The Gideons in the UK

13th October 2021

Dear Church Leader

You may have received a letter recently from “Good News for Everyone“. Some of their members were formerly part of the UK Gideon ministry. UK. The letter has caused some confusion which this article seeks to address.

For many years a small, but vocal, group within the Gideon Ministry in the UK had been pressing the leadership to change the membership criteria. They believed that a “men only” ministry was outdated and that admitting women as members would make them more attractive to churches and supporters and would reverse the declining membership. A 2014 survey of members’ opinion revealed that 79% were in favour of such a change. That small militant group took this as a vindication of their opinion and expected immediate change.

When that did not happen, a certain member sought to force the action by writing to the Charity Commission accusing the Gideon Ministry of being in contravention of the Equality Act.

The UK Gideons’ constitution required the permission of the international governing body (TGI) before such a change could be made. Permission was refused on the grounds that The Gideons International is a fellowship of professional and business men for mutual support in their Christian walk and in the placing of Scripture. The 300,000 or so men in over 200 countries adhere to exactly the same foundational values and constitution.

The UK leadership knew that by changing the constitution against the wishes of TGI that they would be expelled from the Gideon Ministry and would not be able to use the Gideon name which is protected as an international trademark. They signed an agreement in 1974. The relevant section is shown below.

The right and license [sic] herein granted may be cancelled and terminated on one year’s notice in writing given by either party hereto to the other party, provided, however, that such cancellation shall not release the party giving notice from fulfilment [sic] of any outstanding obligations existing as of the date of such notice, and provided further party of the second part hereby agrees to cease and desist from using the designation GIDEON and Design or any term or design confusingly similar thereto in any way, either as a designation for publications or services, or as a part of a corporate or firm name after one year from the date of such notice.”

It is true that, if challenged, a certain aspect of the membership criteria might be deemed to be in contravention of the Act although in the preceding five years no one, including the Charity Commission, had questioned it. None of the legal advice received categorically stated that the only option was to open membership to women and the Act itself makes it very clear that single gender associations are permitted. TGI were more than willing to allow adjustments to the constitution to comply with the law and had offered to underwrite any legal costs involved. The letter suggests that concerns about the Equality Act and the Charity Commission led to the decision to change the membership criteria. That is not true.

At the 2018 AGM a vote was passed to change the constitution in the full knowledge of the consequences. They failed to honour the above agreement, attempted to register the name GideonsUK with the UK Intellectual Property Office without informing the TGI of their intentions. They lost the inevitable legal case in November 2018 , received severe opprobrium from the judge and were required to pay substantial damages and costs. The UK association had dishonestly attempted to benefit from another’s reputation. Following that the name was changed to “Good News for Everyone”

In spite of the fact that their own actions have resulted the bulk of UK Gideons leaving the ministry they nevertheless attempted, as the letter makes clear, to prevent the Gideons International from continuing the ministry in the UK. Had they been successful the UK might have been be the only country in the free world without a Gideon Bible in a hotel room.

Not all Gideons accepted the 2018 AGM vote and were able to continue their Gideon membership directly with TGI. By God’s grace there are now Gideons in most parts of the UK and Northern Ireland and you may see some parallels with the story in the book of Judges. .

Whatever our personal views about membership we believe that we must accept the authority under which we placed ourselves and that schism and division amongst Christian men is certainly not the Lord’s will. If at some point in the further the worldwide ministry chooses to change it’s foundational values then we will accept that and in the meantime the Gideon Ministry in the UK continues.

John Coldwell
National Field Coordinator

Who Are Gideons: Men of Faith

Today’s video is the second in a three-part series in which we are exploring answers to the question, “Who are Gideons?” 

In this video, you’ll see Gideons discuss how they grow as Men of Faith by serving alongside other Christian business and professional men in The Gideons International. Learn how Gideons increase their unique influence in their homes and communities as they sharpen their God-given talents to boldly share Christ.

The video can be watched on our international website here:
https://gideons.org/blog/Who_are_Gideons_Men_of_Faith

Who Are Gideons: Men of God

Today’s video is the first in a three-part series in which we are exploring answers to the question, “Who are Gideons?”

In this video, see members of The Gideons International discuss the day-to-day challenges they face as Christian business and professional men. Discover how membership in The Gideons helps men overcome those challenges and grow as Men of God along with other Christ-followers through associating together and practicing spiritual disciplines.

This video can be watched on our international website here:
https://gideons.org/blog/Who_are_Gideons_Men_of_God

From a Purple Heart to a New Heart

Knowledge of God can come from various places. Sometimes it comes from parents who have committed to raise their kids in a Christian home or from a life-long friend who has always been there for us. However, head knowledge does not save us. Transformation by the Gospel of Jesus leading to total surrender saves us and gives us a new heart and identity.

   

Shaken to the Core

 

Brandon Blair was one of those people surrounded by Gospel truths his entire life. His dad was a pastor in Angier, North Carolina, and his childhood was filled with hearing his dad deliver sermon after sermon. Looking back on this time, Brandon admits, “I knew a lot about the Lord, but I was living for the world.”

 

Fast forward to the terrorist attack in New York City on September 11, 2001. This event shook Brandon to his core. It moved him so much he couldn’t stand still and decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Brandon had never considered the military before the events of that fateful September day.

 

I knew a lot about the Lord, but I was living for the world.”

It took Brandon a little longer than expected to get into the Marines because other individuals with prior military experience had decided to reenlist. In 2003, Brandon left for boot camp in Paris Island, South Carolina. When he arrived, he was given a gift—a Testament from The Gideons. Brandon did more than pack his new copy of God’s Word. “On many nights, I read the pages of that Scripture when soldiers were given time to read or write letters. The Scriptures brought me a lot of peace,” he remembers.

