Home E News E 2024 Lifetime of Service Award Presented to Dr. Sterling Brackett

University, California, Virginia

Life Pacific University is honored and excited to present the Lifetime of Service Award to Dr. Sterling Brackett, esteemed alumnus and former president of Life Bible College East.

LPU President Dr. Angie Richey comments, “Sterling is an exemplary leader of leaders, dedicating his life to serving the Lord, churches, and numerous organizations. His tenure at Life Bible College East was distinguished by conviction, spirit, and stewardship. Today, he continues to be a wise voice of counsel and guidance to many, including the leadership team at Life Pacific University. For this, we are profoundly grateful for Sterling, the deserving recipient of the Lifetime of Service Award. May we all learn from his life and follow his inspiring example.”

Dr. Glenn Burris, former president of The Foursquare Church, reminisces, “Pastor Jack Hayford used to say about Sterling Brackett, ‘Your mom named you right.’ The word ‘Sterling’ speaks to the excellence of character, godliness, achievements and integrity. This leader loves Foursquare and has been an outstanding ambassador of its legacy and mission.”

We are delighted to share with you this moving account of the life and ministry of Dr. Sterling Brackett from his official bio:

A young Biblical Samuel comes to mind when considering Dr. Sterling Brackett. The prophet spent all his days and energies in the house of God. From birth, Sterling grew up in a Foursquare church in Kingston, Tennessee, where the female pastor introduced him and his family to evangelism, missions, and Foursquare education. Those Godly tenets were “caught and taught” by his own parents.

When asked what Sterling’s father did for a living, relatives could not recall his means of earning a livelihood, but they were quick to respond that he “was a preacher.” He often visited Black neighborhoods in his city to minister to those who suffered from segregation and widespread poverty. He frequently could be found in area prisons where he preached the Gospel message to those incarcerated and where doctors believe he contracted the tuberculosis that claimed his life when Sterling was only four years old.

The church became an even safer haven for his family after the loss of his father. In this fertile soil, Sterling heard the call to ministry as a very young man. He put his trust in Jesus and set out to follow Him in word and deed. In every season, from the time he was a youth, he has served God and the church.

After high school, Sterling advanced to college at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tennessee. As a student there, he attended an Assemblies of God church and put his efforts into serving the pastor. While volunteering in the youth group, a beautiful young lady named Wanda caught his eye. Proving that God truly does direct our steps, they were married one year after he graduated in 1972 with a teaching degree.

Responding to the tugging in their hearts, they moved on to Mt. Vernon Bible College. Sterling taught at the local elementary school in Mt. Vernon while attending college classes at night.

There, God birthed in him a deep love for people and a genuine desire to introduce them to Jesus and to shepherd them, to help them reach their full potential in Christ. He graduated from Mt. Vernon Bible College in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in theology. As he received his diploma, he and Wanda had no inkling of the places to which God would send them, of the thousands of people they would impact for Christ, of the joyful mountain-top experiences, of the dark valleys of the soul they would traverse, and of the unquestionable faithfulness of the God Whom they served.

For the next 15 years, they pastored churches in North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina. As they poured out their lives to those congregations, God added to their own family with the births of their son, Mark, and their daughter, Lynn. While raising a family and serving alongside her husband in ministry, Wanda completed her teaching degree and went on to earn a master’s degree in religion from Liberty University.

In 1989, they embarked on a new kingdom adventure when Sterling was appointed the president of Life Bible College East. In the fall of that year, under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, he founded the campus church – New Life Church. During that time, he also earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Radford University.

dr sterling bracket preaching at lpuvaThroughout those very busy, rewarding years, his continued passion for pastoral ministry grew and deepened. He cultivated a keen interest in the education and equipping of hundreds of students who would carry the Gospel across the world in diverse vocations and missions endeavors. For over a decade, he served as president of Bible college and as senior pastor of New Life Church. Wanda filled various roles at the church and college.

In the spring of 2000, following God’s leading, Sterling and Wanda said a bittersweet farewell as they transitioned to a new appointment in Los Angeles, California. At the corporate offices of Foursquare International, he invested his extensive educational, pastoral, and administrative skills. Within four years, he was named corporate secretary, and in 2005, he was appointed a vice-president (corporate treasurer and secretary) of Foursquare International. He served in that role until his retirement in 2017.

As he and Wanda settled into their new roles in LA, they connected with a group of Egyptian community who were hungry to know more about Jesus. From one small, intimate Bible study sprang a congregation and a church that Sterling and Wanda pastored for fifteen years. Throughout his seventeen years at Foursquare International, pastoral ministry remained a constant for him – no matter what vocational role he held. His heart has always been drawn to the support and development of his fellow sojourners. He has worked tirelessly to build up others in this most holy faith.

While working at Foursquare International, he ministered concurrently in other capacities as well – serving as secretary of the PCCNA, the Pentecostal Charismatic Churches of North America (Canada, the United States, and Mexico), and as a member of the board at King’s University for many years.

Even though he officially retired from Foursquare International in 2017, his commitment to ministry, education, and pastoral care has not waned. Currently, he serves as vice-chairman and trustee on the board of Oral Roberts University. He was elected president of the board for the Echo Park Evangelistic Association. He continues to serve PCCNA as treasurer. One of his greatest joys is to work alongside his daughter, Lynn, and his son-in-law, Mark Cooper, who pastor the Life Foursquare Gospel Church in Decatur, Illinois where his roles include pastoral care and staff development.

Sterling and his wife, Wanda, continue to enjoy a flourishing and fruitful retirement. As often as possible, they spend time with their son, Mark, his wife, Julie, and their adult children, Courtney, and Sterling, as well as with their daughter, Lynn, her husband, Mark Cooper, and their two adult children, Elijah and Bella, and 11-year-old Lola who still lives at home. Their five grandchildren have been – and continue to be – a source of great joy and pride.

Like the prophet, Samuel, Sterling has poured out his life to the Lord and to His house. He has invested all that he is and all that he has to propagate the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to raise up leaders for Him across the world. Three generations of pastors have emerged from this one family! God has blessed Sterling with a rich heritage, rooted in Him and in the Foursquare movement. He has blessed him with an enduring legacy for those who follow after him. May God continue to bless Sterling and Wanda with much fruit and great reward for their continued service to Him and His kingdom.

Please join LPU in congratulating and celebrating the life, ministry, and many accomplishments of Dr. Sterling Brackett, recipient of the 2024 Lifetime of Service Award!