According to Kingdom Builder Award committee chairman, John Baltes, the selection process is a combination of “discussion, persistent prayer and guidance by the Holy Spirit.”
That’s the way a group of ten men and women from Stone and Taney County arrive at the individual who will be the surprised recipient of the Don Gabriel Kingdom Builder Award presented during the Ozark Mountain Prayer Breakfast.
The annual event, held in celebration of the National Day of Prayer, draws hundreds of business, civic, and church members together on the first Thursday of every May.
And, sometime during the prayer breakfast, “a person who lives or works in Stone or Taney County who contributes to the quality of the community by demonstrating, by word and action a dedicated and dynamic Christian life,” will receive the award.
Of course, Baltes and all the committee members recognize the award is hardly eternal.
Its namesake, Don Gabriel, has long since gone on to his eternal reward, but the Ozark Mountain Prayer Breakfast (formerly the Branson Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast) was Gabriel’s brain child. “Christian service was his hallmark,” said Baltes.
Apparently that’s the hallmark of many people in Stone and Taney Counties because each year, the committee begins the selection process with the names of more than 50 individuals, many nominated in previous years.
“Prayer, lots of prayer,” says Baltes. That’s what it takes so that about the time spring comes to the Ozarks, the committee begins to feel a nudging toward a particular individual.
Last year, the Don Gabriel Kingdom Builder Award was given to Dr. Sue Head.
College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis presented the award to Dr. Head. During the presentation, he quoted what one community associate said about her, “She has an amazing ability to bring people together for the right reason.”
Dr. Head is heavily involved in Loaves and Fishes, a program that provides hot meals to the area’s underprivileged during the winter months, Faith Community Health Center, committed to providing Stone and Taney Counties’ working uninsured with quality, affordable healthcare, and Ozark Mountain Legacy Builders, which promotes biblical principles and five core values: family, faith, flag, friend, and future in the Ozarks area. She also has served as a moving force behind the S. Truett Cathy Poverty Summit, First! PLACE Character Initiative, and the creation of the School of the Ozarks, the new lab high school operated by College of the Ozarks.
Past award recipients include Cliff Wagner (2004), Don Gabriel and Larry VanGilder (2005), John Baltes (2006), Edd Akers (2007), Barbara Brezavar and Brad Swofford (2008), Smith Brookhart III (2009), Bob Burton (2010), Jerry Lilley (2011), and Jack Herschend (2012).
The Ozark Mountain Prayer Breakfast, presented by the Branson Christian Businessmen’s Committee, will be held Thursday, May 1, from 6:45-8:30 at the Branson Convention Center and includes a hot breakfast, inspirational singing by Doug Gabriel, Old and New Testament scripture readings, and prayers led by Stone and Taney County pastors. The keynote speaker is legendary college football coach, Bobby Bowden.
Tickets may be purchased in advance by downloading an order form.Ticket order deadline is April 25 and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.