Meet General David Phillips, New Executive Director
Posted in: Stories
“God wants this ministry to grow. So, we will wake up every day, and if Jesus has not come back yet, we will continue to work.”
General Phillips has 31 years of service with the Virginia Air National Guard and the National Guard of the U.S. He holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Administration along with numerous Merit and Service awards from the U.S. Air Force and Virginia National Guard. He and his wife, Terilyn, have been married for 32 years and live in Yorktown, Virginia. They have five children and three grandchildren.
General David was introduced to Cru Military through his wife, Terilyn, who was working on a story about Cru Military for a local paper. After they found out her husband was retired military, they asked to meet him, too! Terilyn arranged a meeting, and after reading Terilyn’s article, he went and met with them.
General David stated, “As a believer and follower of Christ, it was great to learn there was an organization like Cru Military. They told me they had a place for me and wanted me to join them. After a time of prayer, I came on board as the Marketing and Resource Director.” In 2017, General David took leadership of the Ministry Advancement Team as Director.
The New Executive Director
Now, after a total of 12 years service with Cru Military, General David was asked to assume the leadership of Cru Military as Executive Director. After a thorough interview process and much prayer, he accepted, and is eager to lead the Military Ministry team as they continue to meet the military community at their greatest point of need.
General Phillips believes, “the greatest need the military community has now is Jesus. If you look at our Gateways—the recruit training bases—of the 19 to 21-year-olds coming into the military, many of them have never owned a Bible. We hand them a Bible and say we are going to start in John chapter 6, verse 35. They look at you like, ‘What does that mean?’ They have never owned a Bible and they have never looked anything up in one.”
As these recruits join Cru Military’s Spiritually Fit – Ready to Serve classes, they receive a Bible and their first lesson—the basics of the gospel.
“We have a 25% to 30% success rate in leading them to Jesus Christ in their first Spiritually Fit – Ready to Serve class because they have never heard the gospel before,” General Phillips said. “They don’t know what it is all about. They want to hear about Jesus, so we need to continue and expand our reach in getting the message of the gospel to them.”
General David has looked at the task set before him and done the math. He said:
“We serve at 48 military locations in the U.S., but there are some 450 military locations! Also, we currently minister to about 8,000 military members each week, but do you know how many active, guard and reserve military members there are in the U.S. alone? The number is right at 3 million—including spouses; and add on to that 20 million veterans. We need to introduce Jesus to a whole lot more people.”
General David and the Senior Leadership Team of Cru Military gathered in early 2023 to update the three-year strategic plan. He is encouraged, amazed and grateful with what God has been doing in the ministry already, but believes expansion is ahead of us.
“The way God is blessing Cru Military right now, I believe God is positioning the ministry to do things that we have not even imagined,” General David said.
“If we sat down and brainstormed our wildest imaginations, I don’t think it would come close to what God can do. Our task is to get excited and motivated looking for ways to cultivate and grow our impact.”
General David is so honored to serve with the Cru Military team of almost 600 members – nearly 70% of which are volunteers.
“Our team members are very strong, very supportive, very dedicated,” General David said proudly. “We have some who have been serving for 40 or more years. We have others who have been serving for 40 days. But all across the team there is excitement and joy about who we are and what we do. We must continue to cultivate and grow that momentum … to fan that flame to be a raging fire for Jesus.”
As General David stokes the excitement for the mission, he knows that excitement alone is not enough. “We will need more people and resources,” General David said. “The global military community is there, but we must build a plan of expanding our ministry efforts with milestones and actions to reach them. That means more locations as well as deepening and broadening the ministry at the locations we already have.”
How do you find more full-time staff and more dedicated volunteers? You go to God’s solution for evangelism—the Church. “I am very excited about new ideas and plans to engage more churches in the mission,” General David said. “Jesus gave the Great Commission to the church. Cru Military is not the church—we are a parachurch ministry. We are focused on one segment of the population—the global military community.”
“Churches are to win, build, and send their communities. We can help them do just that in the military community.”
General Phillips and the Cru Military team are starting the new year with prayer and planning, eager to see what the Lord has in store for this mission.
“We need to reach toward the 450 locations … reach to that 3 million population,” General David said. “God wants this ministry to grow. So, we will wake up every day, and if Jesus has not come back yet, we will continue to work.”