Shock! Award honors influential youngsters’s minister

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The picture flashed on the large show display, and Brenda Gordon immediately acknowledged the face.


It was her private.

“It was a shock. That’s what it was,” Gordon said. “I had no idea that one thing was occurring.”


“It was a shock. That’s what it was. I had no idea that one thing was occurring.”

People who love Gordon — her husband, Sylvan; her grownup daughters, LeAnna Thompson and Audrey White; her spiritual family on the Edmond Church of Christ in Oklahoma; her youngsters’s ministry colleagues and former interns all through the U.S. — had saved the important thing for months.

The shock occurred on the newest Nationwide Youngsters’s & Youth Ministries conference, commonly known as NCYM, on the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort in Colorado Springs.

Lord ready, Gordon will rejoice 20 years this August as the kids’s ministry director for the Edmond church, north of Oklahoma Metropolis.

While she recovers from knee different surgical process, she flew to NCYM.


Gordon, who taught public school for 21 years sooner than going into full-time ministry, was smitten by seeing outdated mates and attending the lessons.

What she didn’t know was that NCYM leaders consider to honor her with the 2023 Youngsters’s Ministry Award. She figured it out as a result of the video began having fun with that night time time, and acquainted faces started offering tributes to her.

“Oh, it was merely an disagreeable cry, I inform you,” Gordon said of her response.

They’d been joyful tears.

Jahnnette Brandt, youngsters’s ministry director for the MacArthur Park Church of Christ in San Antonio since 2014, nominated her pal.

Brandt, a former school coach and administrator herself, recalled that Gordon impressed her and prayed collectively together with her when she made the transition to ministry.

“This lady doesn’t merely minister to the littles at church. She helps mentor all the youthful adults who’re considering youngsters’s ministry.”

“What triggered me to do the nomination was going to a conference collectively together with her,” Brandt said. “We had been with a bunch of children’s ministers, and he or she merely started pointing to plenty of and saying, ‘He was my intern. She was my intern. She was my intern.’

“And I assumed, ‘This lady doesn’t merely minister to the littles at church. She helps mentor all the youthful adults who’re considering youngsters’s ministry.’”

A type of former interns, Sierra Gustafson, provided Gordon with the award.

Gustafson, a 2015 graduate of Oklahoma Christian School in Oklahoma Metropolis, serves as youngsters’s minister for the Levy Church of Christ in North Little Rock, Ark.

Gordon’s functionality to remember all the Edmond youngsters’s names — members and company alike — always impressed Gustafson.

It’s not just a few names: The large church has 264 youngsters on its roll, from nursery age via sixth grade.

“Youngsters had been merely immediately drawn to that about her,” Gustafson said.

On the Edmond church, the kids know Gordon as “Ms. Brenda.”

“I always get tickled when some youngster will come as a lot as me and title me ‘Mr. Brenda,’” said Sylvan Gordon, an Edmond elder and Brenda’s husband of 44 years.

Youngsters’s ministry assistant Hannah Risley grew up throughout the Edmond church and joined Brenda Gordon and youth minister John Frias at NCYM.

“I always get tickled when some youngster will come as a lot as me and title me ‘Mr. Brenda.’”

“I was actually more than happy with our youngsters’s ministry and our church family being able to carry a secret for that prolonged,” Risley said of Gordon’s award.

“Nevertheless it certainly was actually pretty helpful, her being out resulting from her knee different,” added Risley, one different former public school coach. “It allowed us to have the congregation participate with the celebration and write notes for her and draw pictures for her to put proper right into a scrapbook to present to her after her award.”

At this stage, I can’t help nonetheless stage out that Edmond is my dwelling congregation, and Gordon is a selected particular person to my family — as she is to quite a few others.

My son Brady earned ministry ranges from Oklahoma Christian and Abilene Christian School in Texas. Gordon was the first particular person to encourage him in that path.

“I’m nonetheless grateful for Brenda’s have an effect on and one of the simplest ways she seen potential in me,” Brady said. “Brenda cares deeply for everyone she comes into contact with. It’s inspiring and contagious.”

My partner, Tamie, smiles anytime she mentions Gordon.

“When she and I are talking or texting, we refer to 1 one other as ‘Sister’ on account of that’s what our relationship is,” Tamie said. “We’re sisters in Christ via baptism and sisters in life on account of we’ve completed a number of years of it collectively.

“We chortle heaps,” my partner added. “We could also be silly or vital, counting on the circumstances. Good, harmful, humorous, sad, I do know I can inform her one thing, and he or she’ll be there for me, whether or not or not we’re every carrying a dusting of powdered sugar or sweating throughout the shade someplace.”

Congratulations in your award, Ms. Brenda! We’re happy with you.

BOBBY ROSS JR. is Editor-in-Chief of The Christian Chronicle. Attain him at [email protected].