Jorge Toro – Cru
He may be middle-aged, but Jorge Toro can relate to young people. So many of them, he says, are looking for more than just a job; they also want to be spiritually and/or emotionally fulfilled. He says they might find what they’re looking for on the Cru facilities team if they’re good with their hands, have a sound work ethic, and like being part of a greater cause.
Toro did, and he wasn’t necessarily looking for more than part-time work to cover his tuition and assorted costs while studying hospitality administration and management during the late 1990s at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. He wasn’t even familiar with Cru’s mission but, as he tells Blueprint in October, some things are meant to be.
“I was only going to be here while in college, but 26 years later, I’m still here,” he says. “And I’ve loved it. It’s been a life-changer for me.”
Such can be the case, Toro says, when one’s part of this interdenominational Christian evangelism and discipleship ministry whose mission is spreading the Christian gospel. Just as the Lord works in many ways, Toro says Cru does, too, and he’s proud to have a role as overseer of property management and facilities projects. The last few years, he’s mostly kept busy in the community of Lake Hart, an unincorporated part of Orange County where a couple of Cru’s buildings have been modernized and repurposed.
In October, Toro’s crew was well into the second phase of the project, the conversion of a warehouse for offices and such indoor sports as volleyball and half-court basketball. The idea is to move to a more open concept with lounges, collaborative spaces and other amenities such as new furniture and art, he says. Any other project—access control, security, what-not—he’ll work with the rest of Cru in finding the best option.
“We try to make it as homey as possible for everyone,” the congenial Toro says. “Different office settings—private, group or huddle—depending on the need of a particular day. Coffee stations, soda stations conveniently located … we’ve had a lot of positive feedback.”
Where all are welcome
The same goes, he says, for a Cru ministry called FamilyLife, which needed studio space in one of its three buildings. While FamilyLife enlisted its own design team, it entrusted Toro’s to bring to fruition a master studio, green rooms and live broadcast and audio areas.
While Toro isn’t a hands-on type, he says his strength is as a manager and communicator. He prides himself on assembling a team and optimizing sparse resources. These projects commenced during the COVID-19 pandemic and were essential when dealing with supply chains and personnel.
Having nurtured positive relations with vendors, he could access most supplies, albeit sometimes with lengthy waits. Cru being a faith-based organization, Toro says he had an advantage when rounding up the hired hands while other builders came up short—there being such a dearth of young tradespeople.
“We’ve had our struggles, but because we are a different sort of organization, we often had people willing to work in our facilities,” he says. “Besides giving them a job, we show them a vision. I feel that the younger generations are looking for a purpose greater than money. For many young people, working for a ministry has its own benefits.”
Those benefits for Toro included participating on pre-COVID missionary expeditions to Argentina and Nicaragua. He describes those trips as eye-openers—while the Puerto Rican-born Toro thought he knew much about hardscrabble life, his view became broader when seeing inequities up close. But amidst the orphanages, clinics, schools and shelters, he says he saw reason for hope.
“Both those people (Argentinians and Nicaraguans) are so receptive to the word of God,” Toro says. “They embrace the gospel.”
In good faith
His tenure at Cru has strengthened Toro’s faith. Upon joining the organization as a full-time customer service specialist in 2000, he enhanced his credentials with a bachelor’s degree in infotech and an MBA in management from the University of Phoenix. He’s also ascended the Cru ladder, meriting multiple promotions until moving into the Lake Hart role in January.
As for the ministry’s name, he explains it was derived from the original branding of Campus Crusade for Christ when founded at UCLA in 1951 by the evangelist couple of Bill and Vonette Bright. In 2011, the name was changed to Cru better to reflect the expanded work of the ministry beyond campuses.
“I’ve felt like God has kept me here,” Toro says.
For Toro, answering to such an authority calls for more than just overseeing facilities, but through attentiveness on that front he says Cru is better equipped to sustain its mission. Whereas the bedrock values of faith and service remain the same, modernized facilities and technology are essential in Cru solidifying its stature as a leading ministry.
Its ministries are many, among them Athletes in Action, with a presence on 35 U.S. professional sports teams and around 200 campuses. Then there is the many campus, military, inner-city and family groups that also partake in Cru’s mission.
At Lake Hart, a Cru ministry known as Jesus Film Project is translating the acclaimed 1979 film “Jesus” into more languages. While this might be the most translated film ever, Toro says there’ll always be a need to provide it in more languages as Cru extends its global reach.
From Orlando, Toro will continue to aid the cause as both a facilities director and an evangelist in his own right. Maybe he’ll join another mission abroad. His homelife shared with a wife who teaches second grade and children aged 6, 15 and 21, he says he’s feeling blessed and wants others to feel his sanctified mind.
“By overseeing maintenance I’m helping to sharing the gospel of Christ,” he says.
View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. I 2024 Edition here.
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