Why I’m a Gideon: Ted Landers

When God calls Christian businessmen to become Gideons, many can never imagine all the ways He will use them for His glory. It’s often a series of obedient steps that leads to a fulfilling membership experience. Ted Landers knows this firsthand as he has seen God use people and situations to reveal His calling for his life.

Unknown Praises


Ted grew up in New Jersey surrounded by boy scouts, school, and church. He sang in an all-boys Episcopal choir as a young man, but he admits, “I was singing praises to God, but I didn’t know what I was singing.” His life was driven by “doing and saying the right things.”

By 1965, he had obtained two engineering degrees from the University of Michigan. He worked four years as an engineer and then went back to school to receive a master’s degree in business administration in 1971. He was also working for his university and starting a waterbed company. Life was seemingly going well. Money was good, so Ted and his wife, Rosemary, moved to a small town in Missouri.

But it would not last.

Broke and Lost


In 1976, the money had almost run out. The couple had reached a breaking point; they felt lost and hopeless.

“I remember this little church who, unbeknown to us, had been praying for us—Dora Assembly of God. I told my wife we needed to go to church. She replied, ‘Are you kidding me? We only go to church when your mother visits.’” However, the couple decided to go. Ted remembers, “God met us when we were in a broken state. We had US$100 to our name.” After a few Sundays of attending, Ted and Rosemary committed their life to Jesus Christ. God was about to show this designer and builder what He could do with him.

The pastor’s son knew Ted had two engineering degrees. He advised him to go to the local college and see if he could get hired as a teacher. He began consulting on the side. In 1980, his surplus of consulting work led him to start Perennial Energy, which is now a $25 million business.

Ted, who once lived day to day however he wanted, was now running a successful company that included voluntary devotions on Monday mornings. Out of those meeting times, God called six men to be pastors.

“Teddy…you need to be a Gideon.”


Ted received a phone call one day from a man he had never met. That man, Floyd, told him, “Teddy…you need to be a Gideon.” Ted recalls, “Floyd convinced me to join in 1983. I was given a Testament, and the back pages caught my eye. I saw the most important tool I could ever have to lead someone to Jesus Christ.”

Ted saw how God had uniquely gifted him and given him a skill set he could use as a Gideon. He immediately became the Church Ministry chairman for his camp, which lasted for nearly a decade. “It was wonderful getting to know and pray for pastors,” he says. Of the 90 churches in their camp area, Ted and his camp had a strong relationship with almost 75 of them.

His entrepreneurial skills helped him start a new camp in a nearby county, which still exists today.

But one of his experiences as a Gideon stands out above the rest.

Ted’s life changed in 2014 when he went to Ghana on an international Scripture blitz. “We aimed to distribute 450,000 Scriptures and reached 565,000,” he says. “I didn’t think there was any way we could reach the Scripture goal. We started each day on our knees and saw over 50,000 people give their life to Christ during the blitz.”

His camp saw the change in him and quickly made him camp president. He saw God do great things, and their camp doubled in participation. Yet, seeing people come to know Christ moved Ted the most.

The Main Thing


He firmly believes every Gideon should be helping other Christians witness. “This is the main thing—we need to be equipping Christians. Teaching them to share Jesus is the most important way we do this. My prayer is Gideons will lead by wanting to share Jesus more and more.”

This is why he is so excited about the new Conversations personal witnessing course offered by The Gideons, which helps equip church congregations to share their faith. “I have been waiting for something like this to come along for quite some time. Doing these trainings at churches has drawn me closer to the Lord. When you train people to lead others to the Lord, it just does something to you,” he says.

Ted’s life verse is Psalm 40:1-3. God waited patiently for Ted and Rosemary. They know what it means to be drawn from a pit of destruction, and this inspires them to faithfully continue winning others for the Lord Jesus Christ.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3 ESV

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