Monday, April 29, 2013

James 'The Giant' Croft preaches from two pulpits

The 3-foot-10 Baker County commissioner is also a Southern Baptist evangelist

Posted: April 27, 2013 - 7:47pm  |  Updated: April 28, 2013 - 5:58pm

MACCLENNY | The budget brainstorming session started with few ideas and periods of silence before a man known as The Giant joined his fellow Baker County commissioners.

James Croft balanced himself on two canes as he slowly made his way to his chair. Croft apologized for being late to a meeting he called, pulled out a list and started rattling off ideas including, privatizing county workers’ jobs.

“We can’t be afraid to step outside of the box … to do things different than before,” Croft, 54, said during the mid-April session.

It’s the same passion the 3-foot-10 Croft speaks with from another pulpit: the church. The Southern Baptist evangelist has spread the gospel for 20 years in churches across the Southeast and on mission trips as far as Africa.

“This is the most important thing that I do because it will carry into eternity,” Croft said of his preaching. “What I do for the Lord Jesus Christ may get someone to heaven.”

He packs his sermons with folksy stories and a powerful oratory that captivates people, said Vernon Bennett, a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Glen St. Mary.

“It seems like when he gets before the church, the Lord just gives him the words to say and it just rolls out,” Bennett said.

Croft, given his Giant nickname as a radio disc jockey, served as a commissioner in the 1980s and won his seat again last year. While he saves most of his preaching for the pulpit, Croft believes in applying Christian principles to government and occasionally quotes scripture during meetings.


View additional photos for this story by Bruce Lipsky.

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