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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Jackson in right place at right time

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Mitchell Jackson
MINER -- For Mitchell Jackson, it's all about being in the right place at the right time.

Last week Jackson was elected president of the Missouri Baptist Convention during its annual convention at the First Baptist Church in Raytown. Jackson, the senior pastor of Miner Baptist Church, is the first person from Southeast Missouri to serve as the president in several years.

But Jackson says his recognition is more of an honor in response to the growth of Miner Baptist Church.

"Miner Baptist Church has had extreme rapid growth over the past few years," Jackson said. "Six years ago the membership was about 150 and now there are 400 Sunday school goers and 600 who attend worship services each week."

Jackson said the church's growth can be attributed to its commitment to reaching the community and preaching the word of God.

"People are hungry for the word of God," Jackson said. "They're tired of hearing the politically correct sermons and wanted to hear the word of God, and people responded to that."

Jackson served as the convention's first vice president last year and became familiar with how everything works in the convention, he said, adding it's traditional for the first vice president to become the president the next year.

"Everybody kept telling me it was going to happen, but I didn't take it for granted," Jackson assured about filling the position.

As president, Jackson will have oversight of the convention's executive board, work hand-in-hand with the executive director and staff in Jefferson City and serve as an ambassador for the convention across the state.

"Mitch has a proven character and reputation across the state of Missouri as being a man who loves his Lord and loves his family and is a great servant in the church," said Kenny Qualls, associate executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention in Jefferson City.

For almost eight years, Jackson, who was raised in Cape Girardeau, has served as the pastor for Miner Baptist Church. He and his wife, Cindy, have three children: Sarah, 23; Luke, 20; and Joshua, 15.

Jackson noted three areas he will focus on this year: planting new churches around the state, emphasizing evangelism and increasing missions.

"We work with a very small group of churches in Romania, and we're trying to help them to start their own churches," Jackson explained.

Jackson also said there are other areas -- in other countries and the United States -- where there is not a lot of help to start churches so the convention is helping them do that.

But probably the greatest challenge Jackson will face during his presidency is just be being a husband and the pastor of a growing church because he will have a very busy schedule, said Qualls.

"The issues come and go, but really it's just the schedule (that will be challenging)," Qualls said. "It's very demanding of your time, but Mitch has a very supportive family and supportive church family and see it as a great opportunity for Miner Baptist Church."

And Jackson said he isn't worried about being away from the church since Miner Baptist has four full-time pastors and a Bible musical director as well as other assistance.

Qualls also called Jackson's presidency a chance for one church to have an impact on 600,000 people of the nearly 2,000 churches that belong to the Missouri Baptist Convention.

"Mitch's message and model is an example for other pastors across the state," Qualls said. "And he's doing a tremendous work in Miner and that has been recognized by others across the state who really appreciate his leadership."

But the greatest reason Jackson will make a good president is his great passion for people to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ just as Jackson himself does, Qualls pointed out.

Qualls said: "I just think Mitch Jackson is very loved across the state and exemplifies a loving, caring Christian man who comes across to know Christ."