VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/30/15)—David G. Gnirk has been named the 2015 recipient of the Cora and John Sparrowk President’s Award. The award will be presented at the Biennial Mission Summit, June 26-28, 2015, in Overland Park, Kansas, on behalf of the Board of General Ministries. The recipient must be an American Baptist, who has over a period of years made an exceptional and outstanding contribution to the life of Christ’s Church and who in life and service manifests richly the fruits and gifts of the Spirit. In 2013, Andrew and Beverly Davison were presented with the Sparrowk Award at the American Baptist Biennial that also occurred in Overland Park, Kansas.
David G. Gnirk was born and raised on a ranch near Burke, South Dakota. He still lives on and works the ranch that has been in his family for over 100 years. In March of 1979, Gnirk was baptized and became a member of First Baptist Church of Lucas, South Dakota, where he raised his family and continues to attend. Gnirk has served American Baptist Churches both nationally and locally.
“Everybody who knows David Gnirk knows him as “just a humble rancher,” as he describes himself. But David’s humble trust in the Lord has led him to share how God has blessed him beyond his expectations that he shares his faith with anyone he meets,” said Don Ng, President of American Baptist Churches USA. “I have met people who didn’t remember his name but when I say ‘the humble rancher’ they know who I’m talking about! David Gnirk is worthy of this year’s Sparrowk Award because he has done more for American Baptists simply from his devotion to Jesus Christ as ‘just a humble rancher!’”
Rev. Mark Tuttle, pastor of First Baptist Church of Lucas, said, “David Gnirk has had a great impact upon our church, parish and community for the last 35 years. He has served on our Deacon Board, led our Men’s Fellowship (locally, state-wide and nationally), has been the moderator for our church for over 20 years, and has led many groups of men to travel to our state camp (Camp Judson). He has helped to build or remodel many of the buildings and cabins at Camp Judson that are used today, and he has provided a witness to our community by serving on the local school board, auctioneering at various charity events and supporting the local and state 4-H Clubs.”
“David has the ability to see with vision that few others possess. He sees things as they could be and says, ‘Why not?’ He truly has a vision for the things of Christ and always wants to see the work of the Lord move forward,” said Tuttle.
Locally, Gnirk taught the High School Sunday School class at his church for many years, served as a Trustee, and continues to serve as Church Moderator and as a Deacon.
He served as President of the American Baptist Churches of the Dakotas for two years and was nominated as the regional representative to the former General Board. He has also served as President of AB Men in South Dakota and is very involved with Baptist Camp Judson in the Black Hills. Because of his outstanding service and leadership, he received the ABC of the Dakotas Leadership Award in 1998.
Nationally, Gnirk has served as AB Men President, as a member of the Board of Educational Ministries, the General Board Executive Committee, the Denominational Structure and Process commission, the ABC Budget Review Committee, and the Board of International Ministries. He was also on the board of directors for Central Baptist Theological Seminary for 18 years.
David and his wife Elaine are blessed with 3 daughters, Sarah (Mrs. Jay Hutton), Katie (Mrs. Lucas Adams), and Stefanie (Mrs. John Gross), as well as 8 grandchildren.
“David loves the Lord and has a great concern for people to know the Lord,” said his wife Elaine Gnirk.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.