Brodrick Wilcox is an amazing volunteer who’s moved from the Pentagon to pastoring kids to wage war for the souls of children in Dumfries, Virginia.
I am sitting in a restaurant in the Pentagon with Brodrick Wilcox Sr. If I were captured and interrogated, I’d never be able to pinpoint exactly where I am in the Pentagon. Suffice it to say, I can’t use a tape recorder because I might pick up top-secret conversations.
Between bites of fajita, Brodrick tells me that one-third of the United State’s military presence is in the Washington, D.C. area. The Pentagon is the hub for all things military, and it’s massive. More than 250 light bulbs are changed each day at the Pentagon. There’s enough telephone wire in the Pentagon to wrap around the world four times. And, yes, there are a couple of war rooms, but, no, I don’t have security clearance to see them.
As impressive as the Pentagon is, though, that’s not what brought me here. I met Brodrick at Group Publishing’s national convention and saw something amazing in him. Here’s a man who volunteers in his children’s ministry…a man who’s so in love with God…a man who’s committed to his family. Over one weekend, I’m learning all I can about this man of God who may work with security at the Pentagon, but whose full-time service is waging war for the souls of children in his church and community.
Brodrick Wilcox is a big man who embraces people and explains, “I’m a hugger.” Walking through the Pentagon hallways, I notice that something attracts people to Brodrick’s eyes and smile. I watch people do double takes when they see him. Even over the phone, I sensed it. “Scratch Brodrick, and he bleeds Jesus,” I told my staff. The same is true in person. Jesus shines through Brodrick’s eyes, giving him a spiritually magnetic appeal.
When asked about his life, Brodrick sings, “As I look back over my life and I think things over, I can truly say that I’ve been blessed. I’ve got a testimony.”
Those lines from the gospel song “I’ve Got a Testimony” describe Brodrick’s life. And does he ever have a testimony!
Brodrick joined the military as a high school dropout. Today he has a master’s degree in human resource management, and when he retired in 1999 from 22 years in the Army at the young age of 41, he was a first sergeant. As he was considering retiring Brodrick ran into someone who said, “You’re just the man I was thinking of. We have the perfect job for you.”
He retired from the Army to that perfect job — security specialist for Special Operations Command Washington office at the Pentagon. Think Navy Seals and Army Rangers to understand what Special Operations is all about. Brodrick jokes that it’s “high-speed muckety-muck.”
Special Operations may be his job, but his passion is children’s church at First Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dumfries, Virginia. God has done an amazing work to bring Brodrick to where he is today. And all along the way, he has been just the man for the job.
“God has brought me peace that I’ve been looking for all my life,” Brodrick says. “I was raised in the church but could be considered a prodigal son who left his father’s house to go into the world.”
God saved this prodigal from more than one near-death experience. He remembers one in particular in 1979. “I was drinking Boone’s Farm and listening to Bootsy Collins, and I lost control of my car at 65 mph. After the car spun around and hit a guardrail, only a headlight was broken. That wasn’t luck.”
God was saving Brodrick from death because he was just the man God was looking for. Yet even then, Brodrick wasn’t ready to turn his life back over to God.
That point came five years ago when Brodrick and his fiancée Rosemarie wanted to have their infant son, Devon, baptized at First Mount Zion Baptist Church. Brodrick and Rosemarie knew they wanted to do what was right for Devon, and something in them craved raising Devon in the church.
Dr. Luke E. Torian, First Mount Zion’s pastor, said to them, “We are dedicated to helping you raise your child in a Christian way, but let’s get you right in the eyes of God first.”
Then Rev. Torian encouraged the family to attend church so they could grow. Brodrick says, “I found the farthest pew I could without being outside the church.”
Yet in God’s faithfulness, one of Rev. Torian’s sermons spoke right to Brodrick’s heart. “You can’t tell someone something you don’t know,” said Rev. Torian. That message was meant for Brodrick. How can I guide my young son without personal knowledge of Jesus Christ? Brodrick thought. So he dedicated his life to Christ and joined the church.
After that, Rev. Torian officiated at Brodrick and Rosemarie’s wedding at the Old Post Chapel near Arlington National Cemetery, complete with an honor guard and a horse-drawn carriage.
One year later, a lieutenant colonel said to Brodrick, “Hey, Brother Wilcox, we need more men in children’s church.”
Brodrick said, “Fine, I’ll be there for Sunday.” And he hasn’t left since.
“Over the years,” Rev. Torian says, “he has really blossomed into one of our outstanding leaders. He has a heart for the kids. He works in an area of ministry that does not get a lot of attention. It’s a tough area of ministry because often times as parents we do not want to minister to children when we have children. And it takes a special person to appreciate being involved with ministry to kids.”
Why has Brodrick continued to serve? “The people kept me coming — the enthusiasm of the children’s church people,” he says.
He quickly moved from assistant teacher to teacher. Then before he knew it, the lead teacher left, and Sister Sue Clark asked Brodrick to pray about becoming the lead teacher. A short time later, she approached him and bluntly said, “Okay, you prayed; we prayed. Now you’re it.”
“Wherever you need me,” Brodrick replied. “I’m your servant!”
When the children’s church director transferred over a year ago, the children’s church staff met and discussed the need for a new director. Finally, Sue Clark turned to Brodrick and asked, “What are you waiting on?”
Brodrick says that God had been working on him, so his immediate reply was affirmative.
What is it that makes a man say yes to God over and over? Assistant Pastor Dorothy White answers that question. “Brodrick reminds me of a person who is a diamond in the rough,” she says. “He has such a natural love for people that he doesn’t realize how unusual that love is. And that makes him even more volatile.”
Volatile is not often used to describe someone positively, so I ask her to explain what she means.