Barry Brooks, elder of Flint Hills Christian Church in Emporia, Kansas (KS).
I was born in South Carolina, growing up in Greenville and Columbia, South Carolina. As a child my family faithfully attended a conservative Episcopal Church where I learned all the Bible stories about the heroes of the Bible and stories about Jesus. I can honestly say I loved God and Jesus, but I had not a clue as to what it meant to give my life over to Christ. Although a regular church attendee, I didn’t have a Christ centered life. Before long, I was well down the road leading away from God.
After graduating from high school, and a very short run at attending college, I joined the Air Force during the Vietnam years. For the next four years, I either totally neglected my spiritual life, or was delving into every far eastern and intellectual philosophy I could find. None seem to provide any answers or fulfillment.
During my last year in the service, I was stationed in Topeka, Kansas, where I met Joy; love at first sight. Shortly after our marriage, Joy’s sister, Cherie, and some friends of hers came for a visit and shared the Gospel with Joy and I. We both committed our lives to Christ, and all those Bible stories started making sense to me. Soon after, I enrolled at the University of Kansas at Lawrence where Joy and I jumped in head first as baby Christians into a “Jesus Freak” Commune. It was during that time that we learned to study, question, and take note that not everyone knew the truth about the Lord and His Word. It was almost a year later when after deciding to major in Marine Biology, we set off for South Carolina so I could enter the Marine Science program at the University of South Carolina. Shortly after our move, Joy gave birth to our beautiful twin daughters Megan and Cherie “Charli” and ten years later we were blessed with our son, George.
We struggled to find a church were we felt we were really being fed spiritually. After graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering (no, not Marine Biology!), we moved to a tiny little town outside of Lexington, SC. We joined a small Lutheran Church and became workers. For the next twelve years, we worked as Youth Sponsors, Sunday school teachers, VBS directors but constantly our main focus was to get people into the Word. Joy was introduced to Precept Ministries Bible studies, but our church couldn’t be convinced to sponsor any type of Bible studies.
In 1989, we joyfully moved back to Kansas where I was hired by Wolf Creek Nuclear Station. After visiting most of the churches in Emporia, we ended up joining Flint Hills Christian Church because of their love for studying the Word. Joy and I both attended Precept training classes on how to lead inductive Bible studies. As we raised our family (and foster children), we hosted Care Groups, youth cell groups, and taught Precept Bible studies. As I grew in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word through the work of His Holy Spirit in my life, I answered the call to become an elder at FHCC. I continue to desire to seek God in how and where He would have me serve to further His glory.