Out of the Pit

Brandon ended up serving in two full-time combat tours. On his last tour in 2006, as soldiers were getting on the bus, he was again handed a Testament from The Gideons, and he placed it in his left chest pocket.

 

War is brutal in many regards. The environments are often challenging, and one never knows what may take place. In August 2006, Brandon was shot by a sniper. He took it to the chest and didn’t know if he was going to live or die. “I begged the Lord to spare my life,” recalls Brandon. He said this knowing his injury was severe. He eventually arrived at the hospital and, to his surprise, realized he had suffered no internal bleeding from the gunshot wound. It was a miracle. At the time of his injury, he was in a mobile unit with armed vehicles outside the wire. They didn’t have a base to come back to at the end of the day. The only time soldiers would come in was because of injury or if a roadside bomb hit them.

 

Brandon continued to receive medical treatment. A friend from Tennessee came to visit him. Just a week after the visit, the friend, too, was shot by a sniper and passed away. The reality of war had just gotten personal for Brandon. Looking back, he said, “This was an extremely low point for me. My friend was just 19 years old and engaged to be married. I asked the Lord, ‘Why not me, Lord? Why did you take him and not me?’”

After his friend’s death, Brandon was lying in a hospital bed surrounded by four walls. He had no television to watch and no phone to call people back home. Then he remembered the Testament in his left pocket and wondered if it was still there or if someone had removed it. The Testament was still there. Brandon found the book of Psalms and read about a time when David was at a low point in his life. He read the words from Psalm 40:1-3: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” Brandon had heard Bible verses his entire life, but this time it was different. God brought Brandon out of his own pit and changed his life in an instant. He asked God to forgive his sins and accepted forgiveness through salvation in Jesus Christ. “I told God I would serve him from that day forward. Before I was shot, spiritually, it was all head knowledge. After I was shot, it was true surrender—I was all in for the Lord,” says Brandon. 

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.”
—Psalm 40:1-2   

A new Heart

In 2007, he was honorably discharged from the military. Remembering his promise to the Lord, he felt called to serve in ministry. He enrolled at what is now Fruitland Baptist Bible College in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and then went on to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He has been serving in ministry ever since, beginning full-time ministry in 2008.

 

Youth ministry was the first area of service for Brandon. One evening, while speaking at a youth event, Brandon met a photographer named Tristan. They soon began to date and married in 2009. Today, they have three adopted kids.


Pastor Brandon Blair

Brandon served as a youth pastor for 11 years. In 2019, God moved the Blair family to Knoxville, Tennessee, where Brandon is now the senior pastor of Loveland Baptist Church. For 13 years now, he has faithfully taught the Word of God that changed his life while lying in a military hospital bed. “The Word of God changed my life; just the Word was enough. I often say, ‘The military gave me a purple heart, but God gave me a new heart.’” Pastor Brandon also has a great appreciation for the ministry of The Gideons International. “I may never know the Gideon that made the Testament available, but I do know his reward is in Heaven. That Scripture changed my life forever. I love The Gideons and their mission and encourage them to keep pursuing all God has for them.” An accessible copy of God’s Word allowed Brandon to move from head knowledge to heart transformation. This is the power of Scripture and the message of Jesus Christ.   

I may never know the Gideon that made the Testament available, but I do know his reward is in Heaven. That Scripture changed my life forever.”

Why I’m a Gideon: Justo Escobar

When you see someone excel at something, how do you react? At times, we may stand back and think we could never accomplish the same activities at that level. However, we should remember that God’s plans are not always the same as ours. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV) God places us in roles and situations that, at first glance, may cause us to wonder why He would use someone like us. Yet, we must remember that God has given us all that we need to accomplish His purposes.

 

Justo Escobar, a Gideon from Florida, has a lifetime of moments where he thought: Who am I to do this? Through trust and obedience, he has learned that God is always preparing him for the next thing He has in store.

  

Open Eyes and Heart

 

His journey began in the Republic of Cuba. As an eight-year-old child, his family fled the communism of Cuba, seeking a better life. Eventually, in 1961, he and his family ended up in Miami, Florida, after spending some time in Honduras. Justo knew no English as a third-grade student but that quickly changed after building relationships with his new friends.

 

The Escobar family was also raised with Christian beliefs. Justo does not remember when the local church was not a part of his life—a reality he is still grateful for today. He learned about Jesus and His Gospel at their Quaker church through his childhood and into his teen years but, as he says, “knew Jesus wasn’t real to me.” Justo excelled in school, and he had a particular interest in mathematics. When the time came for him to go to college, he decided to pursue his love for math at a college in Saint Petersburg, Florida. It was here God began to open his eyes and heart. 

 

A friend of Justo had a father who was a pastor. This pastor began to ask Justo questions about his direction in life. These words impacted Justo and his journey with Christ. After a couple of years in Saint Petersburg, Justo decided to transfer to Florida Atlantic University to continue his pursuit of mathematics and connect with a local church in Fort Lauderdale. During this season of life, Justo was watching television one evening and came across a Gospel crusade. The preacher’s words gripped him, and for the first time, he realized he needed to be saved from his sins. “God opened my eyes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a Billy Graham crusade,” remembers Justo. He was so excited about his new life in Christ.

