtown Milwaukee at the Wisconsin Center

Jen and I were cautiously anticipating our trip to Milwaukee for Cru22 as it’s been 3 long years since the staff of Cru have convened together for a large staff gathering.

About a week before the conference, we started getting text messages and emails from friends telling us they were sorry that they wouldn’t be able to see us in Milwaukee and sharing their hopes and prayers that we would get better.

We were a bit confused until we realized that another Dave Lowe who is on staff with Cru (FamilyLife) had posted on a work forum that he was going to have to miss the conference due to having Covid. Our friends who saw that post had mistaken the other Dave Lowe for me.

I assured our friends and colleagues that the news of my demise had been greatly exaggerated and that we were indeed planning on attending this much-awaited event.

The “Bronze Fonz” is a popular Milwaukee tourist photo opp that was just minutes from our hotel. Are we dating ourselves by saying we grew up watching “Happy Days” before re-runs?

The mood and the atmosphere of the conference was much different than years past. 

Not only has it been several years since being together, but our location, which was the same for nearly 50 years, was completely different.

There have also been quite a number of leadership changes in the past two years. Cru has a new Global president (only the 3rd in our 70+ year history), a new U.S. Ministries Director, a new Campus Ministry Executive Director and a new City Executive Director (the division we work in).

Still, it was great to be together with friends and co-workers, many whom we haven’t seen either in person or even virtually for at least 3 years.

The emphasis was on revisiting our roots and reaffirming our calling, which is to help fulfill the Great Commission by Wining others to Christ, Building them up in their faith and then Sending them out to do likewise.

Jen shares a personal ministry story to our Cru Embark colleagues

We spent the first few days with our specific ministry where our leaders crystallized our unique calling and mission to 20-Somethings: to transition, holistically form and launch 20-Somethings to find their place in God’s story.

Jen had the opportunity to share a story about her friend Grace (whom we highlighted in last month’s letter) and how Jen has helped Grace to uncover some of her unique gifts and discover her passion and calling for ministry within the art community.

Our large group sessions took place at the nearby UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, adjacent to the Wisconsin Center.

As our conference shifted from smaller gatherings among the different Cru ministries to the large group sessions with all of our staff together, we started to get reports that people whom we had been in close contact with early in the conference had gotten sick and tested positive for Covid.

Sure enough, I (Dave) started feeling some mild cold-like symptoms after the first full day of large group sessions. As a precaution, we stayed in our hotel room the next day and watched the sessions online. 

We were able to watch many of the Cru22 sessions online from our hotel room.

We were able to secure a Covid test that next day and I tested negative. I assumed I just had a cold. Still, not wanting to get others sick, we isolated ourselves and finished out the conference by watching online in our hotel room.

While we were encouraged by the speakers and the different reports about how Cru ministries are reaching people around the world with the good news of Jesus, we were a bit bummed that we weren’t able to connect with as many of our friends and fellow Cru staff as we had expected.

After returning home, I suspected I might be developing a sinus infection, so I went to an Urgent Care where I took another Covid test. This time I tested positive. Jen then tested positive as well. 

Fortunately, our Covid symptoms were mild and never too serious. We’re glad to share that we’ve both recovered from our Covid experience, though perhaps I should’ve taken the work forum post from my namesake (Dave Lowe) more seriously!

As our summer winds down and we transition to the Fall, we would appreciate your continued prayers as we seek to transition, holistically form and launch 20-Somethings to find their place in God’s story!

Seeing Work as Meaningful

It was 1991 and I was tasked to spend the summer in Colorado working as part of the Summer Cru conference team. It was NOT my first choice for a summer mission but as luck would have it, I was assigned to work as a Teacher’s Assistant for Dr. John Sailhamer, who was teaching a two-week survey course on the Old Testament.

One of my duties was picking up Dr. Sailhamer in the morning and bringing him to campus so he could eat breakfast in the dining hall before class. This provided me the opportunity to get to know him in a casual environment. I found out he was a baseball fan and surprisingly very down to earth. When he found out that a group of us young, single, Cru staff guys were all going to see the new Terminator 2 movie that had just come out, he joined the group and enjoyed the movie as much as the rest of us.

The Pentateuch as Narrative by John Sailhamer was published in 1995.

At the time, Dr. Sailhamer was working on a book entitled “The Pentateuch as Narrative”. It was more of a scholarly work that wasn’t quite completed but it was fascinating to hear him share his thoughts, particularly his perspective on work. He contended that God had given Adam work to do BEFORE the fall and therefore work was good and meaningful. This challenged my perspective, which had always associated work with labor and toil and more of a penalty that resulted from the Fall.

A few months ago, while I was in the Sacramento area visiting friends and ministry partners, I had lunch with my friend Scott Agee, who has worked as a Civil Engineer for many years. I was interested in learning more about his job and what he does since my twins have shown interest in pursuing engineering as a possible major in college.

Scott Agee owns his own Civil Engineering firm, where he serves his customers, and the Lord by designing industrial laundries. To read Scott’s thoughts and guiding principles on the Theology of Work go to: http://bit.ly/SAgeeWork

As we talked, Scott made a comment that stuck with me. He said, “my job might not seem interesting to a lot of people…I design industrial laundry facilities…but I like to think I’m really providing a service to people…after all, everyone needs clean laundry.”

Scott, to me, is a great example of someone who loves what he does and through his work, finds tangible ways to meet people’s needs, while looking for opportunities to minister to them as God provides.

As we work with Young Professionals, one of our challenges is to help them to see their work as valuable. Sometimes, we can fall into the trap of believing that only those who are in full-time ministry, directly helping to meet other’s spiritual needs, are doing significant work.

Part of our role is what we call Vocational Discipleship – to help others to see that their work is important and meaningful and can be used by God to advance His kingdom purposes just as much, and perhaps even more, than those who are in full-time vocational ministry.

We’re still learning the best ways to impart these values and ideas to Young Professionals so we would greatly appreciate your prayers as we continue to dream and create the kind of environment that would help Young Professionals to thrive spiritually and live with purpose.

Thank you for your prayers and your partnership as we seek to ensure that Christ is exalted among this current generation of Young Professionals!


To see more of Scott’s thoughts on work and guiding business principles, go to:  http://bit.ly/SAgeeWork