First United Methodist Church in Madisonville welcomed Jim Jackson to their congregation and the community this week as he began his new position as the church’s Pastor.
He began his pastoral career in Dickinson, where he worked for eight years, and helped grow the presence in the community before he was offered a position in Normangee. After four years, he was told his services were required in Madisonville.
“They are really working toward trying to find the best match between pastors and churches,” said Jackson. “That is what ultimately brought me here and we are all very excited about it.”
Jackson’s road to his religious career was never a foregone conclusion. In fact, it was not until he was 43 years old that he quit his job and pursued his current life of faith.
“After many years of fighting it, God basically won,” said Jackson. “I found out that I am uniquely gifted for it. I believe everything that I have done in my life has put me in a position to be a successful pastor.”
Before he gave into the call, Jackson worked in a fortune 500 company and even owned his own business. He has also always been passionate about music and worked as a professional musician for a year.
Jackson attended the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and never looked back. In his career, he has worked to join communities together in their common faith regardless of the denomination they are a part of. He has worked with faith leaders of other denominations in an effort to host concerts and communal worship sessions during his time in Normangee.
“We have worked for many years at trying to find ways to connect and come back together,” said Jackson. “We all have unique gifts and share the same bond with Jesus. God wants to work through us all, so I certainly think it is important to combine our efforts to best serve the Kingdom of God.”
In a community full of faith like Madisonville, Jackson sees it as an opportunity to come together rather than compete. He urges anyone struggling with their faith to speak with any of the pastors in town. Since he comes from Normangee, he is already familiar with many of the local religious leaders.
“The biggest thing is to talk to someone who is mature,” said Jackson. “Why would we think a new member is anything but an infant in terms of faith? There are a lot of people in our world today who are very secular, so we need to have bases of understanding and go slow.”
In his free time, Pastor Jackson enjoys playing the organ, piano, harp, banjo and guitar among other instruments. He also enjoys exploring the country and is fascinated by animals. He has traveled extensively and seen places like Israel and China firsthand.
“I am just amazed by the world and the differences we have,” said Jackson. “I like to meet people where they are and enjoy who they are. I delight in people, and I think that goes hand in hand with my work.”
Pastor Jackson’s wife Janet shares his faithful life as well as his hobbies. They met at a revival concert that they were both working. Janet has worked as a substitute teacher and even preached in prison units. They have two children, Stephanie and Kenneth, and three grandchildren, Gavin, Sabrina and Natalie. When Janet’s sister passed away, the Jacksons took in their nieces Aaron and Misty.