New Beginnings

While pursuing his math degree, Justo recalls a special moment in his number theory class. One day before class began, he was looking through a scuba diving magazine when a classmate looked at him and said, “Oh, you scuba drive as well.” The rest was history. Justo and his classmate, Coleen, married in August 1975. In 1978, they welcomed a son named David, and Justo began working in the family furniture and cabinet business after being employed two years as a math teacher. He firmly believes and lives by this principle: It doesn’t matter what profession you are in; you can always serve the Lord. A year later, the family welcomed another son, Jonathan.

 

The same year he started his new career, Justo and his family joined a sister church in Coral Springs, Florida. Over the years, Justo has served in various capacities such as usher, deacon, and elder. This congregation has proved to be instrumental in his life for many reasons. In 1986, he met Lester and Ann Carter, became close friends, and later found out they were members of The Gideons International. This led to Justo and Coleen being invited to a membership dinner and feeling led to join the Association a year later.

 

Serving Well

For the first three years, Justo attended monthly Gideon meetings and did a few Scripture distributions. Then, he was presented with an offer to give Gideon presentations at churches. “When the opportunity came, a friend of mine told me I should serve in this capacity. The problem was I felt extremely unqualified, and by nature, I’m a fairly shy guy,” recalls Justo. Before he knew it, his second church presentation was at their home church back in Fort Lauderdale. He couldn’t believe what was happening. “I’m proof if you stay humble and obedient, God can accomplish much even when we feel inadequate. He has stretched me in so many ways, including public speaking,” says Justo.

I’m proof if you stay humble and obedient, God can accomplish much even when we feel inadequate.

“I’m a Gideon because I answered God’s call on my life. My attitude was ‘Here I am, send me,’” he says. His earnest prayer of seeking what God has planned for him is answered as God continues growing and stretching him to be more like Jesus as he serves in his camp, church, and community. He continues, “I was looking for ways to serve God, and He placed The Gideons International in my life. This has afforded me opportunities beyond my wildest imagination to make an impact for Kingdom as I continue to serve the Lord.” 


Chris and Justo

 

One of these moments was with Chris, a man he met while doing a fair distribution in their town last Christmas. Gideons passed out 900 Testaments to the youth and hundreds of Gideon Bible App cards to the adults who came by their booth. Chris was one of these adults. “Chris came up to me at the booth and was interested in what we were doing. I shared a Gideon Bible App card with him, which led to us having a Gospel conversation. Praise the Lord, Chris received Jesus as his Lord and Savior in the moments that followed,” remembers Justo.  

 

This moment with Chris was just one of many open doors God has placed in Justo’s life since he became a Gideon. Yet, there still lingers the humble “who am I to do this” mindset. He knows through God all things are possible, and it is God who prepares us for what lies next. Psalm 37:4 (ESV) serves as his life verse, which reads, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Justo knows the key to successful ministry is delighting in the Lord and stewarding what God has given us well.

  

“I’m a Gideon because I answered God’s call on my life…I was looking for ways to serve God, and He placed The Gideons International in my life. This has afforded me opportunities beyond my wildest imagination to make an impact for Kingdom as I continue to serve the Lord with my life.”

A Joy WIthout Regret

A Joy WIthout Regret

In our search to truly know the Creator and Sustainer of all things, only God satisfies our deepest desires. Through a personal relationship with Him, we come to understand that His love, grace, and mercy never fail. For Pastor Mike Andrews, being surrounded by man’s religion from an early age just wasn’t enough…he knew there had to be another way.

A Stark Difference

Mike was not raised in a devoutly Christian home, but various religious perspectives were scattered throughout his childhood in Charlotte, North Carolina. “When we did go to church, I remember being taught that ‘being a good boy’ and ‘God grading on the curve’ paved the path to heaven,” Mike sadly recalls. Even as a young child and into his teenage years, that way of thinking just did not satisfy Mike.

“Before I went off to college, there was this lingering pain within my soul. I owned a Bible for a long time but had never really read it,” remembers Mike. As a freshman at the University of North Carolina, Mike was exposed to Gospel truths for the first time. Reflecting on those early impressions, he says, “I got invited to a Bible study where participants were going through the Gospel of John; I saw the biblical Jesus for the first time.” When the group got to the third chapter of John, Mike realized he was not a Christian. “I started to like and grew to love the person of Jesus—how He was gentle with sinners and didn’t shy aware from challenging hypocrites. I knew I wasn’t saved but didn’t know how I could be.”

“I got invited to a Bible study where participants were going through the Gospel of John; I saw the biblical Jesus for the first time.”

Another event also greatly impacted Mike’s spiritual journey. Cliffe, an apologist, came to speak on campus one day. A student in attendance kept cussing at him out loud as he spoke. Cliffe calmly said, “Friend, you don’t have to do that.” Mike saw in Cliffe’s life what he was looking for and remembers Cliffe teaching Jesus Christ became sin for us on the cross. At that point, Mike understood what it meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Discovering God’s Call

God used a college Bible study, an apologist, and His Word to draw Mike toward Himself. Two weeks later, in Mike’s dorm room, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.

Soon after, he saw an older man in a suit and tie on campus, who he later learned was a Gideon. The man offered Mike a Testament featuring the Gideon emblem on the cover. “This was a huge encouragement to me as a new believer. The copy of God’s Word he gave me ended up finding a home in my back pocket. I used it until it completely fell apart,” recalls Mike.

A couple of years later, Mike participated in an evangelism event with an organization called Campus Crusade for Christ. At just 20 years old, he traveled to Daytona Beach and shared Jesus alongside his college peers. “I found joy telling people about Jesus—a joy without regret,” he says. Mike was beginning to discover his calling and experience what God had for his life.

