We Are First Orlando – Pat Brandt
by: Joan Peterson | April 3, 2017
After 36 years at First Orlando, this lady has serving “down Pat!”
Pat Brandt has a lot on her plate these days. As the Production Coordinator for First Baptist Orlando’s Music/ Worship Ministries, she oversees our large productions, such as The Singing Christmas Trees and upcoming Easter presentation, The Light. She coordinates all the details: recruiting volunteers, ordering supplies, securing props, holding weekly production meetings, and making sure everyone involved has what they need when they need it.
Pat has been a regular face at First Baptist Orlando since 1981.
She and her husband John have raised two step children and three sons, all who have taken part in the various ministries of our church. (Pat is now a proud grandparent of eight and recently became an “empty nester” with John and her spoiled rotten Havanese dog, Yogi.) She volunteered in the music office off and on during the years she stayed home with her kids. Additionally, Pat served in the children’s choirs in various capacities, and then was the preschool choir director for many years. Her servant’s heart and attention to detail led to a part-time job as assistant for the Children’s Choir Coordinator in 1996. In 2002, she was hired full time as the Production Coordinator.
The first major production that Pat participated in was in 1986 as a choir member in The Light.
Pat remembers from that first year on, this presentation of the story of Christ brought the scripture to life in a whole new way: transporting her back to the days of Jesus. Her youngest son, Stephen would watch the recording of The Light every morning when he was two years old! (At age five, he could recite every line and sing every song.) Pat, John and Stephen share special memories of traveling together to present The Light in Wales, UK in the 1990s. They are again excited to be involved in the upcoming 20th Anniversary presentation of The Light on April 13th and 14th.
Pat came to know the Lord through a “fiery” experience in high school.
Raised surfing the shores of New Smyrna Beach, Pat and her identical twin Pam both played on the tennis team in high school. She describes the memorable evening that first interested them in attending church:
“The tennis courts were a block over from First Baptist Church of New Smyrna. It was a Wednesday when an old house across the street from the church was on fire. All the tennis team went to investigate, and my sister and I heard our names being called from the second story of the church. We looked up and saw some friends from high school and they invited us up to their weekly youth meeting.”
This started her involvement in the church. One of her teachers from the school led the youth group, and taught her the good news of Christ’s forgiveness and love. She accepted this gift of His forgiveness and it has changed her life, and her eternity!
Without the hope of Christ and support of a small group from the church, Pat may not have successfully faced the challenges of parenting a “blended family.”
When she was a young mother, her 11 and 14-year-old step-children left an incredibly challenging home situation and came to live with them. She struggled with this situation and received the love and support of her Sunday School teachers who came alongside her and poured into her.
“All five children (now adults with families of their own) are doing great, and I survived, stronger and closer to the Lord than I think I would have been otherwise, and I believe prepared me for what I am doing here at church.”
This worried Military Mom experienced the “peace that passes understanding” after her Marine son was deployed to Iraq.
Pat’s oldest son Jason was sent to the front lines to await the start of invasion of Iraq in 2003. Needless to say, she was extremely anxious, until God’s powerful peace enveloped her.
“I tried not to worry, but my nights were spent praying, worrying, and praying some more. I had a constant knot in my stomach and the tears easily flowed. Everyone was telling us they were praying for Jason. And it wasn’t long after the war started that I had a peace come over me – that ‘peace that passes all understanding.’ [see Philippians 4:7] I stopped waking up in the middle of the night. Instead, my church family was telling me that they would wake up in the middle of the night with Jason heavy on their hearts, and they would start praying for him. How awesome is that, that God would allow me to sleep and wake the church up to pray!”
The Word of God became her comfort. The words of Psalm 33 and Psalm 91 quieted her restless soul. The community of fellow believers that she was surrounded with in a Life Group, the choir, and church staff supported her and gave her the inner strength to release her son’s safety and future to the will of God.
Having a community of likeminded believers to help shoulder burdens and stand alongside you in times of trial is something we all need in our lives.
Pat’s favorite verse is written on the floor of the sanctuary under the spot where you find her serving in the choir each week: I have been crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
And Yes, this Grandma is still surfing…
Have you been blessed by serving at First Orlando?
Do you have an experience from The Light in years past that you would like to share?
How has the Lord used a community of believers in your life to make an impact?