Crafting Fellowship: Local Pastor Discusses Elevate Life Church

Article appearing in the Frisco Star on November 28, 2011
By Elizabeth Knighten,

In November 1960, Frisco resident Pastor Keith Craft suffocated in a plastic bag, and with the help of emergency response and perhaps a miracle, came back to life.

According to the church’s website,, Craft is the pastor and co-founder of Elevate Life Church in Frisco with his wife Sheila. Craft was 10-months-old at the time of the accident and said he “suffocated to death” in his mother’s bedroom.

“She had left the house to go to a choir banquet and she took the dress out of a laundry clothes bag and laid it on the bed,” Craft said. “I was in a play pin next to the bed, of course [the] play pin is bed height, so she leaves and doesn’t think anything about the plastic bag being on the bed.”

Craft’s grandmother, Bessie G. Ferguson, who he refers to as ‘Mamaw’, was watching him that night.

“My two and a half year old brother walks in there and says ‘Mamaw, Mamaw, Keith’s all blue,’ so for 15 minutes she just kind of ignored him and finally she goes, ‘well I better go check on him’ and so she came into the room and I was enveloped inside this clothes bag,” Craft said. “According to her, you couldn’t differentiate me from the bag … blood was coming from my nose and my mouth and my ears and of course, she didn’t know I was dead, she just knew I wasn’t breathing.”

Ferguson called the paramedics and waited, Craft said 15 to 30 minutes before a firefighters arrived on the scene because the ambulance had a flat tire.

Craft said firefighters who responded tried oxygen, and mouth- to- mouth resuscitation, but neither seemed to work.

“They pulled a sheet over my head and I had a Mamaw, who was there, and of course she had been holding me the whole time praying, but just said something like ‘God, you’re the giver of life and you can resurrect this boy … and I ask that you give him life’ and literally a breath shot out of my mouth that it blew the sheet off of me,” Craft said.

Craft said that later his doctor “confirmed it was a miracle.”

A few years later, Craft felt a spiritual calling.

“When I was 9-years-old I was in a church service and I went forward to the alter and I just felt like God told me for the rest of my life … to tell people about him,” Craft said. I answered that call when I was 9, and from that point on I began to tell people that I’m going to be in ministry — I don’t know what that means — but I’m going to spend my life doing something for God.”

While he was involved in ministry and the church, it wasn’t until his 40th birthday, that Craft said he answered the call to be a pastor.

“We started in January of 2000, actually on my 40th birthday, I had a pastor friend in Carrollton who said, ‘do you think you’ll ever pastor?’ and I said, ‘well, I’ll answer that question when I’m 40,'” Craft said. “On my 40th birthday we had our first service and it was in Noel Smith Elementary, it was a night service on Sunday night and that’s how we kicked off.”

After two years, the church, which was then called Celebration Covenant Church, purchased the 27 acres it currently sits on near the corner of Teel Parkway and Main Street.

“We started our church with a little bit different mentality and that was, there are a lot of churches and a lot of cities, Frisco was a new city,” Craft said. “When we started our church, our desire was to start a church that really elevates their thinking, so they can elevate their life. We rebranded in 2010 because our message after 10 years had been solidified, and in one phrase it would be ‘when you elevate your thinking, you elevate your life,’ so what was born out of that was Elevate Life Church.

Craft’s resume, which includes working as a youth pastor, traveling with his ministry, Strike Force, which he created in 1987, and was composed of “athletes who did physical feats of strength at public schools,” and he has also worked as a corporate coach motivational speaker. He still speaks, he said, “at some of the largest business seminars in the world, called Get Motivated,” and has shared the stage with numerous politicians including Margaret Thatcher and Bill Clinton.

Since 2007, Craft and the church have been raising more than spirits. The church’s newest endeavor is the cathedral addition which is 10 stories tall and can be seen from the Dallas North Tollway.

“We wanted to connect, the old with the new, we went over to Europe, we actually looked at cathedrals,” Craft said. “We did research so we could build something in Frisco that would represent not just a modern building –but that would represent really the history … of the church … and when people look at the cathedral, they’ll know in Frisco, Texas there is a cathedral that represents the elevated seat of Christ in the city.”

The new auditorium that Craft will hold his sermons in is equipped with 3,000 theatre seats, and “state of art technology” on the inside Craft said. The new wing will also offer a coffee bar for guests.

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