Mike continued studying the Word daily. At the same time, he began to work as a resident assistant on campus. He noticed Sharon, a fellow resident assistant who also loved the Lord, and they decided to start a Bible study for their residents. Through this experience, Mike saw her passion and heart for the Lord. The couple fell in love and married in 1992.

I found joy telling people about Jesus—a joy without regret.

Sensing the Lord’s call on their life, they attended a small Bible school in New York, which God used to strengthen their marriage through His Word. This passion for the Scriptures led them to Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas a couple of years later. Mike received his Master of Theology. “I studied hermeneutics, original languages, and grew in my handling of the Word. But mostly, I grew in grace,” says Mike.

Passionately Loving God and Making Disciples

In 1998, the Lord called the Andrews family to serve a church in Houston, Texas. They stayed there for 18 years—ten years working with the youth ministry and then eight years in an associate pastor role for the adult ministry. Mike is grateful for his time in Houston. God used this season to continue to grow him as a disciple and as a minister of the Gospel. God moved the Andrews family to the small, agricultural community of Camden, Delaware, in March 2016. Since then, Mike has served as senior pastor of Faith Community Church—a 60-year-old congregation whose mission is to passionately love God, sacrificially love others, and courageously make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Faith Community Church in Camden, Delaware

During his time at Faith Community Church, Mike was once again connected with the work and ministry of The Gideons International. Members from two different camps are part of his congregation. He says, “When I find men and women in my church serve as Gideons and Auxiliary, I’m so encouraged because I know I have a strong partner in ministry.” Pastor Mike and Faith Community Church partner with The Gideons in many different ways. The church gives its students copies of The Life Book to share with their peers. The congregation also financially supports the Association so the Word can continue to be spread around the world. Each year, they invite Gideons to share with the congregation how God is using Gideons and Auxiliary worldwide, along with vital church partnerships, to win others to the Lord Jesus.

“Every time I see the Gideon emblem, I go back to when I was a baby believer on the University of North Carolina campus. I received a Testament when I wasn’t sure which way was up.” Pastor Mike often uses this part of his story to encourage Gideons and Auxiliary. He adds, “You have the tool in your hands that changes lives. There is something supernatural that happens with the Word of God. There is no better work. Keep going!”


Pastor Mike Andrews

Pastor Mike is eternally grateful for the people God placed in his life who have pushed him to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. This begins with the most significant people in his life—his wife, Sharon, and their five children. He is also grateful for Bible study leaders, an apologist, and a faithful Gideon who, at different points in his life, have all shown him the importance of grace and obedience grounded in the Word of God. Jesus and His Gospel is what gripped Pastor Mike’s heart over three decades ago and still move him today to reach as many people as he can with the Good News.

Every time I see the Gideon emblem, I go back to when I was a baby believer on the University of North Carolina campus. I received a Testament when I wasn’t sure which way was up.

In Search of HIs Excellence

In Search of HIs Excellence

What happens to your Christianity when you go to work? It seems like a simple question, but you’d be surprised at some of the difficult answers I hear from other Christian businessmen and professionals. While many take their faith right through the front door of their occupation in a blaze of glory, others pause at the doormat. They pause at the prospect of being labeled or not wanting to infringe upon others.

In contrast, most everyone is quick and passionate to answer the question, “What do you do for a living?” Our identity is tied to our work. However, if believers’ identity is also tied to Christ, somewhere between Sunday and Monday, there can be a disconnect. The marketplace is one of the most complex scenarios to be thrown into as a Jesus follower. We are tempted to conform to the world in the struggle for the legal tender. There are integrity issues, competition, and demands on our personal time. Work can often become more of a means to an end called “the weekend.”

We all want a sense of belonging at work because it’s where we spend most of our time. Some even speak of their companies as family, at least until a layoff occurs. But when we do step out to share the Gospel, our faith can be seen as a clique or even a crutch. It’s no wonder many believers dream about going into “full-time ministry.” But as author Hugh Whelchel pointed out in How Then Should We Work?, God doesn’t just send ministers to give the world sermons; He sends doctors to give medicine, teachers to impart wisdom, and businesspeople to serve. In other words, no single vocational pursuit is superior to another in God’s eyes.

As Gideons, our history is about bringing our witness to work. In the beginning days of our Association, traveling salesmen would catch a train on Sunday night to journey across a region. During their business week, many were without accountability and restraint. They were known for their heavy drinking and card games that filled the hotel parlors to pass the time. But when the Association’s founder, John H. Nicholson, got on a train, he laid out his evangelical campaign like a general. Many were seen leaving the train at the next stop with a tear in their eye or a Gideon emblem on their lapel.

Not only are Gideons still winning others to Jesus Christ as traveling salesmen, but also as managers, lawyers, teachers, doctors, military and government employees, and business farmers. It’s still about being faithful in the little things. As author Zig Ziglar said, “Unfortunately, too many people labor under the illusion that unless they can do something monumental, they have achieved nothing in this life. That’s too bad because pleasant smiles, words of encouragement, and examples of gentle kindness and consideration for others are much more needed in this society today.”

Not only are Gideons still winning others to Jesus Christ as traveling salesmen, but also as managers, lawyers, teachers, doctors, military and government employees, and business farmers.

Occupational Hazards

I don’t have too dramatic of a testimony, but it was all business. I grew up in a good Catholic home. In college, I read a book called Power for Living about successful leaders who were unashamed of the Gospel—businessmen like Holiday Inn founder Wallace Johnson and insurance giant Arthur B. DeMoss. That book, and a friend named Howard, brought me to my knees and a true understanding of Jesus Christ.

