FARMINGTON – First Baptist Church of Farmington honored Minister of Music John W. Jackson and his wife Arlene for 40 years of service on July 16.
The couple was honored with a luncheon with about 175 members and other friends present, followed by a service of recognition.
Bess Myers and Bev Johnson and their kitchen crew prepared the meal, which was served in the fellowship hall decorated in a black and white manuscript theme, with ruby red accents.
The recognition service in the sanctuary began with Jackson's youngest son, Michael, who recalled the blessings he experienced between home and family and "Dad's work at church."
Don Brown, retired chairman of the Music Department at William Jewel College, brought accolades. Jackson and his three sons all completed their undergraduate studies there.
Executive Director of Future Leadership Foundation Roger Hatfield praised Jackson's service as volunteer associate executive director for services for the organization.
Both Brown and Hatfield presented gifts.
Bob Woolley, long-time church music director for the Missouri Baptist Convention, spoke and sang portions of his own songs in affirmation of Jackson's dedication and service.
Senior Pastor William "Bill" Miller read portions of congratulatory letters from several friends and former associates who were unable to attend, many recalling encouraging or amusing incidents in their relationships with Jackson and the difference he had made in their lives.
The Jacksons' son-in-law, Isaac Hallock, sang, assisted by his daughter Abbi playing percussion.
Jackson began his service as a worship leader in 1971 and, according to members, has maintained a passion for helping prepare the congregation for worship week in and week out.
The worship leader has traveled extensively throughout the world, and especially in Eastern Europe. He has trained and encouraged overseas worship leaders and has led many music mission trips. One speaker pointed out that Jackson is well known in Baptist circles throughout Eastern Europe.
Speakers noted Jackson's tenure had been marked by integrity, his passion for service and his determination.
They recalled the "gawky teenager with no singing voice" and recalled his survival as a penniless seminary student with his high school sweetheart, Arlene, at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Jackson recalled receiving an invitation from the church to come in view of a call, and having to look up Farmington on the map.
Guests noted that God more than answered Jackson's initial prayer to be able to remain at the church and serve for at least five years.