Masters of Arts & Doctor of Religious Studies with high distinction from Trinity Theological Seminary
Founded Kruse International
Youngest licensed realtor in the Nation
First to sell a car for $1 million
Mitch Kruse: Family First
OWNER, CEO & AUCTIONEER
For Mitch Kruse, auctioneering was an art and a life. His father and grandfather were famous auctioneers specializing in collector cars and real estate. However, when Mitch was a freshman in high school, his father hit financial problems. By the time he was a senior, Mitch was faced with the decision to follow his success in basketball into college or attend Indiana University and restore the family’s auction business. He decided on taking the latter route. As a senior in college, Mitch formed Kruse International which innovated the auction industry, producing 50 annual events that reached millions of automotive enthusiasts across the globe, offering 15,000+ collectible vehicles, before producing the first auction broadcast live via satellite.
He has auctioned for royalty, heads of state, numerous celebrities, and top classic car collectors in the world. Kruse auctions currently airs on Fox Sports Network through a TV series called Bidding Wars. He was the youngest licensed realtor in the nation and the first to sell a vehicle for a documented $1 million cash. For 17 years, Mitch was owner, CEO, and auctioneer of Kruse International, the world’s largest collector car sales organization.
As Mitch followed in his father’s footsteps, he discovered that success is fragile and often comes at a high price. Instead of planning for family time with his child, he traveled further and more frequently. “I stayed late at the office, because there was literally no end to what I could do each day to earn enough money to stay one step ahead of disaster,” he says. He found himself in the same situation his dad did years earlier, putting his business before family and faith.
Though he was raised in a Christian family, Mitch vacillated between legalism and relative lawlessness. In July of 1990, “it was like someone turned the lights off,” says Mitch. “We experienced two years of economic crisis.”
On July 1, 1992, Mitch was met at the doors of Kruse International’s corporate building by two members of the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS.
“At first I thought it was a joke by one of my employees,” said Mitch. Once Mitch realized it was not a joke, he hoped they were there to investigate the records of one of the companies’ 450,000 customers. In the middle of the crisis, Mitch called his Uncle Derald. Within the hour of Uncle Derald’s arrival, Mitch discovered two crucial facts: first, the IRS had orchestrated a sting operation against his company; second, they needed to pull together expert legal counsel.
After years of facing constant pressure of life in the fast lane, he reached a turning point and surrendered control of his life to the Lord. On the day of the raid, Uncle Derald asked Mitch, “Have you ever thought about changing the scorecard of your life from money to wisdom?” This question has stayed with Mitch ever since then.
Just after the raid Mitch started meeting weekly with his Uncle to ask him questions about the scripture he had read that week. Soon these meetings began to fuel an almost insatiable desire for wisdom from the Bible to apply to his life. In his search for wisdom, Mitch created four courses in order to apply his mind. First, read a chapter in Proverbs each day that corresponds with the date of the month. “Proverbs has 31 chapters, so I read through the book once each month.”
Secondly, read a chapter from the New Testament each day. “This allowed me to read the entire New Testament in less than a calendar year.”
Third, read three chapters each day in the Old Testament, “So that I could read the entire Bible in a year,” says Mitch.
Finally, “I memorized one verse each week that I applied to my collector car auction life, recalling it several times throughout the week.”
These four disciplines have proven to be very valuable to Mitch that he continues to pursue them each day. “I encourage you to consider selecting one of the courses for your own life. Warning: this will radically change your life,” says Mitch.
In 1999 God provided Mitch a way to leave Kruse International. He sold his company to eBay and attended seminary. He now teaches others on the value of a life restored in Christ. In his book, Restoration Road, Mitch talks about four primary desires. These are God-given desires that reside in each one of us. Every choice, thought, prayer, and feeling is connected with every investment of time, talent, and treasure by the heartbeat to satisfy these desires. The first primary desire is significance, which comes from being created in God’s image. The second desire is contentment from being blessed by God to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth. The third desire is control, being empowered by God to rule over the earth. The fourth desire is security from being provided with every seed-bearing plant and fruit-bearing tree.
Each desire is present in Genesis 1:27-30. One who attempts to satisfy his desire leads with a particular chamber of the heart. Attempting to satisfy the desire for significance, the emotions chamber leads. Someone who attempts to satisfy his desire for contentment leads with the spirit. One who attempts satisfying the desire for control leads with the will. Someone who desires to satisfy security leads with intellect. Even though one leads with a heart chamber when pursuing a particular desire, all four chambers of the heart flow toward each pursuit. “When we fully surrender our hearts, desires, and three resources of life to Him. He satisfies our desires. We are not the ones restoring; rather, it is Christ in us and working through us.”
Today, Mitch writes and speaks to a wide array of audiences about wisdom and leadership. Mitch, his wife Susan, and their daughter live in Auburn, Indiana, on their family farm homesteaded from the Indiana State government by his great-great-great grandfather in 1854.
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