After graduation, I worked for an entrepreneur named Mike, where my faith first got tested. I was COO of his technology company. He was one of those book-of-the-month managers where the whole company read the same business book, such as In Search of Excellence. One day, an employee named Kelly asked Mike if we could read from a book she liked called the Bible. Mike was shocked and later asked me, “How can anyone just sit in the back seat and let God drive their life around?” Not wanting to jeopardize my steady income, I didn’t answer. I was in the proverbial trunk of the car. That was the epiphany I needed to start living out my faith. I booked a trip to Israel. I read the Bible cover-to-cover. I stepped up to serve at my church. And I eventually became a Gideon to continue my accountability. I got out of the trunk.

So why don’t more believers share our faith more at work? Lee Strobel, the author of The Case for Christ, suggested, “I’ve seen far too many Christians who are more than willing to travel halfway around the world to volunteer for a week in an orphanage, but who cannot bring themselves to take the personal risk of sharing Jesus with the co-worker who sits day after day in the cubicle right next to them.”

I asked Pastor Howard Malone of The River Church in Waynesboro, Missouri, about why work and faith don’t always seem to want to share a cubicle. He believes fear gets in the way, and we don’t want to risk being rejected by our co-workers. Further, some may have given up witnessing at work because they haven’t seen any immediate results.

Having served in the military, Pastor Malone added you might be subject to certain limitations. It will also depend on what country you’re in. While employees in the USA have broad rights to express their faith to co-workers, you can’t allow religious discussions to interfere with your work, according to David Gibbs, founder of the Christian Law Association. He also said if a co-worker indicates directly or indirectly that they don’t wish to discuss matters of religion, that’s the end of the sermon.

Perhaps this is why so many Christians in the workplace subscribe to what St. Francis Assisi supposedly said, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” While this sets a good example, Jesus used a lot of words, says Vince LaPoint, a software engineer and Gideon. LaPoint has worked in large corporations and small, but his faith has always gone with him no matter what size the door. He’s led Bible studies at work, and when the office environment doesn’t seem right, he takes people out to lunch. “While it is true not every person has a spiritual gift of evangelism, we are all called to do the work of an evangelist,” he added.

Our membership includes many who own their businesses. You would think that would be easier, but as Perrin Prescott, former president of The Gideons International, is quick to point out—there’s really no such thing as a Christian business. “A business is an inanimate object. It’s a group of people. But what you can offer them is Christ-like management.” Prescott recently retired from his industrial pump company in Exeter, New Hampshire. “It was easy when I owned my business because I was able to set the tone and culture. But there are benchmarks along the way that test your consistency.” Prescott had one customer bring in a pump for repair, but it was inoperable. The customer asked Prescott if he could zap it with some high voltage so an insurance claim could be filed. Prescott said no way. The customer replied, “Good, because I would have lost my respect if you tried.” Sometimes it’s better to be good at consistency instead of trying to be consistently great. 

Sometimes it’s better to be good at consistency instead of trying to be consistently great.

Thank God It’s Monday

The Gideons International has always sought members who, by virtue of their jobs, made decisions and had a measure of freedom regarding their time and resources. That would include teachers like Bruce Chadwick, a Gideon from Michigan. Chadwick said, “Years ago, it was okay to start my fifth-grade classroom with the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence.” While these practices have changed, God’s Word hasn’t. When Chadwick became a school superintendent, he started recognizing each employee’s birthday with a GideonCard and a personal word of encouragement. “I usually received a positive response from my co-workers and never heard anyone objecting to a card that stated I was making a donation to purchase Scriptures in their honor.”

Praying for co-workers can lead to open doors, as Colossians 4:2–3 says. In Gideon Dave Morel’s book, The Secret to an Open Door, he wrote, “When we’re in our comfort zone, we rely on ourselves. When we step out in faith, we are with God. How many times does He say, ‘Surely, I will be with you?’” Morel adds, “Satan is slick—he’s not concerned about our prayer lists as long as they don’t include the lost.”

If we look back at the apostles’ lives, we can clearly see how they worked in the marketplace. They had an intimate personal relationship with Jesus. They welcomed the works of the Holy Spirit. And they prayed against the fear of man in Acts 4:29 (ESV), “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness.” The apostles didn’t have pocket Testaments, but they had many Roman roads built to reach new marketplaces. They had a common language and common currency. They had law and order with Paxus Romanus. Today, we have the Internet, planes, electric cars, cell phones, and Starbucks. There’s no excuse. But we also live in an age where many Christians see more Scripture on Facebook than from studying their Bible.

There was a time when Christians talked about a “calling” to work. Then we all read What Color is Your Parachute? and our careers became about finding our passion. However, Scripture says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” in Colossians 3:23 (ESV). Perhaps the adage “do what you love” should have “remember Whom you do it for” attached to it. Excellence is attractive, and if we bring it to work, along with the story of our hope, it’s an excellent strategic plan. As Andre du Plessis, trustee of The Gideons International in South Africa, and a business owner, says, “By selling our products, we change the way people live, but we change the way people see God through our way of doing business.”

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” —Colossians 3:23 (ESV)

Together Is Better

Together Is Better

An Auxiliary praying with her Gideon husband

The Great Commission instructs believers to advance the Kingdom of God. The Gideons International provides a unique way for Christian business and professional men to see people come to Christ. Officially, the role of an Auxiliary (wife of a Gideon) is to assist her Gideon husband in this mission through prayer, personal testimony, personal work, association for service, and placing and distributing God’s Holy Word in approved areas. Yet, the role of the Auxiliary is even more significant considering the partnership of holy matrimony. The wife of a Gideon brings encouragement, support, and gentleness. As an Auxiliary, I share in this blessing serving alongside my husband, Mark.

