Dr. KG: Spirit-Animated!

 Dr. Kevin B. Gibson

March 20, 1965 to April 25, 2022 

I am mourning the loss of my close friend, Kevin Gibson, who passed away suddenly while recovering from a recent heart procedure. I was privileged to be his pastor more than thirty years ago as we served the same church together. We became instant friends. Kevin was a valued colleague. While shocked and dealing with my own grief, I was humbled to be asked by Christy, his beloved wife, to share the message at his funeral on April 30. I had been the officiant at their wedding nearly twenty-eight years ago.

I wrote these next few paragraphs of remembrance for the service and excerpt them so that you can feel a little of the grief and loss we all feel at Kevin's untimely passing...  

"Kevin Brent Gibson grew up in a pastor’s home. Ed and Ida likely introduced him to the faith early on and it stuck! He answered the call to ministry and prepared well. Kevin and Christy met in January 1992. I wrote these reflections into their wedding ceremony two years later… "There are different versions about how all of this got started. It all had something to do with an occasion of fun and fellowship among friends. Kevin reportedly said to Janice Mayhugh beforehand, 'Invite Christy!' And Christy, unaware of Kevin’s request, said to Janice similarly, 'Invite Kevin!' And like it was in the beginning – there was evening – the first date and both said, 'This is very good!'" This June 11, they would have celebrated 28 years as man and wife!

Kevin Gibson
To know Kevin was to know a man who loved travel, new experiences, and loved to share these passions with family and friends. He was like a cruise director, always recommending eating places and new adventures! He kept up with his friends. He was loyal, good humored, and just fun to be around. He followed his friends on social media and was quick to bless them with a reaction to their postings. He could tease with the best of them! Many of us have had Kevin’s voice in our heads these last days. I can hear him intone in that beautiful bass voice, “Chrissssty!” “Yessss!” "Hmmm!" and so on!

By his own self-description of his Divine Design, Kevin’s spiritual gifts were administration, teaching and leadership. I would also add to the mix, encouragement! With his education in music and worship, along with his natural talents with percussion, drumming, and the guitar, he took to the arts like a duck to a pond of water! His commitment to excellence was evident. 

KG was a strategic thinker, steady relater, and one of the most creative persons I have ever served with in the local church. He was in many ways a renaissance man with the ability to blend the great traditions of worship music with contemporary practices! He was a people developer. He was pushing others to use their gifts and grow in their discipleship. I watched one of the WHC services online recently and was amused to see him sitting at the back of the praise team playing his guitar sitting on a stool, singing, and using a soft-ended mallet to bring rhythmic sounds out of the cymbals at his side. Unlike many of us, he could ride a bicycle, chew gum and sing a great hymn at the same time!😉

I will miss my good friend. I will miss chatting about the St. Louis Cardinals! I will miss his good-natured jabbing as well as time talking about popular culture, politics, and religion! In short, my heart is broken that God took this good man from our lives too soon!"

Before churches started "juicing up" job descriptions, Kevin came to our church in Springfield as a mere Minister of Music and Education. It would be well into his ministry tenure of thirty years or more before he would be described more aptly as a Worship Arts Director. Kevin was ahead of his time! He was integrating all of the senses into worship experiences before it became vogue among Millennials: sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. 

Kevin loved drumming and every form of percussion, heightened energy, colorful artwork, jazzy piano selections, a visually stimulating environment, and the total engagement of worshipers. He loved to see the children dancing (excuse me, moving to the music!), hear the worshipers clapping, smell the extinguish candles of Tenebrae, taste the elements of Communion, and to see youthful worshipers drawing on a canvass and tactilely creating worshipful offerings.

He loved to "commission" works of art by talented individuals and showcase them in worship experiences. I stepped into his office at West Hills Church in Omaha last Saturday before his funeral service and saw at least a dozen examples of paintings and pictures leaning against the lower shelf of his library. These pieces had either already made their debut or were in the wings waiting to make it into a specially planned service. 

Kevin loved banners and decorations on seasonal and holiday occasions. He morphed our hospitality committee into a full-blown art department during his time of leadership! I loved his emphasis on visual arts. We have a gifted and trained graphic designer in our family and he was regularly called into service during his youth and young adult years by Dr. KG! I always told Kevin how much I appreciated how he involved our Marc in these projects! As a proud father, I was always looking for ways to showcase Marc's talent and keep him from becoming a total "techno nerd" in this age of computer- generated graphics! 

There are Spirit-animated craftsmen mentioned in the Bible whom God used to connect worshipers with Himself during the time of Israel's Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant. One notable person was named Bezalel. His story is told in a brief paragraph of Scripture recorded in Exodus 31. Here is what the Lord said to Moses about Bezalel and his associate, Oholiab... "Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel... and filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman... Moreover, I have given special skill to all the gifted craftsmen so they can make all the things I have commanded you to make: the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, the Ark's cover - the place of atonement; all the furnishings of the Tabernacle..." (Exodus 31:1-7, NLT). 

While not specifically mentioned as a spiritual gift in the Bible, I have come to believe that expressions of creativity and craftsmanship (art!!) are Spirit-endowed gifts that God uses to bless His people! Kevin Gibson will be remembered for many things, but I am especially grateful that he taught me to appreciate how the visual arts enhance our worship experiences! May his "creative tribe" increase!  

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com 

Check out this related blog... Lift Up Your Eyes!

 


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