What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Dr. Kenn Gangel (1935-2009)

Dr. Kenn Gangel (1935-2009)

 

The year was 1966, I was twenty-four, happily married with three great kids. In June I left a job with Cessna Aircraft in Hutchinson, Kansas, and moved back to the Kansas City area to return to College. One of my professors that first year was Kenn Gangel. I never considered him the most important teacher I was to have in preparing for a vocation in the Christian ministry. That honor would be a toss-up between my Theology professor and my missions teacher. But still, I always knew that I owed something special to the one I would have three classes with in the field of Christian education; Introduction to the philosophy and history of CEd, Visual arts and methods, and in my senior year, Educational psychology.

Still, though I respected Kenn as a teacher, and even attended the same church that Kenn attended during my first year, I never really knew this man. Once out in ministry, I would learn from another Christian educator just how critical the “with-relationship” is between teacher and students. You know, the kind of relationship that Jesus had with his twelve disciples.

The funny thing is, that it wasn’t the age difference that kept me as a student from any kind of relationship- Kenn was only seven years older. When he first came to the College in 1960, he was about the same age that I was when I showed up at the same college six years later. I did follow Kenn’s own ministry trajectory off and on- I graduated in 1969 and he moved on tobigger and better schools in 1970. When the books started to come out, I would always say with a certain amount of pride, “This guy was my Christian education prof in college”.

Only now, as I read his on-line biography at Talbot, in a colection of twenty leaders in the field of Christian education, do I get a fuller picture of who this man was, where he came from, and how much influence he had on evangelical Christian education begining in 1970 when he went to Trinity Evangelical Divinity school to build their Christian education faculty. I hope you will read his bio, but I will list some of the more interesting details:

  • Kenn was a first generation American, son of immigrants from Austria and Switzerland.
  • At age 10, his father divorced his mother and abandoned the family; his godly working mother placed Kenn in a boarding school, the famous Stony Brook school of legendary Frank Gaebelein, for two years. Then after she obtained a job as a cook at Wheaton Academy, Kenn went to high school as a benefit of his mother’s employment. (someone was looking out for this lady and her son)
  • Kenn had a dramatic spiritual turn-around that gave him the high motivation in Academics, leadership, and the Christian family.
  • Kenneth Gangel authored or co-authored some 50 books on a wide range of topics including education, leadership/administration, family, and the Bible.

Begining with the College where I met Kenn in 1966, Kenn went on to serve on the faculty of four other Christian schools including Miami Christian College where he served as President, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Toccoa Falls College, where he spent his retirement years.

Dr. Kenneth Gangel Biography at Talbot School of Theology

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