A verse that became near and dear to my heart in this 28-year journey as an Auxiliary is Acts 6:4 (ESV), which reads, “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” I take great delight in praying for Mark and supporting him in his ministry endeavors. Something else I have learned along this journey is that there is immeasurable impact and spiritual blessings when a wife joins in ministry alongside her husband.

The Blessings of Auxiliary in My Life

A couple of years ago, David W. Martin, former international president of The Gideons International, talked about the powerful influence both his mom and wife have played in his life as Auxiliary. He shared the following:

For many years, I have significantly benefitted from living within the sphere of two Auxiliary. First, I was blessed to live within the sphere of influence of my mom as an Auxiliary. After Dad joined The Gideons International, it did not take long before he began talking to Mom about coming with him to the Gideon meetings. Dad valued the fellowship of those men, but nothing could compare to having Mom involved with him in this amazing work.  

 

Mom began attending the camp meetings, and after several months, she joined the Auxiliary. As she entered the sphere of influence of some godly ladies in the Auxiliary, she found a wonderful environment where she could grow personally and spiritually with other like-minded ladies. Along the way, she began participating in distributions, and sometime later, she began serving in Auxiliary leadership. Her friendships with ladies in the camp started to deepen, and her investment in the ministry of this Association began to grow. Mom’s involvement alongside Dad was invaluable to him. She was his most trusted advisor and coach. She would listen to his thoughts about messages and encourage him. In so many ways, it was very evident two were better than one. She never wanted to be in front of people; she was delighted with her quiet life, and now she was traveling the country, speaking to large crowds of people she had never seen before and thriving in the opportunities. As her son, it was powerful to watch.   

 

Second, I have been blessed beyond measure to live within the sphere of influence of my wife as an Auxiliary. After joining The Gideons as a single man, at almost every Gideon meeting I attended, I was reminded that most Gideons find great joy and blessing to have their wife serving alongside them. I had relocated to a new city on my job and had begun visiting a singles class at a new church. In that Sunday School class, there was a young lady named Emily. I knew her name was Emily, she was a believer, and she sang in the choir. That is about all I knew, except that I knew I was very interested.

 

Soon after, it so happened we were planning a large city-wide Gideon event at Christmastime, and I began to think about how nice it would be for Emily and me to attend this event together. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I called Emily and asked if she would like to go with me. She was not sure what the event was, but with some additional explanations, she agreed to go. My Gideon and Auxiliary friends’ godly influence and friendship made a good impression that evening and in the months that followed. Emily and I were married, and not long after that, she joined the Auxiliary. Thus, I began to experience the great blessing of pursuing the mission of this ministry together with my wife as an Auxiliary.   

It has been a great joy for these last 34 years to have grown together with my wife. Living within the spiritual influence of her as an Auxiliary has resulted in extraordinary blessings in our lives. Looking back, it is evident to me that two are better than one. My life and our children’s lives have been richly blessed by living within the sphere of influence of my wife and their mother as an Auxiliary.

David W. Martin and his wife, Emily

The Blessings of Shared Ministry

You see, the Auxiliary plays an invaluable role for the Kingdom. From the very beginning, The Gideons was built on the idea of strengthening the traveling businessman’s testimony. No earthly person knows their husband like his wife, and a wife’s love accomplishes more in a man’s heart than can be easily explained. As Auxiliary, we direct people towards Christ through living out our faith, praying, and encouraging others. What an Auxiliary does for and with her husband strengthens him and his ministry efforts. I take great pride in joining my husband in ministry, supporting and encouraging him—that is the unique benefit of being a part of The Gideons International. Together, we seek to win the lost to Jesus Christ.

An Auxiliary taking part in a hospital distribution

I take great pride in joining my husband in ministry, supporting and encouraging him—that is the unique benefit of being a part of The Gideons International.

Why I’m a Gideon: Dan Scott

Like many attorneys, Dan Scott works an average of 55-65 hours a week. Yet, with all the demands of being the founding attorney of a law firm, Dan still makes time in his schedule to serve as a Gideon and devote time to making an impact for the Kingdom. His experience as a Gideon has impacted not only him and his family but also those in his community and beyond.

The Night That Changed Everything

Driving home from a concert one night back in 1977, Dan and his wife, Faith, were struck head-on by a drunk driver. Dan’s injuries were minor. Faith’s injuries were much more severe, and she was rushed by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. Sitting anxiously in the waiting room of the intensive care unit, Dan was struggling to keep it together. One of the medical team members approached him with sobering news. “Mr. Scott, we don’t know if your wife will survive. If she makes it through the next two hours, we’ll let you see her.”

It hadn’t even been three years since he and Faith exchanged wedding vows. And now, it looked as if the young couple’s lives together might be over. Friends and family raced to the hospital in the middle of the night to be by Dan’s side, as together they cried and prayed.

One of them picked up a Bible placed in the hospital by The Gideons and began reading aloud from the first chapter of James. The words of the passage struck a chord in Dan’s weary heart. He walked into the stairwell to return to the intensive care unit. Upon reaching the landing at the top of that lonely flight of stairs, Dan broke down crying out in desperation to the Lord.

In times of crisis, it is common to make bold pledges to the Lord only to fall back into living life on our own terms once the Lord delivers us through the storm. Dan was different. He was making a commitment to his Creator as binding as any legal contract. For the first time in his life, Dan truly surrendered his life to the Lord. Immediately, he felt the peaceful presence of God upon him.

For the first time in his life, Dan truly surrendered his life to the Lord. Immediately, he felt the peaceful presence of God upon him.

