Just To Be Asking: Southridge's Kru AllenMay 16, 2017
If you’re at this week’s track sectional, you may hear Kru Allen. He loves to talk. And the Raider senior has a special message within his gift of gab, as he’s been involved in preaching at the Zoar and Holland United Methodist churches.
How did your involvement in preaching start?
We had a Sunday where the pastor wasn’t going to be there, so they asked if anyone from the congregation would want to stand in. I was nominated to do it once, and I enjoyed it. This was at the Holland United Methodist Church. We had a lay Sunday at the church that I go to, which is Zoar United Methodist Church. I live right there in Holland, and they’re both connected in a way. They asked me and a friend of my named Jordan Echeverria to speak on a Sunday, and I felt called to do it through the Holy Spirit. Jesus led me through it. And I really enjoy it. I feel like God gives everyone gifts ... and I feel like God has blessed me with the ability to speak his word to share the Gospel.
How many of these have you done?
I’ve done one at Zoar and I’ve done one at Holland. But I can tell you by working at Holiday World, by just being a Natural Helper and working with people with problems at school, and what I worked this weekend (at a church retreat), I’ve been able to share and preach the Gospel to a lot of people. ... I love to share the Gospel, because I had a rough time in the beginning of high school with friends, girlfriends; I basically ignored my family for a year and a half. I was putting friends and girlfriends before my family. I kind of stopped focusing on God a little bit. I still had him in my life, but I decided to tuck him away, you know, “It’s OK, I’ll worry about God later,” and Christ spoke to my mother, she helped line me back up. But my ideals are set now to where I put God first in everything that I do. ... I want other people to know that, that there is hope in this world, there is salvation in this world. And the best part about it is it’s free.
You mentioned that someone else basically nominated you to get up and preach the first time. That’s a little bit of pressure. How tough was that to do it for the first time?
I guess the very first time, I was a little jittery. That was just coming out of my sophomore year, so just coming out of that one storm that was in my walk with Jesus. I said, “OK Lord, you want me to do this task, I’m giving my control to you, I’m giving my trust to you.” ... Any pressure? Maybe at first, but I prayed a few times. I was nervous the night before I spoke, the very first time. But when I got up to the pulpit on Sunday morning, it went away. Because Christ made himself present to me, and Christ made himself real to me. And I know that the one who has all the answers is wanting to talk through me, I’m going to say, “Hey, you know everything, you know what I’m going to say. You have at it, God, I’m giving it to you.”
The best part about it is that I realize that God has given me the ability to speak, and He’s become present in me to use it to help save the world. ... You look at society and it’s corrupt and everything, but you can look at school. There’s so many cliques, there’s bullies. I was a bully. I will openly admit that, that my freshman and sophomore year I was a bully and I was a jerk. But Jesus has helped me realize that it’s OK, and instead of living a life for myself, that I should live a life for him and like him. And I’ve apologized to a lot of people, and I even hang out with some of the people that I used to bully, because they’re a big enough man to say, “I forgive you.”
The retreat where you worked this past weekend, what was involved in that?
It was at Camp Iliana, which is just south of Washington, and it was called the Believer In Christ Journey 37. It’s an awesome three-day weekend, and I’m very blessed to be involved with it, and I’m just happy that God gives me those kind of opportunities.
Is preaching in your future?
I’ve been kind of in and out with that. I used to tell my mom whenever I was 6 years old that someday I was going to be a preacher. I don’t know. I’ve always been a talker. The only kind of demerits I got in elementary school was for talking, and whenever I got one of those, I’d cry my eyes out and I’d have to go to bed at 7:30 at night. … I’ve always been a talker and a rambler, but I feel like when I talk — and I’m not trying to brag at all — but when I talk, people listen, they want to hear what I have to say. And in a way, I feel like Christ is calling me to do something with this mouth. I’ve always considered helping out with children’s ministry, because I want to be a teacher someday. I feel like God has called me into the teaching field, because there are a lot of kids that go to school but when they go home, they don’t have a father figure. And kids need a strong father figure in their life. Children can be influenced very easily. Why not influence them in a positive way?
