Broadcaster Neil Gordon didn’t grow up in a Christian family. Instead, he grew up in a Jewish home. His family was not overly religious. “We did participate some years in Jewish traditions like Passover, Hanukkah, and Yom Kippur (atoning for one’s sins),” said Neil. As a boy, Neil took classes at the Orthodox Jewish temple across the street from his home in Albany, New York. He celebrated his bar mitzvah––the coming of age for Jewish boys at the age of 13 when they become an adult within the Jewish community. But that’s where his connection to his Jewish roots seemed to struggle. As Neil moved into adulthood, he left his relationship to his Jewish faith behind.
In his mid-20s, Neil was working at a TV news station in Elmira, New York, and dated a Jewish girl there. He began to attend the worship at the synagogue with her. However, his reconnection to his Jewish faith lasted only as long as his relationship with her did.
At age 30, Neil was working in Augusta, Georgia, where he met and eventually married a Christian girl there. He describes their relationship as “unequally yoked,” because her faith was important to her and his was not. Sadly, the marriage did not survive. However, during that time, Neil converted to Christianity in the late 1990s.
Neil’s conversion experience was a progressive one. He describes seeds of faith that had been planted in his life over the years––people praying for him, others inviting him to church, and still others going to church with him. One Sunday, after listening to the sermon, Neil called his Pastor John Kenney from Aldersgate Methodist Church and invited him over. Neil was ready to make his profession of faith. There were no fireworks in the process––just his progressive movement toward God had come to completion.
Neil later remarried another Christian girl––Melissa Brinson. Neil had one child Drake from his previous marriage, who does not have a relationship with the Lord. Neil and Melissa now share one child together, along with many “bonus children.”
Early in their marriage, he and Melissa faced the unfathomable. Their unborn child was diagnosed with Trisomy 13, a rare chromosomal disease in which there are extra toes, a cleft palate, and heart abnormalities. Doctors encouraged the couple to abort the baby because of the difficulties they would face after she was born. They refused and gave control of the baby’s life to God. Evelyn Sofia Gordon was born on April 13, 2009. She lived 13 days. Despite the pain of losing their daughter Fia, Neil explains that the experience not only strengthened his and Melissa’s relationship, but it brought them closer to God as well. Neil explains, “Knowing that the Lord was in charge was the most freeing experience I had ever felt.”
Little Fia has not been forgotten. A friend of the couple, Robyn Kelley of Trendz Salon started an annual fundraiser in Fia’s honor. The funds raised are used to help other very sick children. Over the years, over $100,000 have been raised in Fia’s memory. Neil sees that as a remarkable demonstration of how God continues to work through Fia’s life.
Neil has always been a broadcaster, entrepreneur, a salesman, and a marketing specialist. His career was successful as he climbed the corporate ladder. His family had everything they needed, but his soul was stirring. “I was restless from not enjoying myself working for a big company, and not feeling like I was using God’s gifts,” he says. On Memorial Day Weekend in 2017, Neil heard a sermon that changed his direction in life.
The sermon, preached by youth pastor Will Riddle, was based on Haggai 2:4 and was about the people of Israel’s return to their homeland after fifty years in captivity. When the former captives arrived back in Jerusalem, they found the temple had been destroyed and they faced tremendous hurdles in rebuilding. Riddle stated, “You’ll never become who God calls you to be if you’re focused on why you can’t be like someone else.” Neil writes, “He encouraged the congregation to dream and hope and, with excitement, chase after our passion. In that service, the name and a glimpse of the ‘CrossTalk’ concept” was given by God.
Through CrossTalk, God gave Neil a new purpose and a new direction in his life that combines Neil’s talents and past experiences. CrossTalk creates thirty-minute television shows that provide positive stories about people of faith. Not only do these stories encourage the viewers, they also create an invitation for people seeking ways to fill the emptiness in their lives to come to God. To date, fifteen programs have been produced and viewed throughout the Augusta area. Neil is now looking for ways to expand the viewing area so others have access to these powerful stories.
Seven years ago, Neil and Melissa had another baby girl, Lyndee Seren Gordon. A high-risk doctor warned the Gordon it was likely Lyndee would also have serious, developmental challenges. “We believe our church family and prayer warriors healed Lyndee the day we all were in the prayer room at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta,” said Neil.
Interestingly, Neil describes his journey toward Christ this way: “I was empty inside. I had a good career. But I felt like I was chasing something I couldn’t catch.” That all changed after he developed a relationship with Christ. His son Drake, a successful 26-year-old roofing contractor in Dallas, Texas is not saved. “He told me recently that money cannot buy happiness and that he was empty inside,” Neil shared. Neil told him that his Dad makes much less money now but is truly happy. Drake has agreed to attend virtual church services with Neil. Hopefully, it will be a case of “like father like son”—realizing that it’s never too late to begin a relationship with the Lord.