Craig Jutila, Beloved Kidmin Leader, Dies While Snowboarding

The kidmin community was rocked on December 26 with word of a tragic skiing accident involving well-known and popular children’s ministry leader Craig Jutila.

The kidmin community was rocked on December 26 with word of a tragic skiing accident involving well-known and popular ministry leader Craig Jutila.

As friends and ministry leaders rallied to pray for a miracle, Craig’s life slipped away.

The tragic news of his death came from senior pastor Tim Lundy at Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California. Craig served at Venture Christian as the family pastor.

Craig leaves behind his wife, Mary, and three young adult children—Alec, Cameron and Karimy. He is preceded in death by his son Blake.

The posts from Mary, Craig’s wife, reveal a broken heart buoyed by hope.

As tributes to this “general of the faith” flood in, details of Craig’s death are still forthcoming. Mary Jutila, Craig’s wife, posted this recently.

Emily Snider One of his lessons that I always remember is how to carry myself as a leader. He shared about a Fall event he hosted, and they ended up with more kids than they were prepared for (by hundreds). He explained that your volunteers take their cues from you, the leader. So instead of panicking, he sent a volunteer to Walmart and had them buy up all the candy. I always remember this when I start to get anxious or panic before an event.

Sheila Kopsell Halasz So I am not the only one who saw the Jim Carrey in his presentations! His energy was contagious as was his transparency. There were always so many good takeaways from his talks. They might not all have been in the order of the handout, but it was even better! I pray for his family whom he loved dearly and for all of us to continue to live healthy and not hectic lives as we grow in our essential leadership skills.

Danielle Bell The first ever Children’s Pastor’s Conference pre-con I ever attended was led by Craig. I remember thinking, why did I sign up for eight hours, I will be so bored. Well after eight hours with Craig I was energized, challenged, encouraged and equipped. I remember thinking he is like Jim Carey meets children’s ministry. He was funny but his love for Jesus and kids was obvious!

Then another year he was keynoting at Group’s conference when they did youth and kids together. I remember him asking all of the leaders to stand. He talked about how easy it would be for us to get burned-out, discouraged or quit. He asked us all to stay faithful in ministry for the Kingdom!

Dale Hudson Yesterday, an incredible children’s ministry leader went to Heaven as a result of a snowboard accident. Craig Jutila has inspired and encouraged me over the years through his speaking, curriculum, books and more. Thank you for your faithfulness Craig. We will miss you in the children’s and family ministry world.

For details about Craig’s celebration of life services and live-streaming, go to Venture Christian Church’s page.

Please join our ChurchLeaders family as we continue to pray for the Jutila family and Venture Christian Church. We will keep you posted on any updates.

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Christine Yount Jones
Christine Yount Jones is Content Director for Outreach Media Group. She has published several books and hundreds of articles about ministry in the last three decades. Before his death in 2003, Michael Yount and Christine had three children. Now, she and her husband, Ray Jones, together have five grown kids.

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