A Great Man of Faith Completes his Final Journey
How a pilot, artist, publisher, and missionary changed the lives of millions around the world
On September 22, 2020, Heaven welcomed home another great man of God, John Crone. John was a dear friend and brother with the Josh McDowell Ministry team, having served there as Vice President of Global Publishing and Vice President at Large. In addition to his significant influence at our ministry office, he had a tremendous impact on countless individuals around the world because of his passion for the Gospel. Without a doubt, the story of John’s life is a story of God’s heart for the nations.
“One can say that the world is a better place and the Great Commission is more fulfilled because John and Linda Crone were faithful in the harvest.”
– Josh McDowell
John was born on May 5, 1937. He began following Christ as a student at San Jose State College. There he also met his future wife, Linda, and the two of them were married on January 30, 1960. Together they moved to Laredo, TX, where John served in the US Air Force.
After seven years of service, they left the military to seek full-time Christian service. But their search to “help God out” seemed fruitless and ended in discouragement. So John went back to aviation, this time as a pilot for Pan American World Airlines. God used this time to teach them about His way of service through raising their handicapped daughter, Kimberly: just to be available.
They again explored full-time ministry, committed to make themselves available for whatever God had for them. In January 1970, Dr. Bill Bright invited them to join the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru). John began as an art director for Cru, developing an international image for mission beyond campuses in North America. Within his first year of service he traveled to 17 countries photographing Cru’s global ministry. Until 1981 he coordinated translations of basic literature tools for Cru ministries in over 100 countries and helped to develop multi-media to promote world missions.
During this time, it became apparent that God had gifted John with an exceptional ability to publish Gospel-centered books and resources to unreached regions all around the world. In 1982 he became the Foreign Operations Manager at the publishing arm of Cru, and then the Director of International Resources with Josh McDowell Ministry (a Cru Ministry). From there, John placed books, films and videos with overseas publishers and ministries. He also helped coordinate Josh’s international speaking, and he transitioned Josh’s international books from printed formats to electronic formats. John and Linda traveled internationally to build relationships, especially through Eastern Europe, Russia and the Far East. In 1991, Josh honored the Crones for coordinating the production and distribution of three million books over 20 years. Just one year later, they had coordinated the distribution of another four million books in the former Soviet Union.
In 1998, John and Linda moved to live near the Josh McDowell Ministry office in Plano, Texas. Through the years God continued to use them in powerful ways. Together they coordinated the translation, printing, and distribution of over 40 million Christian books in over 100 countries around the world, including many hard-to-reach areas such as Russia, Central Asia, Cuba, East Asia and across North Africa and the Middle East. This couple, though unknown to many in the world, was captured by the heart of God for missions and created a global impact touching millions around the world. Earlier this year, John and Linda celebrated 50 years of ministry with Cru and 60 years of faithful marriage. Then on September 22, 2020, John was called home to be with the Lord. No doubt he was welcomed by countless individuals whom he never met on earth, and yet they are there with the Lord because of John’s faithful labor unleashing the Gospel message to every corner of the world.
God blessed John with 83 years of life on earth and now an eternity of life in His presence.