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Evangelist sees small size as opportunity, not liability

OLUSTEE, Fla. (BP)–Good things come in small packages, jokes 3-foot, 10-inch tall James A. Croft. The evangelist says he doesn’t mind pointing out his height — or lack of it — because it has provided him with more opportunities in life than liabilities.
Croft performed a comedy act at the Grand Ole Opry and was a radio announcer and music producer before he felt called to preach in 1994.
A member of First Baptist Church, Olustee, Fla., Croft recently completed a four-year term as a Baker County commissioner and served as executive coordinator for the “Keep Tri-County Beautiful” campaign.
Croft travels throughout north-central Florida as a guest evangelist for homecomings and revivals. He realizes some people initially might come to hear him out of curiosity, but he focuses on preaching the gospel and helping people become comfortable enough with him to realize a man’s stature is more about integrity than height.
“God made me 3-feet, 10-inches tall for a reason. All through my life God was equipping me to preach,” Croft said. “I have a unique ministry. My size attracts attention, and this gives me an opportunity to share the gospel.”
When he isn’t standing behind a specially made pulpit proportioned for him, he occasionally walks down the church aisles when he speaks so that people have eye contact with him.
Croft uses his quick sense of humor to put congregations at ease so they can concentrate on his commanding voice and powerfully delivered message.
At a homecoming service for Oak Grove Baptist Church, White Springs, Fla., Croft told members about conducting services for firefighters at Osceola National Forest during last year’s summer wildfires. His father was the first wildlife officer for Osceola Forest, serving as a U.S. forest ranger for 28 years.
Croft described the difference between a control burn and a wildfire, relating them to spiritual conditions.
A control burn clears out underbrush and allows things to grow better without damaging timber, he explained.
The main effect of a wildfire, however, is to destroy timber.
“Too many Christians have so much roughage in their lives that they need a control burn to get rid of things preventing new sprouts of growth,” Croft said. “But God also has a wildfire that consumes if people don’t have a right heart with him.
“We need to say to God, ‘Nurture me, teach me, help me to grow spiritually in the Lord, even it costs.’
“And it does cost to serve the Lord,” Croft said. “But if we are saved, we will not be destroyed, because we are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.”

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  • Kristi Hodge