You mentioned a lot of what you speak on comes from personal experience. Where does some of the inspiration from some of the other sermons come from?
A lot of my inspiration comes from what I read in the Gospel, it’s also from what I hear in music, it’s also what I hear from Christ in prayer. Because one thing I’ve been struggling with in my walk with Jesus that I pray, and I think, “OK God, I want an A on this test, I want my mom to have a good day, I want the Reds to win today, if you could let the sun shine a little today, that would be great.” But I’m not listening to God when God’s telling me, “It’s not about that.” But I don’t listen all the time. One thing I’ve been trying to hit on hard is I need to start listening to Jesus a lot more, because he tells us so many things.
Have any of your teammates or friends at school heard you preach? What kind of feedback have you gotten?
A lot of people have told me that God has big plans for me, and I don’t know, I might be a teacher five years from now or I could be sharing the Gospel in Haiti five years from now. I’m willing to let God take me wherever he wants me. … I’ve heard people say that they’ve seen the Holy Spirit working in me, and whenever I was on that stage in the springtime playing as Jesus Christ in “Godspell” (the school musical), they said they could see the Holy Spirit through me, and that’s what I want people to see in me. Someday whenever I die, I don’t want people to say, “Kru was such a good guy,” I want them to say, “Kru was a man who loved Jesus.”
I was going to ask you about the challenge of talking for 20 or 30 minutes and giving a full sermon. But after listening to you talk, I imagine it’s pretty easy, huh?
It’s God’s grace, it’s God’s holy spirit that he’s given in all of us that comes through me to speak the words. … Once I get rolling, I get rolling. I’m rolling right now. And that’s Jesus using me. Kind of like whenever I’m out on the battlefield. I call it the battlefield. The world is the battlefield. Where I was at Camp Iliana over the weekend, that was like a training facility, we’re putting on our armor, we’re putting on our confidence, our readings, our knowledge to share Christ’s love and his word. We’re putting on that gear, as soon as we step off that ground, we’re out in that battlefield. … I’m a warrior for Christ, and my job here is to share his word, to help plant the seed. I’m not going out there hitting everyone on the top of the head with the Bible and a cross; I’m not that kind of Christian. I’m kind of like Johnny Appleseed. He didn’t really think about all the pioneers he was helping by planting all the seeds, he just wanted to do it because that was his way of helping to save the world. … He took time out of his day to plant a seed; that’s what I’m thinking. There’s 7,000 people in this community, and what does it hurt for me to plant one seed in this person or that person? It may never grow. But every once in a while, you’ve got the one tree that’s going to shoot up and it’s going to bear more fruit, and that fruit’s going to fall and make more trees.
If you were to create a sermon relating to the experience of running — such as running your 800 leg of the 3,200 relay, which is pretty much torture — how would you relate a sermon to running track?
It’s kind of like (a verse) from Hebrews, that we need to run with perseverance, we need to fix our eyes upon Jesus, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us. In track, we’re running a race to win. You can fall and give up; you can fall and get back up; but whenever I run, it’s not about getting first. It’s about the fact that if you fall right over there, you get back up and you try your absolute hardest. Because there’s been one time in my life already where I’ve tripped and fallen, and God has picked me back up. And I’m sure that before I finish my race, before it’s the end of my day, I’m going to fall several other times. But the relationship that I have with Christ, the fact that I know what God’s love is like, he can help me through the race. Because I couldn’t run a race without practice; I can’t live my life without practicing reading God’s word, praying and worshiping. It’s kind of like (track practice with) stair laps, a sprint day and a day when we run down to Fourth Street. Prayer, reading the gospel and worshiping. Without those three things, there is no way I would be able to complete this race.
Interview by Brendan Perkins
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