Member of the Month

Gary Flokstra – 5/2024

Gary is the Chief Executive Officer at 4 the World Distributors in Springfield, MO. Gary has been a member of ACL since 1969.

Describe yourself using a book title: I’m trying for: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, but some may say its: Other People My Age are Already Grown Up

What’s the best thing about being a librarian? Besides opening a box of books, it’s helping others find the information they are looking for and providing resources that promote growth and maturity.

What are you currently reading? The Sword of His Mouth by Robert Tannehill, The Gospel of Mark by Mary Healy, His Part and Ours B. J. Sidlow Baxter, A Rare Benedictine by Ellis Peters, Bible Doctrines by P.C. Nelson (1934 printing), Bible Illuminated edited by Karen York, The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century edited by Tony Hillerman, and Clarence Macartney’s Bible Epitaphs.

Describe ACL in three words: Flexible. Supportive. Community

How do you contribute to your community? I help enhance theological education by strengthening theological libraries in the majority world with on-site visits, Zoom calls, emails, and sending resources.

I began my career as a librarian…in the home of a Bible college librarian with 40,000 books in our basement. I did not know the foundation being laid then that would help me the rest of my life. In 1980 my wife, Glenna, and I went on a year missions’ assignment to Continental Bible College (now Continental Theological Seminary) in Belgium. I felt called at that time to become a “missionary librarian”. In 1986, we went to Asia Pacific Theological Seminary in Baguio City, Philippines. After 10 years we transferred to Africa Library Services Office in Springfield, Missouri and worked with dozens of Assemblies of God Bible schools. In 2004 Glenna and I started the nonprofit, 4 the World Resource Distributors (4WRD). In our 20 years we have visited 42 Bible school libraries, helped train 96 librarians, shipped 1.3 million books to 411 Bible schools in 82 countries. God has given us great favor and opportunity!

What do you value about ACL? The vast experience pool and Biblical values.

How were you introduced to ACL? I knew about ACL in the 70’s and started communicating with members in the 80’s (shout out to Ferne Weimer) and joined after that.

How are you or have you been involved in ACL? Most recently with CILA. Have helped with overseas seminars in the past.

Do you have any specific interests in the library world? I am especially concerned for diploma level schools where the Church is growing the fastest and yet seems to have the least resources. I am also an acquisitions guy at heart preferring ownership over access, paper over electricity, and rows of books over screens.