Meet John

John Crane is the husband, father, educator, and leader he is because of where he came from. Born in Martinsville, Indiana, John and his three younger brothers were grounded at a very early age with a deep love for God, people, and our country. It was God, after all, who preserved John’s life in 1973 despite being born two months early and dropping down to 3 lbs., 14 oz. just after delivery, and it is that sense of calling which has guided his path in life ever since.
To that end, John was born into a family which has been engaged in public service and advancing principled conservative values for generations. His grandfather, Dr. George W. Crane, wrote the nationally syndicated newspaper column , “The Worry Clinic”, for over 50 years, and his two uncles served in Congress, including Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.) who helped found the Heritage Foundation, the American Conservative Union, and the Republican Study Committee.John’s father also ran for Congress three times in a similar effort to bring conservative leadership to our state, losing his final race of over 100,000 votes by a mere 86 votes. As someone who had always taught his four sons to “Fight the good fight!”, the loss, though disheartening, proved to be a turning point. In fact, if you ask Dr. Crane today, he’ll show the three makeshift colored ribbons his son, John (age 7 at the time) made for him that day after the race.   “It’s for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place”,  John empathetically said, with tears in his eyes.  “That’s for being my Dad!”  And that exchange solidified for both father and (later) son the fact that our most important sphere of influence is our families and ensuring a more secure future for them.

Having met in Vietnam while serving in the 25th Infantry Division near Cu Chi, John’s parents, Dr. David and Joan Crane, instilled in their sons common-sense Hoosier values. In fact, one might summarize the Crane family philosophy in this way: Love God and love people by working hard, giving back, and standing for what is right no matter the cost.

JBC with IFI president Curt Smith (2014)
hiking It was in the hills and hollers of Morgan County that John developed his love for the outdoors, be it hours on end exploring the woods, fishing, or completing the tasks necessary to become an Eagle Scout. And it was at age 8, that John first harnessed his own entrepreneurial spirit in starting what became  “The Crane Brothers Lawn Service”, an exercise in perseverance that eventually helped pay for John to finish his History and Psychology degree at Taylor University.

Like so many people, the challenges in life have most significantly shaped John’s perspective.  February 12, 1985 found 11-year-old John staring into the still-smoldering black hole of where their century-old farmhouse had stood before being burnt to the ground in an electrical fire. The whole family was left with just the clothes on their backs.But that experience solidified two indelible life lessons for the young boy: First of all, life is fleeting. Don’t hold too tightly to your possessions and pocketbooks, when in the end, it is people who count most. And secondly, Hoosier hospitality is real. The incredible outpouring of neighbors helping neighbors embodied (and still does) the very best about our state. John’s life experiences and Christian worldview, therefore, have fostered what has become the primary motivation of John’s life, serving and influencing other people.

Whether it be speaking around the country in order to find sponsors for poor children in impoverished countries or going back to Vietnam with his parents in 2010 to bring Bibles, medicine, and hope to the local villagers, the mandate to serve has becoming his guiding practice. After completing his Masters degree in Communication and Culture from Trinity Graduate School, John and his beautiful wife, Jean, moved back to Indiana in 2002 where they settled in Hendricks County and John served as a pastor on staff at Light and Life Church in Avon until 2008.Then the recession hit, leaving John and Jean with their four small children, Caleb, Andrew, Mark, and Emma and no prospect of employment on the horizon. They had no way of knowing then that it would be 13 months before John found steady employment again. And being unwilling as an able-bodied worker to sign up for unemployment, John took whatever jobs were available to keep food on the table during that very challenging season of life.

In 2009 John ultimately founded and became the CEO of the Sagamore Leadership Initiative, an undertaking which came out of his recognition that securing a more hopeful future for all of us means investing in those who will lead us in the future. The purpose of Sagamore is to develop cultural awareness so that next generation leaders can courageously pursue cultural engagement.In all of John’s current pursuits, as an adjunct professor at Grace College in Indiana, a newspaper columnist, the director of the Indiana Family Institute’s leadership training program, and at Sagamore, the emphasis is always the same: educating people toward action so that when the time comes they will have courage when it counts to stand up for what is right.

Emma mowing
So, when approached by many well-respected members of our community to bring that kind of courageous principled leadership back to the Indiana Statehouse, John recognized his duty and followed the call again.When John and Jean are’t actively involved at Kingsway Christian Church or at Kingsway Christian School, where their four kids attend, they can be found out at Crane Acres in Avon training up their own children in the way they should go and always looking for opportunities to stand and serve. The calling continues!
Crane family