Special Volunteer Recognition of Joel Jackson, Building Committee Chair

November, 2019

In celebration of paying off our mortgage.

 

Dear Church Family,

 Joel Jackson has given tremendous ongoing effort to our building project since he first came to our church. He was our first, and only, Building Committee Chairperson after the Vision Committee had completed its work. Joel knows more about the plans, development and creation of our worship and ministry facilities than any group of people from our church, and he has used that knowledge, and His heart of service, to continue to help and advise us with building matters and decisions ever since. Others rotated off the Building Committee, moved away, or were promoted to heaven. When it comes to the work of the building committee and follow-up issues, Joel has been the one constant.

Whenever Joel is complimented on his efforts, he is ALWAYS quick to remind everyone that God is the One Who deserves ALL the glory. He also ALWAYS reminds everyone that this was a team effort. But it is your Pastor’s firm belief that no five people together from our church, put in the extensive hours into this huge, long term ministry project of providing a “base of operation” that would be suitable for 21st century ministry. As a matter of fact, there are very few people who are open to leading a challenge like the one we were facing with the building, which also included relocation from the rich heritage of our last site.

It’s always delightful to look back on the things God has done for us; but, now that we are about to pay off our mortgage, it seems particularly fitting to remember some of the great things that God has done in this endeavor. Joel happened to be a key instrument of God. Instead of thinking of reasons why such a busy person should not tackle a project so greatly consuming, Joel expressed gratitude that he could volunteer and use his gifts to serve God in this way. He says, he was grateful to be able to participate. With Barbara at his side, Joel dove in. He put his hand to the plow and did not look back. A book could be written about Joel’s efforts and accomplishments through our Building Committee, but a few highlights are mentioned below:

First of all, there were at least 68 full-fledged building committee meetings that Joel called, led and attended. These involved step-by-step issues, as well as crisis issues, that came up along the way. Joel would not be rattled, nor did he waiver. It’s not an exaggeration to say that there were probably an average of two or three additional meetings for Joel outside of each of the 68 full committee meetings that Joel chaired. He worked with sub-committees, inspectors, building managers, site developers, and on, and on, and on.

Joel used his experience, as Director of the County Parks Department and handling building projects for them, to help us navigate issues that would have seemed crippling, and insurmountable to most of us. When the county says do this or that, most people just do it and pay for it. Joel often challenged what others might have buckled to, saying, wait a minute – let’s talk about that. The county was insisting that we pay thousands of dollars for a sidewalk on Merry Lane. Joel appealed, making our case that the existing sidewalk on the other side of the street is hardly ever used. Joel won, so the church won! When the county was requiring an unsightly water tower on our property for fire safety (for which we would have to pay $80,000), Joel said, we don’t want to do that, we’ll hook up to the water at Publix. When the county said no because you cannot cross over our property on Merry Lane, Joel’s research and teamwork helped him discover that Merry Lane is on OUR PROPERTY! Joel won, so the church won! Neighborhood “uprisings” threatened to obstruct and derail our progress. Joel’s God-given experience, his love for neighbors and his love for God, won out when he invited those who were criticizing the church, and criticizing even your Pastor, severely, to come and sit around the table to talk. God enabled effective communication. Joel won, the neighbors won and so God’s church won again! And we made some new friends in the process.

Joel has been a leader in our Methodist Men’s group for many years. He was recognized many years ago as a volunteer of the month; however, as we are celebrating the pay-off of our mortgage during the month of November, we applaud what God has done through His servant – a VERY SPECIAL LIFE-LONG VOLUNTEER – Joel Jackson.

Thank you, Joel, for helping to make a God-inspired dream come to fruition. And THANK YOU, GOD, for Joel’s example of faithfulness, steadfastness, hard work, holy determination, love for You and love for others that he has demonstrated for us consistently, helping us to serve our community and the world for Jesus in the 21st century.

To God Be All the Glory!