Jimmy Jackson joked that it’s unusual for a church and a pastor to be able to put up with each other for 40 years. But that’s the special situation he will be leaving when he retires June 3 from the pastorate of Whitesburg Baptist Church, Huntsville.
“The people here have been harmonious,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed working alongside them. They always come expectant.”
And over the decades Jackson has seen God do mighty things through the church, he said. Whitesburg has sent missions teams to plant churches around the world as well as organized all kinds of other ministries, both local and abroad.
“It’s like Nehemiah said — the people had a mind to work,” Jackson said.
Before coming to Whitesburg in 1978, he served as pastor of three other churches — Union Baptist, Grand Bay; First Baptist, Key West, Florida; and First Baptist, Merritt Island, Florida.
Through the years, Jackson has served in a variety of leadership positions, such as president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention (2009–2010) and first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention (2006–2007). He earned his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi College in Clinton and his master’s and doctoral degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
His wife of 57 years, Bobbi, served alongside him during his four decades of ministry.
After his retirement, Jackson plans to take a three-month sabbatical, then become a part of the Whitesburg congregation as pastor emeritus.
“I want to encourage the people who have been here at the church for a long time and encourage the new pastor in his ministry,” he said.
Jackson also plans to serve as an interim pastor wherever he might be needed, including at Whitesburg, if a new pastor is not in place yet. (Grace Thornton)