What does Kelly know?


Meet Founding M100 Member Kelly Cruse

"We weren’t a church going family. At the age of five, I somehow knew there was a God bigger than my mind could even imagine and who cared about me. This God specifically placed me in that family, that location that time in history. My granny, cousins and some friends had faith and I learned about Jesus.

As most young girls are, I was taught about the danger of being alone in a parking lot or out after dark. That girls and women had to be on guard most of the time while out in the world. Living in this bible belt, it also became apparent to me that girls were treated differently… less than… by the Church. It never added up to me that although I was created equally and Jesus died for me, women couldn’t even pass the basket at church! Because of this disconnect between the Jesus I knew and what the Church practiced, I never formally joined a church.In 2005 after being back in the belt for a few years, I joined a women’s bible study at Irving Bible Church because I wanted to meet people. Somehow, I allowed myself to be roped into serving as a table leader. I vowed to only stay if it wasn’t too churchy. What I mean by that is, lots of talk about perfect families, the women’s role in the marriage (what does this mean for single women?), and peppered speech with God-talk for the sake of sounding good.At this same time, I was employed by a non-profit that helped women and kids escape and heal from family violence. (Yes, women abuse too.) I had heard too many stories about local churches who made it okay for a man to abuse a woman--all under the guise of submission. An abused woman often couldn’t get help from her church. (Yes, even stories about clergy members abusing.) It was often swept under the rug.I met Jackie the first night at leaders’ meeting. Wow--not what I expected. Wild hair, funky and trendy glasses, and that accent! Jackie was totally refreshing, engaged with every woman and her ideas and questions. We didn’t have to be perfect. We were expected and encouraged to think critically about the bible. We could talk about any difficult social issue. I was finally in a church that allowed women to be equally human. It was then that the Gospel and its Church became narratively coherent for me.When Jackie and The Marcella Project’s first executive director, Krista Murry, invited me to help in the early stages of the ministry’s development, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I am in awe of the women (and men) who come from all walks of life and faith and professions desiring to change her or his corner of the world so that women can see and believe their full potential, apart and together with men. It’s fun to see the doors that God has opened for the ministry and for Jackie to be able to pastor and train people all over the country and in faraway places such as India and Africa. Books have been published, women and men have learned to preach, bible studies are being translated into Spanish. We are touring Israel in 2020. Come with us! The I’m Enough webinar has helped women change their perspective of themselves and their work in real-time." - Kelly Cruse