Most freshmen come to college full of dreams and limited experience. 45-year-old Steve Gant was roughly the opposite.
As a 20-year Navy veteran, a skilled engineer, a husband, a father of two, and having spent two adventurous years in Uganda as a missionary, there wasn’t much he hadn’t seen or done already. His life had made him aware of the darkness that exists in the world. With weighty questions on his mind, Steve felt he needed specialized training before taking “the next step”. One tiny detail that bothered him: he couldn’t figure out what that next step was.
His junior year, Steve decided to take an active role in TBC student life.
One of his first steps was to take a job in Hebrews Café. He made himself available to students in the afternoons to talk and offer life perspective. Without a doubt, he made an impact on his classmates and even on the faculty and staff. He was voted in as Student Body Chaplain his senior year and graduated with a 4.0 in May of 2020. He and his wife, Gina, opened their home to foster care while he pursued his degree. Over his four years on campus Steve developed a friendship with alumnus and missions professor Greg Mann. This friendship proved to play a key role in helping Steve find direction for his life after college.
In the year and a half since his graduation, Steve has been busy.
He and Gina were open to anything God wanted for them, so they explored all the possibilities they could see. But they found themselves in that uncomfortable place of waiting. He felt like every step ended in a roadblock. His frustration increased with each seemingly fruitless attempt to move forward.
“Eventually, I just decided to sit in a corner and wait. Well… sulk, basically. The crazy thing is that when I gave up and sat back, that is when the phone started ringing.”
That very week Steve was offered the missions pastor position at East Pointe Church in Jacksonville, Florida. A day later Greg Mann offered him a position as Director of Grace Ministries Guyana. Of course, he accepted both. Because Steve is anything but an underachiever! (Which, by the way, you can read about in his autobiography, A Lifetime of Preparation).
As the missions pastor at East Pointe Church, Steve personally invests in the wellbeing of their missions partners.
He makes it his personal mission to connect with each of their 40 missionaries every two weeks. This could be through email, social media, or sometimes a video call! To help connect church members to missions, Steve organized a prayer group which specifically prays over the missionaries and their ministries. He also oversees the church’s discipleship program. Steve will remain in this position for at least one more year while he earns his masters in Christian Leadership from Sioux Falls Seminary. After that, he will phase out of the missions pastor role and relocate to Guyana to serve full time there.
At Grace Ministries Guyana, Steve and Gina are part of a growing team who plan to build and organize a multi-use campus in the interior.
This campus will be a place where the local leadership and pastors can meet for in-depth training. Youth from surrounding villages will benefit from dedicated space for spiritual growth and skill training. This campus will also provide an opportunity for youth and college students from the US to serve, experience missions, and train for ministry.
As the associate director, Steve will manage the team and the overall development of the campus. He has already taken ownership of this role by writing development materials.
“My goal is for each member of the team to get stronger in every way – spiritually, emotionally, even physically. What is really exciting is that in the past 8 months, the team has grown from 2 to 9! It sounds kind of strange, but this past year – with all of its negatives – has been the most productive year of my entire life!”
Of the nine team members, seven of them are TBC alumni.
To watch TBC alumni connect and work together to accomplish such huge dreams is exciting and inspiring. Though decades removed from each other, they share a common passion for the gospel and work together for God’s glory.
Steve stopped by campus this week and reminisced about his time here as a student. His appreciation for the professors he had in class was evident.
“I know we have this one week of teacher appreciation, but really they deserve so much more. I could name off so many people who probably will never realize how they impacted me. Like Rachel Hozey – she encouraged me and helped me through English and with my writing. And Jeremiah Stanley – he’s actually my mentor for my master’s program, so he’s still a part of my life. But there’s more. I’m really big on tracing your spiritual family tree, and a lot of people on this campus are part of mine.”
Steve’s life up to this point has been full of ups and downs and adventure.
It doesn’t look like that is going to change any time soon! Taking on a master’s program, a pastoral role, and a director role all at the same time will be demanding. And transitioning into jungle life can only mean more adventure is on the horizon!
For perspective on how God prepared Steve for his current task, you should read Steve’s autobiography, A Lifetime of Preparation. In his book, he combines facts and anecdotes with spiritual insights to create an entertaining story with a deep message. Throughout each phase of his life, Steve gained experience and skills that make him a perfect fit to lead the development of Grace Ministries Guyana!
To learn more about Grace Ministries in Guyana visit https://www.graceministriesgy.org/