Dan approached the patient bed where Faith was still lying unconscious. “Baby, you’re going to be okay,” he whispered. In the weeks to follow, the Lord continued to work a mighty healing in both Faith and Dan. It was a healing that restored them physically and spiritually.

When Iron Sharpens Iron

Years later, in 1987, Dan and Faith were busy raising a young family. Dan was also working hard to establish himself as an attorney. One day, a letter arrived inviting him to a new member dinner hosted by members of a Gideon camp. The letter said his pastor recommended him for membership in The Gideons International. Dan was speechless.

Instantly, scenes of that life-changing night when he encountered a Gideon-placed Bible in the hospital flashed through his mind. Another scene that raced through his memories was that of a Gideon presentation at his own church. The speaker was a Gideon and a fellow church member named Joe. Dan had tremendous respect for Joe. The testimonies Joe presented of people coming to know Jesus through the ministry of The Gideons made a strong impression on Dan.

These inspiring flashbacks made Dan think this invitation had to be a mistake. Sure, he was active in his church and was indeed in love with the Lord, but he wondered how he could be qualified to join a group of men who were so well-respected throughout the community? Dan called his pastor to make sure he hadn’t meant to recommend another church member. His pastor assured him; he believed Dan would be an excellent fit for The Gideons.

Dan attended the new member event. Toward the close of the evening, the speaker asked if any guests felt called to join The Gideons. It would have been easy for Dan to simply leave the event without committing to join. He and Faith were raising their young children, and Dan was putting in long hours at the office. “I was committing everything I had to be the best lawyer I could. I was successful,” Dan says. “But you know, nobody was coming to Christ by what I was doing for a living. I really do believe that there’s a place called ‘hell.’ And real people are dying and going there for eternity.” He responded to the call to join that evening. “They didn’t have to ask me twice if I wanted to be a member. I was just absolutely blown away that I would be able to serve with those guys.”

Dan began attending meetings with other Gideons. He immediately got a glimpse of what being Men of God looked like in The Gideons. “At the first prayer meeting I attended, they said, ‘Well, we’re ready to pray,’ and they started pulling out their chairs. I didn’t know exactly what to do. I just did what they did.” What those Gideons were doing is what Gideons around the world do every week. They were kneeling in submission to the majestic power of the Lord and lifting up their prayers. “It absolutely blew me away,” says Dan. “These guys were getting on their knees where the only thing that mattered at that moment was the conversation they were having with the living God.”

“These guys were getting on their knees where the only thing that mattered at that moment was the conversation they were having with the living God.”

Right Across the Table

Those prayer times have been life-changing for Dan. They changed how he viewed his opportunity to be a godly influence on others when he returns to the office on Mondays. Rather than viewing his professional status as one of earthly prominence, Dan sees himself as a child of the King who has been given a chance to impact the lives of those around him. As an attorney, Dan is an expert communicator. However, even with his masterful persuasion skills, Dan was timid when it came to personal witnessing. “I wanted to tell people about Jesus, but I worried: What if I mess this up? What if they don’t come to Christ?”

Spending time with other Gideons and seeing their commitment to sharing the Gospel greatly impacted Dan. These were men whose priorities and conversations were focused on things of eternal consequence rather than the upcoming football game or home improvement projects. “When you’re around these guys, they’re not spending all their time talking about NASCAR. They’re talking about how they shared Christ with the lady at the checkout stand and how she just took that Testament and held it so firmly like it was worth a million bucks,” says Dan.

Dan prayed to the Lord about his fears in sharing Jesus with others. “Please, Lord, will You give me some way to get past this because I don’t think this fear is from You.” It was then that Dan felt the Holy Spirit impressing a fundamental truth. The message to him was, “Dan, you can’t lose any of them because you can’t save any of them.”

“When I had that experience,” says Dan, “I came to realize that I couldn’t save a single person. If I couldn’t save them, I couldn’t lose them. I no longer have that fear of rejection because I know that when they reject the Gospel, they’re not rejecting me; they’re rejecting Jesus.” That insight has led Dan to routinely seize opportunities to share Jesus with others. The last thing Dan says to his clients as they leave his office is, “God bless you.” That simple statement has opened the door for Dan to share his testimony and the power of the Gospel with many clients. “I’ve led many people to Christ sitting at my desk, looking right across the table where they are sitting and weeping because they’re in a place of hurt. I’m able to tell them that Jesus is their answer, not me. I’ll help them with their legal problem, but I can’t help them get into Heaven. I can just tell them about the One who can save their soul.”

“I believe the command Christ gave to ‘go and make disciples’ is a command to me. And so, if I’ve got a schedule that’s so full that I can’t do what Christ tells me to do, then my schedule is too busy. You’ve got to decide that telling people about Jesus and how He’s changed your life and how He can change theirs is more important than some other things in life. If you do that, you’ll get a blessing that surpasses anything else.”

“You’ve got to decide that telling people about Jesus and how He’s changed your life and how He can change theirs is more important than some other things in life.”

Striving Side by Side

Dan continues to serve the Lord in many ways. Faith serves alongside Dan in The Gideons. Faith’s godly character and influence over the years have made a huge difference in his life. She knows Dan better than anyone. She not only prays for Dan but also sharpens him in ways no one else can. Dan has been inspired just watching her take on responsibilities in the Association.

