Alabama Baptist youth minister retires after 46 years in ministry

John Jaye knows God can change a heart at any age. But he has always loved the opportunity to impact the hearts of teenagers before they get older and more resistant to change.

Jaye, who recently retired as minister to students at Northside Baptist Church, Jasper, spent almost all of his 46 years of ministry in youth-related work.

He had grown up with parents who coordinated a lot of the youth activities at his church, and that made an impression.

“I just grew up in that culture, and I felt God calling me to ministry at 13,” Jaye said.

But at first he said no. He went to college and started studying civil engineering, but after his sophomore year, he realized he couldn’t shake God’s call on his life.

He transferred to Mobile College (now the University of Mobile), completed seminary and served at six churches through the years, including more than 21 years at First Baptist Church, Jasper, and almost 13 years at Northside Baptist. Along the way, his roles included some work in administration, education and recreation, but his primary calling was always to work with students.

“I love working with teenagers as much today as my first day in youth ministry,” Jaye said. (Grace Thornton)