By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST and the ASSIST News Service
OCEANSIDE, CA (ANS – April 7, 2015) – Ken Rustrum is a man on a mission – to empower Christian ministry around the world through software and the Internet.
To that end, he has started Vituramis, a non-denominational Christian ministry based in Oceanside, California, which, he says, “exists as a ministry, not a business.”
Ken went on to say, “Our desire is to come alongside Christian ministries and to resource them so they may better accomplish their mission. We are staffed through the wonderful efforts of supported staff and volunteers.”
But let’s start at the beginning of this vision, when in the early 2000s, Ken and his wife, Amy, led the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry as volunteers at Long Beach State.
“Early on in our ministry we acquired names, phone numbers and emails galore,” he explained. “Originally this information was placed in a Microsoft Office address book but within a year, the high turnover in the ministry resulted in a maintenance nightmare. It became clear that something was needed for para-church ministries though we could find nothing. As a gift to my wife, I began to program one.” The objective was to track their ministry through the software. This wasn’t difficult for Ken as he had been designing programs since he was just nine years old. He began this work when he was just a volunteer.
In 2004, the couple joined the full-time staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, now known as Cru, and they were assigned to the University of California, Davis, a public research university located in Davis, California, just west of Sacramento.
“For our ministry, we used my software program to keep track of our personal ministry we were doing at Davis,” he recalls. “Later our director asked if we could use this system to manage retreat registration for our campus. I expanded my system to track retreat registration, online payments and accounting. It was very adaptable.
“I was later asked if this same system could be used to take online applications for scholarships (donated money to help students afford to attend conferences) and process these applications. The system was easily extended to fill this purpose. I realized that most of the needs para-church ministries had for a database system couldn’t be anticipated in advance and that there would need to be a system that was highly customizable.”
Ken said that during all of his time with Campus Crusade, he believed his field ministry of sharing Christ with students, was his calling.
“I never intended on leaving,” he told me. “However, God began making it more and more clear that he wanted me to serve ministries around the world by providing them with the kinds of software/database/internet resources that these ministries desperately needed. I believed this to be a weird calling, after all, wasn’t field ministry more spiritual? God kept making it more and more plain that this was what He wanted me to do and that I could have a much larger impact on the Great Commission by resourcing multiple para-church ministries than I could on the field.”
The turning point for Ken came in 2010 when he was journaling and became convinced that God wanted him to leave the staff and start a new ministry which would focus on resourcing ministries with the best technology available.
“I talked to my wife and she said we should pray about it for a week before making a decision,” he went on to say. “After a week, we were both convinced that we should make this big decision. We left staff, moved out of our house and to Oceanside, CA. and started this new ministry which we called Vituramis.” Vita comes from the Latin which means life. Dunamis comes from the Greek which means power. The name indicates Vituramis’s mission to empower ministries to thrive.
So in November 2011, the first major event occurred for his ministry, when he designed a database service called CrossReference, followed in August 2012 by the beta release of CrossReference. In October 2012, Ken got his first ministry account, and he is now looking forward to June 1st, 2015, when the full release of CrossReference will be unveiled.
He said, “I have a very unconventional calling and this is a very unconventional ministry. Up until this point, para-church ministries haven’t had a computer system designed for them. There is a very good reason for this. Every para-church ministry is different so if a business made a system designed for one ministry, they wouldn’t be able to carbon copy it elsewhere.
“As a result, most smaller para-church ministries have gone without computer systems. Even larger ministries have gone without central ministry databases and software up until this point. Our system easily customizes to each ministry. It performs just as capably for a Discipleship ministry as it does for an outreach ministry or an international mission. We, as a ministry, believe that what we have here will be a game changer.”
On a personal level, Ken Rustrum has come to the aid of ASSIST. We recently switched over to a new website and e-mail system all designed by http://greedbegone.com/ , but we faced a huge problem. We have thousands of our old stories that we needed to archive. So, on the recommendation of Don McIntosh, the founder of Ministry Systems, who previously ran our site, Ken has begun helping us out by beginning the process of doing just that, which means that soon all of our ANS readers will be able to search back, often many years back, for stories they are interested in.
If you would like more information on this new and important ministry, just go to http://vituramis.org/, call 1-855-4VITURAMIS, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also go to http://www.facebook.com/vituramis or http://www.linkedin.com/company/vituramis , to find out more.
So if you have need for Ken’s services, this could also prove a game changer for you, and/or your ministry.
Photo captions: 1) Ken explains to Holly Younghans how the customized CrossReference system set up for First the Kingdom works. 2) Ken and Amy spent 5 years doing ministry with Campus Crusade on the Campus of UC Davis. 3) Ken (Center) meets with other Vituramis volunteers.
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