As a Sunday school teacher, Dan taught classes for young married couples for over 15 years. “I taught them that my desire for them is they would celebrate 50 years of marriage. If they could just hold on and keep Christ in there for 50 years of marriage, then they’d be good the rest of their lives. Today, Dan runs into couples he taught several years ago. And he gets the blessing of seeing the fruit of his labor. “They’ll come over to me and say, ‘Brother Dan, we’ve been married 23 years now. We’re not at 50 years yet, but we’re going there.’”

Dan has also been influential in other men deciding to join The Gideons. Years ago, a young man named Kevin Keck heard Dan present the ministry of The Gideons at a church in east Tennessee. Kevin was inspired to inquire about membership in the Association and later joined. “Dan would often tell me, ‘I’m so excited to get to pray with you today, brother.’ I could tell he really meant it,” says Kevin. Dan took Kevin under his wing. “He was mentoring me, but I didn’t realize that’s what it was at the time,” says Kevin, who now serves in international leadership with the Association.

Through life’s ups and downs, the very presence of God has kept Dan anchored. Whether he is ministering to a client, teaching a Sunday school class at church, or mentoring other Gideons, he knows it’s all for one purpose—to win others to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Finding Out Why

Getting what we think we want in life can leave us empty. However, surrendering to God’s plan for our lives opens up opportunities we never imagined. For Maikel Dominguez, God used the lowest point in his life to create one of his most fulfilling moments.

And the Winner is…

Maikel was born in Russia in 1980. At age four, his family moved to Cuba, where he spent most of his childhood. His father, mother, and younger brother did not pursue any religious beliefs due to the communism that surrounded them for most of their life. Maikel, however, did develop a zeal for training and competing in Judo, a form of martial arts. In 2009, he moved to Chile to compete for a national championship. “I wanted the fame and the glory,” he remembers. Just three years later, this is precisely what he achieved.

As a national champion, he thought everything was good in his life. Everyone in the country was proud of him, and people knew his name. Yet, deep inside, he wasn’t fulfilled—he just didn’t know why. At the advice of a friend, he decided to become a businessman and start his own company. With his new fame and glory, he now had the opportunity to travel and meet new people. What he thought would bring him happiness was not producing the contentment he desired. “Nothing was working, and I was empty on the inside,” recalls Maikel.

“Nothing was working, and I was empty on the inside.”

New Surroundings

During the same time, his parents moved to the United States. Lost with no direction, Maikel moved to Mississippi to be near his family at their invitation. “There was a church at every corner—I had never seen this before,” recalls Maikel. Still pursuing the pleasures of the world, he got involved in the wrong crowd.

These pursuits landed him in jail in September 2014, where he spent the next 18 months. Over time, Maikel wrestled with the constant question in his mind: What am I doing here? He was one of the only guys who spoke Spanish. A gentleman who knew a little Spanish asked Maikel, “What happened to you?” Maikel replied, “I know why I’m here, but I don’t know the purpose in being here.” The man answered, “Why don’t you ask God that question. Try and see, and you will find God is good.”

Transformed Verse-by-Verse

Maikel cried out to the Lord, “If you are real, God, show me.” The following Sunday, an older man named Homer, who regularly visited the jail, met Maikel. The two formed a life-changing friendship. “Sometimes, he came just for me and would spend an hour with me,” Maikel fondly remembers. Homer shared the Gospel with Maikel and led him to receive Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. Maikel asked if Homer could bring him a Bible in Spanish. Homer, a Gideon, knew exactly where he could find one and brought him a bilingual Testament from The Gideons. Maikel fell in love with the Scriptures. He read a verse in Spanish and then the same verse in English. Before he knew it, he had learned the English language.

Soon after, Maikel was released from prison. When he got out, he couldn’t find Homer as he did not have his contact information. Maikel did connect with two other Gideons—Jhon and Erskine. These two men would serve as a mentor for Maikel in the coming days. Jhon learned of Maikel’s testimony and invited him to a monthly meeting with The Gideons. He encouraged Maikel by asking, “Did you know your testimony can help others come to Christ?”

A New Kind of Winning

This conversation and the moving of the Holy Spirit led Maikel to become a Gideon in 2017. The following year, the chaplain at the jail where Maikel served time called him and said, “Maikel, you need to come back to the jail and share your testimony.” The prison was the last place Maikel desired to go. He thought: Anywhere but here, Lord. However, this time the Gospel accompanied Maikel instead of shackles and chains. “I shared the Gospel with the inmates and explained how they could be spiritually free. ‘Read this book (the Bible)’ I told them ‘and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.’” One evening, after sharing his testimony, 18 inmates surrendered their life to Jesus and were baptized. Maikel now knew why he had gone to prison years prior; He met Jesus there.

“I shared with the inmates the Gospel and how they could be spiritually free. ‘Read this book (the Bible)’ I told them ‘and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.’”

Homer had faithfully stewarded his time and energy ministering to Maikel. This forever changed the course of Maikel’s life, and he still had a strong desire to see Homer again. In God’s providence, Maikel located Homer at a nursing home, where he was still telling people about the hope of Jesus. Maikel shared all that God was doing in his life and about the 18 inmates coming to know Christ. Homer was thrilled to learn how God was using him.

Homer passed away in 2018, but his faithfulness still inspires Maikel’s journey with Christ today. When asked why Maikel is a Gideon, he replies, “To see the faces of people when they get a Testament and receive Jesus. I was once that face.” He loves participating in Scripture distributions in places like New York City, where he also gets opportunities to share how the Lord changed his life.

Life is much different now than when he became a national champion. He pursues the things of Christ and lives for His glory. The apostle Paul’s words from Philippines 3:12-13 (ESV) ring ever true in his life: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

It’s only natural for us to desire purpose and meaning in our lives. When we find out the why, that makes all the difference.