Gil and his wife, Sher, moved to Tennessee in February, 2010, when he was elected general secretary, the top staff position of the General Commission on United Methodist Men.
Previously, Gil served as president of the National Association of Conference Presidents from 2001 to 2004. That position placed him on the board of directors of the commission. In 2004, he was asked to remain on the board as president for the 2005-2009 quadrenium. As president, he also served on the newly created Connectional Table.
While in Texas, Gil was active in the Texas Annual Conference and was elected as a delegate to each General Conference from 1996 to 2019.
He holds a BA degree from Lynchburg College in speech and dramatic arts education, and a MEd in speech language pathology from Southwest Texas State University.
As he puts it, Gil was “invited” to enlist in the U.S. Army after completing his undergraduate degree, and he served three years as a medic, training other medics to work on a drug and alcohol issues and service in psychiatric units.
After finishing his graduate work Gil worked as a speech/language pathologist is several settings in Texas. His last positions were at Nacogdoches Medical Center and an adjunct faculty member at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Gil and Sher have one son, Carl; he and his wife, Kalena, and daughter, Gentry, live in Oklahoma City. Carl is an Eagle Scout and works for the BSA Council in that area. Kalena is a pre-school teacher, Gentry is active in Cub Scouts.
Hanke’s roots within the Methodist Church are deep; he is named for his maternal grandfather, the Rev. Gilbert C. Meyer, a local pastor in the Kansas East Conference. Gil’s dad, Martin, held many positions at Dulin Methodist Church in Falls Church, Va., where his mother, Helen, was the director of music. Gil has two older brothers: Jay, a retired United Methodist pastor, and Myron, a retired science teacher.
Gil has a passion for missions, serving in many places in the U.S.: one advance team in Siberia, eight teams to Costa Rica, and more than 30 teams to Haiti. The trips outside the U.S. related to working with special-needs children and associated building projects.
Since joining the commission staff, one of his passions is combining Wesley’s Class Meeting with technology. He has led multiple trainings of face-to-face or screen-to-screen (or a combination) groups, all of which have resulted in increasing numbers of faithful disciples.
Under his leadership, the commission added four staff members who are deployed in four different areas of the U.S. Each deployed staff member has skills that broaden the commission’s outreach. Recently that number decreased to three.
Gil also created levels of affiliation for non-profits organizations which serve communities around the world in various ways. The vetting of these agencies ensures local churches, districts and annual conferences can cooperate with these organizations without reservation. The four-year vetting process gives the commission leverage to make “course corrections” when needed.
Since coming to the commission, Gil has authored two books and countless articles. He leads frequent webinars, and speaks at local, district, conference, national and international meetings.