EU Alumni Perspective: Leslie Richardson Crouse
Name: Leslie Richardson Crouse, BA, MBA
Graduation Year: 2007
Major: Biblical Studies
Current Position: Author of Tired Mamas Pray; Director of Redeeming Freedom Ministries
City and State: Branson, MO
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
After graduating Evangel University in 2007, I received a master’s in business administration from Keller Graduate School in Colorado Springs, CO. In 2014, I began to write prayers so that people could pray scripture over their loved ones. In 2015, the prayers were published in a mobile application called BiblicalPrayers, which provided daily prayers for one year. Seeing as technology continuously evolves, I decided to move the prayers over to print and in 2021 published a book called Tired Mamas Pray: Ninety Prayers in 60 Seconds or Less. This year (2022), Redeeming Freedom Ministries was also founded as an Inner Healing ministry located in Branson, MO.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
My best memories were made in the Joust sitting around the tables with friends and laughing or grabbing a late-night coffee. The worship nights also have a special place in my heart. But I think my all-time favorite memory was in 2005 when I was sitting in Hebrew class in the old barracks. It was a blistering hot September day and the radiator (which was over working its ancient self) began shooting ice cubes across the room, pelting the guy beside me. He was screaming, the ice cubes were shooting, and I thought, “These are my people.”
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
Coming in as a freshman, I was unsure of what I wanted to do. I began taking classes in what I loved the most: Bible. At the time I had no idea where it would take me; I only knew that I was passionate about it. Eventually, I coupled Biblical Studies with Psychology. After graduation, I moved to Colorado and pursued a master’s in business administration, specializing in entrepreneurship and nonprofits.
At the time the different areas of study did not seem to add up, but the Lord took the various threads of my education and wove them together to create Redeeming Freedom Ministries and the book Tired Mamas Pray. Looking back, I see now how the Lord directed my every footstep with intentionality and precision.
Evangel provided the opportunity to explore, challenge, and affirm what I had grown up believing. Without my Biblical Studies degree and the Hebrew and Greek classes, I never would have been able to research and write Tired Mamas Pray or establish Redeeming Freedom Ministries. The incredible relationships built at Evangel served to propel and encourage me forward into the professional world.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
Evangel prepared me with a biblical worldview that became a needed anchor. There are many worldly philosophies to contend with, but having a solid foundation of what we believe and why we believe it has certainly carried me forward after graduation.
I appreciate Evangel’s biblical worldview far more now than I did as a freshman. At the time it was all required classes. Now, it is a foundation. Though the cultural winds blow, and the rains fall, and the waves crash, I am not tossed about in uncertainty. My feet are firmly on the rock of Jesus Christ, and I am equipped to compassionately minister to those who need healing.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
1 – Lean on the relationships and the help that Evangel provides. The career center, the professors, the Alumni Office… everyone there at Evangel is for you. They are behind you. You are not alone, and you need not strive to make a path forward. Partner with those the Lord has placed alongside you.
2 – Allow the Word of God to dwell richly inside you. Speak His Word to fear, anxiety, hopelessness, or defeat every time it tries to tear your down. This includes your quiet time. Seasons will come when quiet time looks different. Just remember that it is about a relationship. God can do more with 5 minutes of genuine connection with you than he can with 30 minutes of absent-minded routine.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
If I were hiring a graduate from Evangel for Redeeming Freedom Ministries, I would look at beliefs, character, work ethic, worldview, and the manner in which the applicant conducts him or herself when interacting face to face.
At Redeeming Freedom Ministries, we minister to the brokenhearted. Therefore, my top priority is for our team to be compassionate, professional, engaged, and sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
In addition, we are a parachurch ministry meaning we work with several different denominations. I look for team members who know what they believe while thoughtfully weighing the viewpoints of others with honor and respect. Our differences make us stronger.