VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/25/21)—The Rev. Dr. Eddie Cruz, American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) national coordinator of Congregational Mission and Discipleship, will retire Dec. 31, 2021, completing 18 years of service with the denominational mission organization.
Cruz joined the staff of ABHMS, then known as National Ministries, in October 1998, as director for Latino, Haitian and Portuguese ministries. In that role, he was responsible for building and strengthening relationships that would enhance pastoral and congregational life in the United States and Puerto Rico. He led the efforts for Nueva Vida 2001, the Hispanic Church Planting Institute and the Spanish American Baptist Scholarship. He was instrumental in the establishment and recognition of the Portuguese Caucus. During Cruz’s tenure, ABHMS celebrated 100 years of Hispanic Ministries in the United States.
After working as executive director for the ACLAMO nonprofit agency in Norristown, Pa., Cruz returned to ABMHS in 2008 as director for Mission Advancement. In that role, he led funding strategies for the America for Christ offerings and individual donor development through the “Faces of Hope” Campaign. He spearheaded the Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria disaster-relief campaign that raised more than $1.5 million in four months.
“Eddie Cruz brought an engaging spirit of brotherly love to the various ministries that he served for many years,” says ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray. “Whether working with Latino ministries, funds development, or leadership development in congregations, Eddie’s passion for the work of Christ, concern for others, and collegiality with fellow staff have always figured prominently. We look forward to collaboration with Eddie on other mission projects in the future.”
A pastor/evangelist at heart, Cruz completed a Doctor of Ministry in Missional Leadership. He transitioned into ABHMS’ Discipleship unit, for which he designed the Congregational Contextualized Ministry Project. Cruz endeavored to support, network and equip existing congregations through capacity training and resources. The goal was to engage a learning community to examine and refine their values and mission inside a changing context to sharpen their sense of presence in their neighborhoods and design vital opportunities for relationships and ministries.
“No matter how successful you think you are, if you are not successful in relationships, you aren’t successful,” Cruz says. “Jesus Christ was always engaged with people in ministry.”
Cruz holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Judson University, Elgin, Ill., as well as a Masters and Doctorate from Northern Seminary, Lisle, Ill. A certified fundraising executive, Cruz is completing a certification in church consultancy.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.