A Legacy of Faith: Don Gordon's 50+ Years in Ministry
A Legacy of Faith
In our world today, the reality of proclaiming and upholding the truth of the gospel has become more complex and difficult than many probably every imagined. As Christians, we're not surprised that the path of faith is difficult because our Lord and Savior told us it would be this way (John 15:18).
However, it's challenging to find men and women of deep-rooted godly character that will stay the course in full time ministry despite the challenges and adversity of such a unique vocation. Few pastors will endure over the course of their life and even fewer will do so in a way that builds God's Kingdom rather than their own. These faithful saints are people who, like the apostle Paul, boast in their weaknesses and boast in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. By the grace of God, I've had the privilege to meet a small handful of men like this.
One of those influential and faithful saints is Don Gordon.
I don't remember the exact date that I first met Don but, by the grace of God, I had the honor of not only meeting him but also marrying into his family by marrying his granddaughter, Nicole (Gordon) Ricley. Ever since marrying into the Gordon family in 2008, I've grown to admire, appreciate, and learn from Don in so many ways. The more I learned of his legacy of faithfulness in ministry the more I thanked God for placing such a man in my path. Every young guy, like me, needs men and women of deep conviction to look to, learn from, and listen to as they trek the uniquely challenging and joyful road of ministry.
Every wise pastor knows that the ability to do ministry today is because of the faithfulness of the pastors that came before them.
We stand on their shoulders in this generation and, in the next generation, someone else will be standing on our shoulders. Ministry never has nor ever will be about a pastor, preacher, or minister; it has always been about God building His Kingdom through the truth and power of the gospel while using broken people in the process (2 Corinthians 4:5-7).
Don Gordon is such an example.
And let's be honest, it is remarkable to meet a man of God that truly could be listed as an example of what the apostle Paul exhorted his apprentice, Titus, to pursue during his life and ministry as an elder serving the Church:
Anyone who knows Don Gordon would agree that the passage of Scripture listed above is a tall task yet Don Gordon has lived his life in a manner worthy of the calling he received from his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
For these reasons, this post seeks to praise God for sending the world a faithful man like Don who has powerfully impacted thousands of people and has been faithful to Jesus in a way that brings glory to God. This post also seeks to honor Don's legacy that, to this day, is still being sown in the hearts and lives of many across the country!
Don's HISTORY & background
Don Gordon was born in Norfolk, NE on December 14, 1938 to Clifford and Genevieve Gordon. Don grew up in Norfolk and there attended Nebraska Christian College (NCC) from 1957 to 1963. While attending NCC, Don met and married Peggy (center) in 1958 at the Church of Christ in Julesburg, CO. Don and Peggy had two children, Todd (bottom left) & Michelle (upper left), who have not only adopted their parents' faith but have both committed their lives to Jesus and served the Church faithfully for a long time. Both Todd and Michelle have served in leadership roles in various churches over the years. Now that they have children of their own, they have passed along that legacy of faith to their children and grandchildren.
Don began full time ministry in Palmer, NE where he served from 1963 to 1967. From there, Don and Peggy ventured to Holyoke, CO and enjoyed a fruitful ministry there from 1967 to 1972.
One of Don's longest ministries (1972 - 2000) was his pastoral leadership in Griswold, IA at the Central Church of Christ. There Don learned a lot, grew the church spiritually and numerically, and enjoyed 28 joy-filled years of ministry there.
Don was preaching at the Sutherland Church of Christ in Sutherland, IA when his first wife, Peggy, passed away in 2004. This was one of the most difficult seasons for Don and it led him to be semi-retired for a short stint. But the call of ministry never went away which then led to Don "getting back at it" by supply preaching for the Carroll Church of Christ for about 7 months, traveling 230 miles round trip each week.
In 2007, Don remarried Kathy Steen at First Christian Church in Council Bluffs, IA and she has been a great blessing and help-meet for Don in his ministry in the recent years.
Don continued traveling around supporting many rural churches who were without pastors by supply preaching, calling on the elderly, performing weddings and funerals, and making hospital calls. There were many opportunities for this type of ministry at a church in Storm Lake, IA as well where Don and Kathy traveled 110 miles round trip each week.
Currently, Don and Kathy reside in LeMars, IA and Don continues to fulfill his ministry calling and has been serving the church in Primghar, IA for the past two years by supply preaching, being one of their pastors, and a dear friend to many in that area. Don and Kathy stay busy with ministry but they also stay busy traveling to visit family, enjoy their children and grandchildren, and Don continues his incredible record of doing all the weddings for all of his grandkids.
MINISTRY INTERVIEW WITH DON
Recently I had the privilege of sitting down with Don and interviewing him about his incredible 54 years of full-time ministry. I recorded our conversations and you can listen to and download both podcasts if you so desire. I hope they will be an encouragement to you as you listen to a man who has lived a full life with God while leaving a legacy of faith in his two children and grandchildren as well as many pastors and churches all over the country.
The Jubilaires Quartet
Don had a passion for music that was contagious. Both of his children, Todd and Michelle, are musicians that have used their passion for music in their personal life as well as in the churches they are a part of.
Anyone who ever attended a church service with Don knew that it didn't matter where you were in the room; you would be able to pick out Don's booming voice in the largest room full of the most worshipful choruses. Even in his singing you could sense Don's love for Jesus and the gospel.
In 1963, this passion led Don to start the Jubilaires Quartet with three other men: Russell McCracken, Roger Hasselquist, and Tim Gilbert. The Jubilaires sang all over the country for various revival meetings and special events from Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska, and Iowa. The Jubilaires made multiple records and were together for 29 years!