ALBERT — The Rev. Arthur Crider doesn’t have a congregation, but he and his wife Mindy do have an evangelical Christian ministry in Barton County. In January they plan to launch a series of public events that will let more people know about “Critter Ministries.” The first one will be at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 at the Best Western Angus Inn Courtyard at 2920 10th St. in Great Bend.
That Friday evening meeting will have three speakers, along with praise and worship time and some door prizes that will include a $100 Walmart gift card, Crider said. “Since we are a ministry of help, we’re also going to be giving away things to help people.”
Crider chose the name “Critter Ministries” because his last name sounds like the word “critter,” which can mean “any creature.” It reminds him of the Bible verse 2 Cor. 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away; behold, all things become new.” Crider became an ordained minister through the Wold Bible Way Fellowship in Irving, Texas, and started a youth group at the River of Life Four Square Church in Great Bend, but Critter Ministries is its own animal – and a nondenominational entity.
“We’re a ministry of helps,” Crider said. He and his wife have steered people to help with any number of physical needs, such as money for utilities, house payments, groceries or home repairs. “If we can’t physically help someone, we will find the resources to get that person help.”
They do have a screening process, Crider said, noting sometimes jumping in to “help” someone isn’t really helpful. “We don’t want to be enablers,” he said. “Critter Ministries is a stepping stone to help them get over a hump or a tough time.”
The other side of his ministry is evangelism. Crider preaches “bringing the gospel of a personal relationship with Christ, and not just religion.” That’s what he’ll be sharing at meetings in various towns, starting with the Great Bend gathering.
“We believe in this area there’s going to be a movement, in this general area, revival in the churches,” he said. However, he’s really interested in connecting with people who don’t fit the stereotype of a “church person.”
“He has a heart for people who have turned their back on church,” Mindy said.
“It doesn’t matter what denomination you are,” he said, and it doesn’t matter if a person has tattoos or doesn’t wear a suit. “We’ve got to learn to look at the inside of somebody, instead of the outside. ... If churches as a whole would put emphasis on seeing people are they are, I think we’d see the churches filled.”
For more information on Critter Ministries, call or text 620-923-5509, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website, www.critterministries.org.