We have updated our Privacy Policy to provide you a better online experience.

General Superintendent's Medal of Honor Awarded

The general superintendent's medal of honor was awarded on Friday during business.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - During the last day of business sessions at General Council 2023, General Superintendent Doug Clay bestowed the General Superintendent’s Medal of Honor on Bonnie Zimmerman of New Life Community Church in Ashland, Ohio. This honor is presented to laypersons within the Assemblies of God who have demonstrated “meritorious service to God, the church, the community, and fellow citizens,” remarked General Secretary Donna Barrett.

Although New Life Community has gone through several changes in its 76-year history including three buildings, five names, and 13 pastors, one thing has remained a constant within this body of Christ and that is Bonnie Zimmerman.

“The most accurate way to describe what Bonnie means to this church is a pillar,” said current pastor Dave McNeely. “She has been here 72 years of our church’s 76-year history and has served faithfully all of that time.”

Steve Brimmer, pastor of New Life Community Church from 1978 to 1995 which at the time was Ashland Assembly of God, described Zimmerman as a steady and faithful volunteer and later staff member.

After being saved at a revival service at the tender age of 14, Zimmerman recalled starting her ministry to children within a few months of her salvation. And despite the small church being 13 miles away from her house, she made sure she got there by finding rides or taking the bus when necessary.

Brimmer stated that when he came to the church in 1978, Zimmerman was faithfully serving the church which had an average of 30 weekly attendees. But as the church began to grow, so did Zimmerman’s ministry. “Bonnie was never afraid to stretch herself. She continued to take kids under her wing and as the church grew, so did her responsibilities,” said Brimmer.

During her time at New Life Community Church, Zimmerman has been a coach for Junior Bible Quiz, traveled both overseas and domestically for several missions trips, led preschool and elementary aged ministries in the church, and acted as the warm familiar face of “Grandma Bonnie” for many children at Ohio district camps. “Bonnie is a perfect example of someone God uses in a mighty way simply because they have a heart to serve,” said Brimmer.

At 87 years old, Zimmerman has no plans of slowing down. Today, she still leads the BGMC efforts for the preschool and elementary children, mentors families in their homes on a weekly basis, puts on a children’s discipleship group at a local elementary school, hosts a women’s Bible study which she started over 30 years ago, and leads a monthly worship service at nursing homes in her area. “Ms. Bonnie is out ministering in the community four to six times a week,” said McNeely.

Zimmerman stated that while she has gone through times of discouragement and times of wanting to step down from her ministry positions, God continues to say to stay where He has planted her. “Though I’ve gone through rough patches, I’ve never lost my first love and I will stay where He wants me,” she remarked.

“Bonnie’s legacy will forever live on through the people she has ministered to,” said McNeely. “So many men and women I know are in ministry because of Bonnie and her dedication to discipling the next generation.”

Zimmerman was accompanied by her daughter, Jan Knecht, who stated that her mother was nothing short of incredible. “I’m just so humbled by all of this and I still can’t wrap my head around it,” Zimmerman said.

As she accepted her award, she said that she was receiving the award on behalf of her Lord Jesus Christ and that this award meant more to her than an Olympic medal. “An Olympic medal is focused on a person and their ability,” she said, “but this medal gives recognition, not to abilities, but to what God has done in us, and for us, and through us.”


Ashley B. Grant

Ashley B. Grant has a master's degree in Human Services Marriage and Family Counseling from Liberty University and is a credentialed Christian counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors. Grant also holds certifications in crisis pregnancy counseling and advanced life coaching. Ashley is a fourth generation Assemblies of God preacher’s kid and has one daughter and three sons.