God began preparing Chanda Crutcher, early in her life, to work with senior citizens. “Growing up,” she says, “my grandparents were my favorite people and instrumental in the path I chose.”
What became a career was a passion all along. “I started as a caregiver in a nursing home, then worked in corporate America as a nursing home administrator for many years,” shares Chanda. “But even as a little girl, I was always involved with older adults.”
Years of healthcare experience and a heart for disabled and disregarded senior citizens started converging in Chanda’s life. God was preparing her for a new venture.
“I was driving down the road, and I saw this vision: Life was on one hand and death on the other, and our older adults were in the middle,” she explains. “Many had never heard the gospel, and those who had were articulating to us that they felt abandoned by the church. I saw a window of opportunity to help these individuals finish well, and that’s where American Senior Assistance Programs, Inc. (ASAP) started.”
Statistics in the corporate world were not on their side, though. Most data on small businesses agrees that nearly 50 percent of them fail within the first five years. Building a God-given dream, however, doesn’t rely on probability. When deciding where to pour her time and energy, Chanda lays down a solid foundation of prayer and fasting. “I’m seeking the ‘God idea,’ not just another ‘good’ idea,” she asserts.
Now, nearly 10 years later, Chanda and her ASAP team have experienced incredible growth and accomplished tremendous goals, not only helping seniors and their families, but also creating a safe, family friendly work environment.
“I think the greatest thing people can say is that they work for a faith-based, for-profit business,” she states. “For us, business is also ministry.”
“No area of my life is exempt from God’s grace, provision, wisdom and council, and that has been an invaluable and integral part of my business model.”
—Chanda Crutcher, founding director of American Senior Assistance Programs, Inc. (ASAP).
Many of the clientele that Chanda and her staff serve either have, or are caring for, someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and Chanda has found that very often the first activity to drop off is going to church. More recently, she is noticing that an increasing number of her Huntsville, Ala., clients in their 70s and 80s are agnostic; but for the ASAP team, this is a blessed opportunity.
“When people know you care about them, they eventually want to know why,” Chanda says. “And when you get to that point of why, it opens the doors wide open for us to share Jesus,” she shares.
Chanda’s experience as a CEO and her connection to Foursquare—she serves as missional pastor of Restoration (Huntsville Foursquare Church) in nearby Madison—led her to Life Pacific College (also called Life Bible College), where she learned a vital lesson about being a business owner.
“No area of my life is exempt from God’s grace, provision, wisdom and council,” she asserts, “and that has been an invaluable and integral part of my business model.”
This principle has affected every part of ASAP right down to their director of First Impressions, who also serves as the company’s intercessor. “Her priority is to cover us in prayer, and our staff go to her for spiritual intercession,” Chanda explains. “One area I have learned not to slip up in these 10 years is keeping God at the forefront with prayer.”
When people come to Chanda for corporate startup advice, her first question is always about where their dream business is focused. If they say they don’t know, then her advice is also a challenge.
“Ask God to break your heart for what breaks His, and He will build on that foundation,” she advises. “If your passion takes you down an entrepreneurial path, then run down that road full speed.
“But personally,” she continues, “I couldn’t see myself making the sacrifices I’ve made for our company’s growth if God hadn’t broken my heart and given me a passion to help older adults finish well. Don’t compartmentalize God—let Him into every area of your life, then let your passion drive your process.”
Read more about Chanda’s personal story in a candid article she wrote for foursquare.org, titled “God’s Miraculous Grace.”