Rebecca Gilmer, an MC for the CSU Staff Conference, describes her role as “the frame of a beautiful picture.”
“I call it being impressibly forgettable. In the moment, I want folks to know I’m there while I’m talking to them, but I want them to be paying attention to the picture,” she said.
Gilmer has been on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ since 1981 and was one of the founding board members for the Impact movement. She held the vice president position for several years and now she is the director of special projects. Thanks to the persistent persuasion of John Rogers, Gilmer finally accepted the staff conference MC position and has been doing it so long now that she can’t even remember the year she began.
Initially, Gilmer said “No” to the job without offering an explanation. It wasn’t until Rogers spoke with her again at a soccer game that she began to pray about it and consider it. (All six Rogers children and three out of six Gilmer children played soccer, usually against each other.) Gilmer said that what finally convinced her to take the position was that Rogers said she could do it as herself.
You may know her as the woman who lead the Cupid Shuffle on stage in 2009, or someone who seems like she’s your best friend while she’s on stage; but, if you really know Rebecca Gilmer, you know that her favorite hobby is candle making. Or is it?
“When we applied for staff with Campus Crusade for Christ there was a little box that said ‘hobbies’, and I just didn’t have a hobby. But, I had a hobby that I wanted to have. So I had taken to, whenever I came across that question, putting down ‘candle making.’”
Gilmer has yet to make one candle, but her husband, Charles, has! He now says that her story is redeemed because he makes candles, and since they are married, they are one. Nevertheless, Gilmer said that when she is asked for her hobbies, she is still likely to say ‘candlemaking.’
Ask Gilmer about the challenges she faces.
“My eyesight’s getting bad,” she’ll say. She will also tell you that she’s very forgetful and if you combine that with her eyesight problems, “We are in for a lull,” especially if she forgets her glasses before she goes on stage.
It’s just her eyesight and her memory that are Gilmer’s biggest challenges, but this doesn’t mean that her job is easy.
During staff conferences, Gilmer is often asked to conduct interviews, sometimes difficult interviews, on stage. She has even cried while talking with people who have suffered the loss of a child, and with people in ministry who have faced hardship in the midst of their work, but who continue to persevere because they know that the hardship is from God. Even so, it’s the private pre-interviews that effect her the most.
She said, “I would go and sit with folks, hear them break down their story, and I would get so lost in it, I would forget why I was there. It’s like when somebody tells you something and you see Jesus in it, and it’s all very real, and you leave with your faith strengthened. It’s humbling and it’s sweetly convicting… it’s like preaching the gospel to me all over again.”
Gilmer explained that she does what she does because she is honored to have the chance to influence the number of people who have said “Yes” to the Lord, many of whom have said that they are willing to give their very lives, just like she did many years ago.
She said, “To stand before them and in some way help them excel more, count me in every time.”