My name is Kenyon Gerbrandt. I was born in Newton, KS but spent pretty much all my growing up years in Enid, OK. My childhood was great. My parents were/are pretty much the awesomest parents around. I grew up with an older sister, older brother and a younger brother. We have a ton of great memories from our growing up years. Things weren’t always perfect and our family has our share of issues like everyone else. But my parents are Christ followers and took that very seriously. They showed us by example as well as by instruction what it means to do the right thing and what it means to live a life that God has called us to.
After graduating high school from Chisholm High in 1991, I went to college at Tabor College in Hillsboro, KS. A very small private college that is affiliated with the Mennonite Brethren denomination. I did not graduate summa cum laud but I did graduate. In four years with a Bachelor of Science in Social Science. From there I decided to give grad school a try and was accepted at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. I earned a Master of Science degree in Defense and Strategic Studies. The program of study was pretty much the coolest thing around. We study primarily defense policy from a civilian perspective. I completed my thesis titled “The Strategic Bomber in the Nuclear Age”. Unfortunately you can’t buy it at Amazon, but there are 3 copies in circulation. A very rare book indeed. Of course, as most graduates I spent several years trying desperately to figure out exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Though I never really envisioned myself working for the government helping formulate nuclear policy or providing input in the formulation of arms control agreements I still attempted to get a job at either the CIA or the FBI. The closest I ever got was getting past the first round of application with the FBI after 9/11. While in graduate school I met this really awesome babe who totally rocked my world. Her name was Melissa Butler. Her name is Missy Gerbrandt. Yup, she married me–over a decade ago! We had a baby girl in 1999 and named her Eve Marie. Eve is very intelligent and not just in a book sense, but also emotionally and socially. She is the best daughter we could have ever asked for!
In 2000 our family moved to Tulsa, OK from Springfield to help start a church. We moved here with no jobs and only knew like a total of 5 people in the entire Tulsa metro area. Yes, it was scary. In the time since that move we have been on a journey. Discovering more clearly who we are and what we are here on earth to do. This has not occurred over night and I know that we aren’t there yet. But here is where the journey has led us to this point. I am currently the Mission Pastor at The Heart. I have recently received licensure from our denomination. As the Mission Pastor it is my responsibility to make sure that we as a community of faith are focused and headed in the right direction. This practically works out to include things like small group ministry, missions both locally and globally, as well as communications. It’s a lot, but I enjoy the vast majority of responsibilities I have here.
In addition to my work at The Heart, I teach part-time at Tulsa Community College southeast campus. I teach American Federal Government (yeah Master’s degree). I have been teaching there since August 2004 and really, really enjoy it. I do not consider myself a political junky, but I truly enjoy equipping others to better understand what politics is about and how it works. Yes it is a tall order, but it is an introductory class so we keep it pretty simple.
But wait…there’s more! I also do a lot of freelance video work in addition to my two part-time jobs. I have done weddings, conferences, and camps. Recently I have had the opportunity to begin working in the broadcast field as a camera operator. The bottom line is that for whatever reason I have a passion to create stuff with a camera and a computer.
All these areas came together in a very beautiful and life changing moment for me. In November and December 2007 I had the opportunity to travel to Niger West Africa. My purpose there was to video as much as I could of the work being done there in humanitarian relief as well as the work of the church. It was completely life changing. You can watch one of the video projects here.
In a nutshell this is who I am. I have a lot of interests and fortunately/unfortunately and can at a minimum do ok in a lot of them which makes it very hard for me to sit and say this is who I am and this is what I do. And well quite frankly that’s what this blog is all about…the journey of a life on purpose!