About Us

Cru® launched StoryRunners® in 2003 to take God’s Word to oral learners in unreached people groups through Bible storytelling. We equip people to develop oral Bible stories in order to launch church planting movements among unreached people who don’t have access to the Bible.

StoryRunners - Togo Storyteller

StoryRunners offers:

The School of Storying

The School of Storying is a residence workshop with local people who develop The Promise, a series of 42 Bible stories from Creation to the Return of Christ, in their own language in just four weeks. As a result of the School of Storying, local people have developed an oral Bible story set and are equipped to use oral Bible stories for evangelism, discipleship and church planting.

Church Planting Workshops

By coming alongside church planters in oral cultures, StoryRunners uses oral Bible stories to help church planters make disciples of those who prefer to learn through spoken narratives.

Storytelling Training

Whether in person or virtually, StoryRunners trains churches, ministry teams and other groups to use oral Bible storytelling in their unique ministry context, both overseas and in the U.S.

StoryRunners Distinctives

Reaching oral people groups

Our vision is to see followers of Christ in communities of faith among every unreached people group in oral cultures.

Local ownership

StoryRunners trains local ministry leaders to develop and use oral Bible stories on their own. Their knowledge of the local languages and cultures makes local ministry leaders more effective, and they are often able to access areas restricted to Westerners.

Speed

Through the School of Storying, we equip local people to develop The Promise, a series of 42 oral Bible stories from Creation to the Return of Christ, in just four weeks.

Number of languages StoryRunners has completed to date by country:

Our History

In the late 1990s, Cru® (Campus Crusade for Christ) ministries began to bump up against the difficulty of creating ministry resources for people groups without Scripture available in their heart language. Additionally, Cru faced the challenges of using literacy-based ministry tools with people who could not or would not read. For example, Jesus Film Project® sometimes encountered voice actors who could not read their lines during recording projects; rather, these voice actors learned orally and needed to be coached line by line. Cru responded by launching StoryRunners® in 2003 to take God’s Word to unreached people living in oral cultures through Bible storytelling.

StoryRunners began in partnership with other storytelling ministries to accelerate the work of Bible story development among unreached language groups. Since launching, StoryRunners developed its own distinctive approach to develop Bible stories called the School of Storying; through this approach, we equip local ministry practitioners with story development and church planting training. Today, StoryRunners has expanded its use of oral Bible storytelling to equipping church planters, laypeople and university students. Additionally, StoryRunners is exploring opportunities to partner with non-Western seminaries and the use of stories in trauma healing.

Bill and Vonette Bright began Cru at UCLA in 1951. What started as a ministry to students on college campuses now touches the lives of people in every segment of society and in 194 countries. Cru helps build spiritual movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.

StoryRunners is based in Orlando, Florida, at Lake Hart, Cru’s world headquarters.

our Leadership

Mark Steinbach, Director

Mark Steinbach has provided leadership and direction to StoryRunners® since 2014. Since joining Cru® staff in 1980, Mark has served in a variety of roles, including 22 years with Jesus Film Project®, 13 of which he served on the Executive Team. Mark enjoys making his special fruitcake each Christmas, and he is a Beatles aficionado.

Todd Norvell, Human Resources Director

Todd Norvell leads a team of human resource specialists and implements a variety of strategies designed to build a flourishing team culture. Todd has been on staff with Cru since 1987, including nine years at Cru’s International Graduate School of Leadership in Manila, Philippines. Todd joined StoryRunners in 2005, and he is an avid gardener.

David Walker, Operations and Field Director

David Walker develops international partnerships with individuals, churches and mission groups for StoryRunners. David has been on staff with Cru since 1977, and he has held leadership roles within the campus ministry of Cru, CoMission and Jesus Film Project. David and his wife were among the founding members of StoryRunners in 2003. David enjoys eating a bowl of ice cream every night.

Todd Kerns, International Story Strategies Director

Todd Kerns gives direction to the international strategies of StoryRunners. Since joining Cru in 1987, he has served in the Campus Ministry, at New Life Bible College of Moscow, Russia, and as director of New Staff Orientation. Todd has spent more than 365 nights sleeping in a tent; he and his three children are all Eagle Scouts.

Karlena de la Cruz, US Strategies Director

Karlena de la Cruz provides direction to strategies in the U.S. to increase awareness and recognition of StoryRunners and oral Bible storytelling. She leads a team who provide opportunities for others to engage with StoryRunners through storytelling trainings, story experiences, summer missions and more. Karlena has served with StoryRunners since 2018. She and her husband have backpacked 50 miles to Machu Picchu and the 80 mile Torres Del Paine circuit in Patagonia.

To view our Statement of Faith, please see here.

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