Back Brentwood Baptist minister celebrates 30 years on staff

January 6th, 2012

Brentwood Baptist minister celebrates 30 years on staff

Let's play a game. Can you guess the name of the special someone (pictured above) who's served on staff at Brentwood Baptist for the last 30 years?

Here are your clues:

  • She's originally from Florence, South Carolina.
  • She received her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Coker College in South Carolina.
  • She received her master's degree in religious education from Wake Forest Theological Seminary in North Carolina.
  • She started on the Brentwood Baptist staff as the Preschool & Children's Minister (and the first female) and served in that role for 18 years.
  • Today, she serves as the Senior Adult/Congregational Care Minister.
  • In between the her first role and the most current, she's served as Minister of Family Life and Minister of Small Groups.
  • She's married to David, and they have three daughters: Amy, Sara, and Laura Anne.
Give up?

It's Gayle Haywood!

This weekend, we're honoring and celebrating Gayle for 30 years of faithful service on our church staff. She's been an instrumental, key player in the development of several ministries and has worn numerous ministerial hats throughout the years.

Aaron Bryant, Kairos Pastor and longtime member of Brentwood Baptist, said, "Gayle was my children's minister when I was a small child. I watched her love the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. I watched her love God and people and sacrificially serve and minister to everyone that God brought into her sphere of influence."

Most current adult attenders who once grew up within the walls of Brentwood Baptist remember her for the Sunday morning children's messages she shared from the stage.

Shannon Hoppe said, "Those stories on Sunday mornings were a foundational part of our upbringing. We went down to the front and Ms. Gayle would say, 'Let's talk to God.' That's something I take with me now, with my own children. I can't tell you how many times I've said, 'Let's talk to God.'"

Shannon's husband, Neil, added, "Gayle taught me about Advent. She lit the Advent candles here every year for many, many years. I've actually started a petition to have Gayle light the candles again—to reinstate her as the Advent candle-lighter."

"I still remember running down the aisle on Sunday mornings to listen to her give the children's sermon. She made the Bible stories come alive. I've always appreciated how kind and warm and welcoming she is," said Tiffany Evins. "My favorite memory of her is when I was seven years old and I knew I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. We asked Gayle to come over and help me through the salvation prayer. I just really appreciated her making that time with me, sitting with me, and explaining to me what it means to be a Christian."

That's not the only reason Tiffany is grateful for Gayle. She's been a recipient of Gayle's influence in more ways than one over the past 20 years.

After 25 years of ministry in 2007, the RockBridge Foundation set up the Gayle Haywood Scholarship Fund in Gayle's honor to assist seminary students.

"I'm so thankful they set up a special fund to honor Gayle and her service to the church," Tiffany said. "I'm one of the people who has been blessed to receive a grant, which has supported me as I've been studying in seminary full-time with the hope of entering into full-time ministry."

From young and old alike, Gayle Haywood is remembered at Brentwood Baptist Church for many things.

"I respect Gayle. I love her. And I'm grateful for her influence in my life," Aaron said. "When I think about someone who has helped point me toward Christ, it's definitely Gayle. The main reason is because she looks a whole lot like Him. She embodies what I believe Jesus looked like when He walked on this earth."

Thank you, Gayle, from the entire church family for your 30 years of faithful service and ministry to this body of Christ and beyond.

Click here to give online to the Gayle Haywood Scholarship Fund in honor of her 30 years of ministry. Or, on Sunday, you can fill out a blue envelope found in the back of the pew, check RockBridge Foundation and write "Haywood Fund" on it, and place it in the plate as it's passed during the offering time.