A Profile of Steve & Janette Karges
President & Vice President of Children’s Ministries International, Inc.
Stephen “Steve” Karges is a Christian minister who is passionate about reaching kids for Christ worldwide.
Steve is President of Children’s Ministries International, Inc., a non-denominational, evangelical Christian ministry, based in San Diego, California, which he founded in 1980. Karges is also Coordinator of Global 4/14 Day, a worldwide day of prayer for children, held annually on April 14. In addition, Steve serves as Editor of Heroic Dads, a syndicated commentary for Christian fathers.
Known as a “preacher’s kid.” Steve is the fourth and youngest child of Albert and Carolyn Karges. Steve’s parents planted two churches and his father ministered to ten congregations over a span of 39 years.
Steve was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1958. A year-and-a-half later, the Karges family moved to southern California, where Steve and his older siblings, Mark, Karen, and Mike were raised.
On June 4, 1967, Steve accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord and was baptized. He was nine-years-old at the time.
It was during his years in elementary school that Karges began to show an interest in global evangelism. He attended revivals and Christian conventions with his parents and was introduced to many preachers and missionaries. One of Steve’s favorite evangelists was Reggie Thomas, who recorded a vinyl record in the 1960s titled, “You Can Be a Soul Winner.” Steve would sit in front of the record player at home and listen to both sides of the album over and over again. While in grade school, Karges could be spotted sitting under a shade tree during recess reading a book on evangelism. One time when traveling alone on an airplane as a minor, Steve turned to the businessman sitting next to him and innocently asked, “Do you know my best-friend, Jesus?”
Steve was 15-years-old when his father asked him to lead “Junior Church” for children in their congregation. Karges accepted the challenge and for the next three years led worship services on Sunday mornings for boys and girls (ages 5 – 12). It was during this time that God planted the seed in Steve’s heart for vocational children’s ministry. Steve learned from his own childhood experience that kids can understand and respond to the Gospel and follow Jesus for the rest of their lives.
The summer following his high school graduation in 1976, Karges served as a counselor at the Billy Graham Crusade in San Diego. Several years later, he served as a children’s counselor at the Luis Palau Crusade, also in San Diego.
While attending college, Steve served for nearly three years as a part-time youth director at two small San Diego County churches at the same time. As a result, Karges gained valuable ministry experience that would prove helpful in the years to come.
During his third and final year with the churches, Steve was also a West Coast Associate Director for Christ in Youth, a ministry to teenagers, then based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During his brief stint at “CIY,” Karges believed he should narrow his ministry focus and concentrate specifically on children. Steve’s faith in God kept growing as he trusted the Lord to meet every need. As a missionary who was required to raise funds for ministry expenses and salary, Karges turned to God and His Word for help. Ever since, THE LORD HAS FAITHFULLY PROVIDED for every ministry and family need.
Karges graduated from Palomar College in San Marcos, California in 1979. Soon after, he was ordained into Christian ministry through the non-denominational Christian Church.
On May 16, 1980, at the age of 22, Karges founded and incorporated Children’s Ministries International, Inc. as a soul winning ministry for boys and girls. “CMI” is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity.
In 1984, Steve was selected as an “Outstanding Young Man of America” by the United States Jaycees.
Steve met his future bride, Janette Pullin, in 1981. After Steve shared the Gospel with Janette, she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord at age 22 and was baptized shortly thereafter.
A Colorado native born in 1958, “Jannie” is the third and youngest child of Charles and Barbara Pullin. She was raised and attended high school in the small town of Walsenburg, Colorado, along with her older siblings, Jackie and Jim.
Steve and Janette were married on June 25, 1983 at a church in Poway, California.
Janette Karges, who attended Colorado State University and worked in the financial industry for several years, is Vice President of Children’s Ministries International, Inc.
In addition to raising two kids and serving with “CMI” for more than 33 years, Janette has also worked part-time on the children’s ministry staffs at two churches for 17 years (1994 – 2012).
Since 1980, Steve and Janette have ministered through Children’s Ministries International, Inc. to kids, parents, and children’s ministry leaders as they…
- Proclaim “Christ crucified” by preaching and teaching the Word of God.
- Evangelize children.
- Defend the Truth of Scripture in global children’s ministry.
- Equip and mentor children’s ministry leaders worldwide.
- Come-along side of parents and encouraged families.
- Organize and lead Global 4/14 Day (held annually on April 14).
- Advocate for global children’s ministry and international adoption.
- Develop internet ministries (cmikids.com, Global414Day.com, HeroicDads.com).
- Wrote and published the Kids’ Retreats Director’s Notebook and continue to pen articles for parents and leaders, to edify and “build-up” the Body of Christ worldwide.
- Connect with global partners for wider ministry to children.
- Organized, led or assisted…125 Weekend Kids’ Retreats (2 Countries, 11 States).
- Produced and syndicated radio broadcasts (“Kids’ Korner” and “Growing Up with Steve”) heard throughout the United States and in the Philippines.
- Led Children’s Crusades in the USA.
- Initiated Sports Outreach programs (within youth baseball and soccer leagues) to reach kids for Christ outside of the local church.
Steve has ministered on five of the world’s seven continents. Karges estimates he has traveled more than one million miles in airplanes during his lifetime.
Steve and Janette (and son, Kevin) are alumni of the Ellerslie Mission Society’s “Basic Training” in Colorado. As life-long learners, they continue to study God’s Word under the teaching of John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul.
An avid sports fan, Steve was a guest chapel speaker for the San Diego Padres and Montreal Expos during the 1994 Major League Baseball season. Two years later, Steve represented Children’s Ministries International, Inc. when he threw the ceremonial first pitch at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, prior to a Cardinals game.
The Karges’ are active in their local church.
Steve and Janette have two grown children, Stephanie (married to Charles Heidbreder) and Kevin. They also have a “foster-son” named Pablo.