Posts Tagged ‘gifts and treasures’

By Sandy Shelton

The score was tied!

Ten seconds left on the clock!

Now, the field goal attempt from the 50-yard line…?
…the final question of Patrick Ian Jackson’s interview for the Pastoral Resident position at First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia!

The Question: “And what if our committee decides upon someone else, Patrick?”

Without hesitation, Patrick replied, “Then, this is not the place to which God is calling me.”

Up! Over! Through the center of the goal posts! Game decision point! No further questions from me.

Our search committee was already impressed with Patrick’s outstanding resume indicating his superior educational and career experiences; undeniably qualified and possessing a wealth of gifts and treasures. Yet, I was even more impressed as Patrick told the committee how God had moved in his life to call him to ministry. During all of Patrick’s successful educational and career experiences there had emerged this tugging—and not letting go—by God on the hem of Patrick’s garments.

Patrick JacksonOver the years it seemed that God had been giving Patrick unique ingredients needed for the servant He was calling Patrick to be. But was First Baptist the place where God wanted Patrick to continue his preparation? Surely with the richness of our staff academically and professionally, FBC was more than capable of enhancing growth in all the areas, and more, listed in the Pastoral Resident’s job description.

However, being a relatively new member to FBC at that time I hadn’t fully come to realize the gentle power and strength that sets apart and elevates our church staff to a level all its own. I hadn’t realized this unmatchable gift and treasure they had to offer Patrick: our staff’s deep devoutness, sincerity and love for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is rare to find such depth, and height and width of the love of God by an entire ministerial staff. From what a magnificent base to gather and nurture one being called into God’s service.

After accepting our invitation, Patrick told me that he and His wife, Yvette, fervently prayed, “that God would prepare the hearts and minds of the people at Richmond’s FBC to receive us and that God would prepare us to receive them.” How little did they know that that work had already been accomplished?

It was into this family of God that Patrick and Yvette Jackson came some two years ago.

Under the tutelage of Associate Pastor of Christian Formation, Steve Booth, Patrick hit the ground running. Soon after they arrived, I found myself in an adult Sunday school class in which Steve and Patrick taught as a team, and in which I took many notes.

Shortly after, we as a congregation began experiencing Patrick’s powerful voice from the pulpit as he so effectively read the Scriptures. Next, came his strong, compassionate, current and relevant prayers. Then his contribution to the bass section of the choir. AND his sermons!

Simultaneously, new healthy leadership skills, as Patrick says, were becoming his “by osmosis; watching Jim (Dr. Somerville) and others navigate issues of worship planning and execution…keeping prayer as a foundational strategy,” especially during COVID-19.

Patrick was also gleaning strength and support from the Resident Support Team, a team of FBC members who pray for and encourage each resident, and his meetings with Steve Booth. From these times Patrick feels Steve became more than a supervisor; Steve became a friend.

Especially enriching for Patrick was his participation in the Services of Prayer and Healing; likewise, being able to officiate at funeral services and being with the family members and giving them hope in Christ.

FBC staff and church members were also getting to know and appreciate Patrick.

Candi Brown, Minister to Children, shares that she found Patrick to be “approachable, relatable, sincere, caring, a good listener, smart and with a good sense of humor” in addition to “his passion and love for Christ and his genuine desire to minister to others.” Candi appreciates lunch conversations, office chats, laughter shared and prayers spoken that have nurtured their friendship.

Bessie Taliaferro remembers Patrick’s support as she struggled with a seminary topic. Not only did Patrick supply her with reference material, but he also provided a play list of gospel songs that he listened to during trying times. On Bessie’s graduation day, Patrick and Yvette were there.

Deborah Hocutt cherishes an unforgettable moment with Patrick. He stood in the pulpit one Sunday just about to give his sermon. Needing some personal words of comfort that day Deborah says, “Patrick looked directly at me, stared a few seconds, then smiled as if all things were going to be fine…. I cried through his sermon from that moment…. A moment so incredibly genuine, just like Patrick’s heart.”

The Fred James Family says they “really love Patrick and Yvette.” They “loved sitting behind Patrick while Yvette preached one Sunday. He was so vocal in his encouragement…yet stoic at the same time.” “He speaks with authority and conviction, and I see Jesus through him,” Julie says.

Emerson Shelton admires Patrick’s groundedness in the faith, his good presentation and his amenability. How thankful Emerson is that Patrick’s and Yvette’s prayer for the preparedness and reception of our and their hearts and minds was resoundingly answered.

Yes, I have no doubt that First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia was where God was calling Patrick Ian Jackson to serve. Through the many pastoral opportunities offered Patrick was nurtured and he flourished. Yet I believe the greatest treasure was not on an achievement list. That treasure was our living out together what the love of God looks like in a holy and healthy body of Christ. What an example to forever hold in our hearts and minds and to never lose sight of as Patrick and Yvette leave and we remain! What a moment to realize that truly,

“…the greatest of these is love.”

Sandy SheltonSandy Shelton and husband, Emerson, joined FBC in 2016. A retired Christian Educator, Sandy enjoys being a part of FBC’s Adult Formation Committee, Joy Singers and Church Choir. Sandy’s retirement days with Emerson, playing in her string trio with dear friends and wonderful moments with grand kids are among her cherished blessings from God.

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