Art Brennan has been actively serving at Topeka Bible Church for over 30 years.
Art was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1950 and is the oldest of four brothers. His parents were practicing Catholics. His dad was typical blue collar, working as a die-cut operator. His mom stayed home and raised Art and his brothers until their teen years, going to work as a telephone operator in a hospital in New Jersey.
After graduating from high school in 1970, he went to work for a home center near his house. Shortly thereafter he was drafted and stationed in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971 where his drug use increased.
“When I went in the Army, there was more opportunity to do more drugs. When I went to Nam, I did a lot of drugs,” he recounted. “I came back home and continued to fill my days with drugs and parties.”
After his discharge he returned to New Jersey, resuming his employment at Rickel’s Home Center as a forklift driver, but continued the drugs and the partying lifestyle. Not long after that, he got married, quit his job, moved to Kansas and then had a child, finding new employment as a forklift operator. His marriage was a self-described, “four-year train wreck.” Not surprisingly, the union ending in divorce.
He moved into an apartment with his friends and continued his downward spiral with drugs.
Even though Art didn’t know it and he didn’t care, God was working in his life, directing his path,.
One day while loading a truck, Art was approached by a co-worker who asked him if he knew "Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.” Art’s only concept of Jesus was from his upbringing: The Christmas baby and the Easter ‘guy.’ The man gave him a New Testament and told him to read it. Art read the Gospel a couple of times, expecting something magical to happen. When it didn’t, he wanted to return it, but his friend wouldn’t take it back.
Still, God didn’t give up on Art. As a loving omniscient Father, God knew the outcome.
Art continued with drugs but did start reading the pocket New Testament in secret. “I couldn't let the guys in my apartment know I was reading it as I was still smoking dope. I’d hide in the stairwell and read it, then I’d put it away and go back to the apartment.”
“One day, in 1988, I was reading the pocket New Testament. It was John 3:16. WHAM! It hit me. Despite being empty-heart with a drugged mind, one simple verse told me that someone died for my sins,” Art fondly recalled. “It was Jesus!"
"I started crying like a baby, bawling out loud. I accepted him right there! I went into my apartment and told my friends that it is all over. I am done with drinking and drugs. That was my way to the cross.”
As he began developing a relationship with Jesus Christ, he became friends with a woman named Sandy through their work at Payless Shoes. Their friendship grew into a romantic love that led to them getting married. Art says founding their marriage on Christ has led to more than 35 wonderful years together.
Sometimes as believers we just need to rest in Him, breathe and grow, before we start serving. Art was at that point. He searched a long time for a Bible teaching church before he found TBC. “I walked into TBC and just sat in the back and listened as I watched Jim teach from God's Word. I sat there for a year when someone asked me to hand out bulletins.”
Art has been serving and ministering in many areas of the church. He supervises the offering and communion teams in the 8 AM service. You’ll then find him serving in the College Avenue Building at the Warehouse with 5th grade boys. He also works on the TBC visitation team, collecting and delivering bulletins and class lessons to shut-ins. He also checks on the welfare of those who haven’t attended for a while and he offers rides to people in his neighborhood that might not otherwise be able to attend. He also does setup for the monthly men’s breakfast, getting drinks and tables ready. He has been a leader for Pioneer Boys Club on Wednesday for more than 25 years.
Art has been involved with a camping ministry for over 30 years, participating in or organizing boys’ camps in Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota. Art was praying that a Christian Boys camp would be local. A couple years ago, Art became involved in the Camp Catapult in the Wild boys’ day camp at TBC.
Art’s philosophy is simple but effective: “I go where he [God] tells me. He opens doors, I go through. He closes them, and I don’t.”
Topeka Bible Church is really blessed to have members like Art, who want to serve and minister God’s love to others.
“I am so blessed,” Art said in awe. “How can I not serve? I am humbled by the strength and power of the word of God.”