For our first month of staff spotlight, we are happy to introduce you to the President and CEO of Life Rebuilders, Gary Parker.
Gary defines his role as “casting the vision for the ministry, covering staff and residents for all four programs in prayer, and continuing research, networking, and decision-making to push Life Rebuilders forward”.
To his leadership role, Gary brings a background in small-business ownership and operations, formerly working as a developer for a local non-profit for five years, training in life coaching and mentoring small-groups, in addition to almost two decades of service to Life Rebuilders in various positions.
When speaking with Gary, it is apparent right away, that he is faithful, both in his service to Life Rebuilders and to the Lord. In fact, his journey of working in the non-profit sector started with a prayer. After selling his two small-businesses, Gary went through six months of unemployment and was seeking a new direction. He recalls, “I looked at a lot of different options and it just was all hollow… one night I just said, “Say Lord, I work for you. What do you want me to do?”
Gary explains that the next day he received a phone call for an opportunity to work as a developer for a local non-profit. It was there that Gary learned he had a passion for working in the non-profit sector. “When it comes to running a non-profit I learned how to give back into the community. And I loved it. I was thinking, ‘Oh maybe I’ll do this for a couple months’. I ended up at that job for five years!” Although, that one phone call began his transition into the world of non-profit work as a career, Gary had a long history of volunteer work that would lead him to his current job.
Gary’s work with Life Rebuilders started in 2001 as a volunteer. At the time, Gary was leading two Bible studies at the Minneapolis Redemption House and continued until 2003. At this time he joined the Life Rebuilders Board of Directors and remained until 2007. At that time, Gary was hired by the Board of Directors to be President and CEO of Life Rebuilders. He has served from that position ever since.
Despite his many different roles during his time at Life Rebuilders Gary says his favorite part of his job is “just being with residents.” He continues, “Everything is a teachable moment. It’s encouraging to be able to help people and meet them at their greatest point of need. Sometimes you have to challenge them a bit and call them out, but most of the time it’s just doing life together…and that is so encouraging.”
As grateful as Life Rebuilders has been to have Gary in the lead for over a decade, Gary might be even more grateful for his opportunity to serve. “To me this job is a gift. This ministry is the Lord’s, it’s not mine. So I’m in my sweet spot because I’m not waking up everyday going “Oh, what am I going to do? The Lord just keeps leading and providing and it’s always good.”