ABOUT CHRISTIAN CRUSADERS
. . . to proclaim Jesus Christ as Redeemer of the world and personal
Savior to all those who receive Him. We proclaim Him through radio,
personal visitation, written media and the internet.
Christian Crusaders' thirty-minute worship service delivers a powerful
and concise gospel message based on Biblical truth. Our service
offers traditional hymns, scripture reading, and prayer for those
who cannot attend church. Our listeners may be the homebound, ill,
those who work on Sunday, those without a church home, or those
who simply want to be strengthened and uplifted by listening to
a Christ-centered message. This weekly program gives strength for
facing today's challenges, while proclaiming Jesus Christ as Redeemer
of the world and personal Savior.
Board of Directors and Staff
Christian Crusaders is served by an eighteen-member Board of Directors who
meet quarterly to set policy and make decisions based on the mission
of the ministry. Each member also serves on at least one
of eight standing committees: Broadcast, Budget, Investment, Personnel,
Promotions, Nominations, Strategic Planning and Web Site.
staff of two full-time employees, the Executive Director and Technical Editor, and a part-time Financial/Office Assistant take care of the
daily functions and responsibilities of the ministry. Volunteers
help with mailings and other tasks.
Totally supported by donations from its beginning, Christian Crusaders
relies on the gifts of listeners - through GEM Club (Gift Every
Month) members, Broadcast Sponsors, memorial gifts and bequests
from estates - to keep the program on the air. Because of these
many contributions, this ministry is now in its seventy-ninth year
and is the seventh longest-running Christian radio program in the
Rev. Steve Kramer, senior pastor of Shepherd of the Valley
Lutheran Church in Afton, Minnesota. Rev. Kramer joined Christian Crusaders as the Associate Speaker in 2005. Following Rev. Larsen's retirement in 2014, Rev. Kramer assumed the role of primary speaker.
Rev. Kramer grew up in Livingston,
Montana. He graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and
Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1980 he joined Central
Lutheran in Winona, Minnesota as youth pastor. He became the Associate
Pastor at Central Lutheran Church in 1983. In 1986, Pastor Kramer accepted
a call to Shepherd of the Valley, where he continues to serve as
senior pastor today. Rev. Kramer and his wife, Julie, have two adult children.
Rev. Lee Laaveg, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Spencer Iowa, joined the staff of Christian Crusaders in 2015. A graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., Rev. Laaveg attended Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, and was ordained in 1984. He has served a variety of congregations of differing sizes, varied settings, and configurations – rural congregations joined in parish cooperation, single point congregations, and large multi-staffed churches – in North Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. Most recently, he served as Director of Development and Church Relations for Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camps.
Back in parish ministry, Rev. Laaveg is glad for the opportunity to preach God’s Word regularly, and journey with people in their spiritual lives. He began serving Faith Lutheran in October 2011. His passion is to help people discover the grace of God in a relationship of faith in Jesus Christ. He is married to Denise, who teaches music in the Estherville Community Schools. Together, they have four grown children and four grandchildren.
Christian Crusaders' third radio
speaker, Rev. Dr. Homer Larsen, joined the ministry in 1962 and served for 51 years. He was born in Westbrook, Maine and graduated from Dana College
and Trinity Seminary, both in Blair, Nebraska. After his ordination
in 1948, Pastor Larsen served at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Atlantic, Iowa until accepting a call to Nazareth Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa
in 1953 where he served as senior pastor until his retirement in May 1996. Rev. Larsen
received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Wartburg College
in Waverly, Iowa.
Because of the longevity of his service and his powerful messages,
Pastor Larsen became known as the voice of Christian Crusaders to thousands of listeners
across the country until his retirement in 2013.
Rev. Melchert's retirement in 1956, Rev. Bruno Schlachtenhaufen,
pastor of First Lutheran Church, Waterloo, became the second Christian
Crusaders radio speaker. He served faithfully in this role until
1962, when he was elected the Iowa District President of the American
In the year 1936, Rev. G. E. Melchert, pastor of Trinity
Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Iowa, and the Brotherhood of Trinity
were concerned that a large number of the elderly and homebound
were unable to enjoy the blessings of a Sunday worship service.
Wanting to spread the Gospel message to the unchurched, as well,
they felt called to start a radio ministry.
it was that on September 6, 1936, Christian Crusaders
radio program aired live from Trinity on WMT-AM. The first words
of the announcer, Byron Benson, spoken that morning proved to be prophetic:
now, we bring you a brand new religious program . . .
we believe will capture the hearts of our radio audience . . .
destined to affect the spiritual lives of many."
titled "Your Hour of Worship," the program consisted of
an opening, lesson for the day, sermon, offertory, prayers, and
special music. Eventually, the costs for an hour radio program became
too much for the Brotherhood to support, so it was shortened to
thirty minutes. Since that time, it has been recorded in a studio
and sent to radio stations to be broadcast over the airwaves. The
program became simply "Christian Crusaders."