This month, we’d like to introduce you to Ed Jackson. Ed retired from UPS (United Parcel Service), after over 31 years of dedicated service. He now spends a great deal of time volunteering at Concord Baptist Church where he’s been a member for over 15 years.
Every member of Concord is encouraged to join at least one of their many ministries. Upon joining the church, Ed joined both the hospitality ministry and the men’s choir. He became known for his dedication, dependence, and character while serving in these ministries. About two years ago Ed was recommended to join the deacon ministry, a role with which he was very familiar since his grandfather, father, and uncles were all deacons in their various churches. He grew up watching them spend countless hours assisting their pastors and serving congregants.
Becoming a deacon at Concord is a very serious and big decision requiring a major time commitment from not only the deacon, but also his spouse. Men are chosen based on character, standing in the community, leadership qualities and more. Each candidate and his spouse are interviewed thoroughly, and some are rejected at this point in the process. Upon passing the interview, they are mentored, trained, and observed for a full year during which time still others might be rejected. Those who successfully complete the process ultimately become ordained as deacons and their wives become deaconesses.
The role of the ministry is to serve the Lord by caring for the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of the congregation. This job requires benevolence, visiting the sick, shut-ins and bereaved, promoting unity within the church, and facilitating the spread of the gospel. Additional responsibilities include participation in the ordinance of communion, baptism, and various outreach activities.
Concord Baptist Church has a membership of over nine thousand with three services on Sunday, and needs three groups of 16-23 deacons to meet the needs of the congregation. Each of the three factions are assigned a captain and co captain. The groups are broken down by location so every church member is covered regardless of their address. After serving as a deacon for about 6 months, Ed was asked to become a leader of his group. Hi initially felt unqualified but was honored to be asked. After much prayer, he accepted the challenge. He felt strongly he could use the skills he acquired while working at UPS to make improvements.
Ed gives his time to his church happily and without expecting anything in return. He calls it “kingdom work”. He believes God gifted him to serve and feels doing so not only helps others, but also allows him to discover deeper meaning and purpose in his life. The pastor, Bryan Carter, along with the church staff, are able to minister to this large congregation with the help and support of dedicated members like Ed who generously donate their time.