B21 Interviews with SBC Presidential Candidates: Jimmy Jackson

Baptist21 continues the interviews with the men who will be nominated for the office of SBC President. Up next is Pastor Jimmy Jackson.

Will you give us a brief introduction to who you are?

My name is Jimmy E. Jackson.  I am married to my wife Bobbi (we celebrate our 50th anniversary on June 19, 2010).  We have three children—Randy (deceased), Rhonda, and Russell and a dog named Rocco.  We are blessed with four granddaughters and two grandsons.

I have been the Senior Pastor of Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL for 32 years as of June 1, 2010.  Other pastorates include churches in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida ranging  from 30 in SS to 2000.

In our denomination I have served on the Associational, State and SBC levels as committee member, Moderator, State Convention Pastors’ Conference President, President of the Alabama Baptist State

Dr. Jimmy Jackson, president of the Alabama Baptist Convention, speaks at Whitesburg Baptist Church Tuesday evening.     Bob Gathany / The Huntsville Times

Dr. Jimmy Jackson, president of the Alabama Baptist Convention, speaks at Whitesburg Baptist Church Tuesday evening. Bob Gathany / The Huntsville Times

Convention, First VP of the SBC, Executive Committee SBC, Trustee of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of the Parliamentarians of the SBC for 23-24 years.

Serving as the President of the SBC is a massive time commitment. Why are you willing to commit to such a task?

I am willing to serve because I desire to see us pull together in peace to carry out the great calling of God upon us as His people.

How do you think your gifts and vision will help the SBC?

I will try to bring to the table many years of experience as a believer and as a pastor to help us to carefully evaluate where we are and how to get to where we should be.  I have worked behind the scenes of Southern Baptist life for many years and understand the process by which effective change is best accomplished.

What is one of the greatest strengths of the SBC? Why?

One of the greatest strengths of the SBC is our strong belief in the Word of God.  This serves us well in times of difficulty because we can go back to the Bible and remember that God blesses humble faith and obedience.  He will lead us through hard times.

What is one of the greatest weaknesses of the SBC? Why?

One of our greatest weaknesses right now is the apparent lack of forgiveness toward those who may have hurt us or who disagree with us.  This is true in our homes, churches, associations, State Conventions and the SBC.  We need a revival of personal application of the Scripture.

What is one of the most encouraging trends right now in SBC life?

I believe one of the most encouraging trends in SBC life is the growing awareness and increasing concern to be completely obedient to the Lord.  This applies to improved personal relations and to a renewed passion for both ministry and missions.

What is one of the most discouraging trends right now in the SBC?

One of the most discouraging trends is a two headed creature.  On the one side we have an unwillingness to change and on the other side a push to change too rapidly and only according to our own personal preference.  These two extremes must be dealt with very creatively.

What kind of ministry should women have in the life of a local church? How is this applied in your church?

Some of our most effective workers at WBC are ladies.  We do not ordain women as ministers or as deacons, but we do free them up to be coordinators of many of our ministries with preschoolers, children, our Autism ministry, parts of our Upward programs and recreation, work with single moms, etc.  We also have some of our young ladies going into career mission work.  This is what I envision for our convention.

What are some of the strengths of the GCR?

The GCR started out as an answer to the legitimate concerns about declining church attendance, baptisms, church plants, etc.  That concern is well founded.  I applaud the hard work that has been done by the Task Force.  Dr. Ronnie Floyd has worked over and beyond the call of duty to bring together a consensus of opinions from many areas of our convention.  The emphasis on the CP and the awareness of a need for spiritual revival among our people are both very positive.

What are some of the weaknesses of the GCR?

God’s Word commands that we “speak the truth in love.”  What I am saying is not intended as criticism but as an observation.  What the GCR calls for could have been better accomplished through our standing trustee system with its checks and balances.  This kind of change that needs to take place should be generated  from within our entities as they seek solutions to the concerns that have been expressed.  This process would have taken a little longer but would not have been nearly as upsetting and controversial.

I am 100% behind the Great Commission and have lived my life and have led our church to know the Lord Jesus Christ and make Him know throughout the world.  Our church leads our State Convention in both Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong giving every year.  We give generously to the CP and are increasing that percentage.  We also do direct missions and continue to plant churches in other countries.  Any concern I have over the GCR has nothing to do with my convictions about the Great Commission.

Baptist21 is thankful for Pastor Jimmy Jackson and his kindness in taking the time to answer these questions