It is with a very heavy, but grateful heart that I write this post. My dear friend and pastoral mentor, Jackson Boyett and his wife, Barbara were suddenly killed in a car crash 6 weeks ago just outside of Austin, Texas. You can read the details about this event in this article.
Jackson was the pastor of Dayspring Fellowship in Austin, Texas for the last 33 years and had one of the most faithful local church ministries I have ever known. The impact this man had on my life as a pastor is beyond words. If you have benefited in any way from this blog, you have Jackson Boyett to thank one day as so much of what I write about on this blog was either learned by or observed in the steadfast example of this special man of God.
Because of this, I thought it be appropriate and helpful to my own grieving soul to share with you 5 ways Jackson Boyett challenged and taught me to be a more faithful pastor:
The sufficiency of God’s Word to build his church. Jackson started Dayspring 33 years ago upon the premise that the centrality of God’s Word was sufficient to build Christ’s church. Jackson from day one, preached verse by verse through books of the Bible and never deviated from that commitment throughout his entire ministry. Trend after trend came throughout different “church growth movements” and yet Jackson stayed steadfast in this conviction. One of the healthiest and most mature of local churches resulted.
A love for the trenches of pastoral ministry. Jackson affirmed to me that a pastor is to love the messy, painful, grunt work of the ministry. In other words, shepherding your people by doing crisis marriage counseling, church discipline cases, hospital visitation, funerals, caring for widows, loving those who despise you, being patient with the weaker brethren, etc. Jackson shined in the way he ministered the gospel and spoke just the right word of Scripture in each of these moments and reminded me why I should love this work. He taught me that faithfulness in the trenches is what makes our public ministry the most fruitful.
A contagious love for God’s people. I think what I miss most about Jackson is the way he always greeted me with a big smile on his face and said, “Hello brother, how are you?” Jackson had such a unique love for people and that caused the most troubled soul to be comforted just by his warm presence. I was no exception. Jackson taught me that when all the smoke clears, ministry is about people.
A wise pastor is a wise pastor, regardless the subject. Jackson was not only one of the wisest men I knew, but he taught me that you did not have to have a certain amount of experience in something to be able to speak wisdom into it. For example, Jackson and Barbara were unable to have children, but they knew a thing or two about instructing parents on how to raise them. Jackson shattered the cliche that it takes one to know one. After 33 years of pastoring families and watching children grow up in his church, this man had grown very knowledgeable in the art of raising children, even though they never had any of their own.
Lasting pastoral legacy is long service in one local church. There are many reasons I sense Jackson and Barbara have been greeted by their Savior with these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” But one reason that stands out above others is Jackson’s commitment to pastor one local church for his life. In the church age where so many up-and-coming pastors treat their current post as a stepping stone to get to the next big, high profile, church; Jackson labored away in a relatively small church for 33 years. Jackson taught me the most honoring pastoral legacy to leave in this world is not the amount of conferences to which you speak, the books you author, or even a blog you write, but an enduring commitment to the same group of God’s sheep, for better or worse, until your ministry is done.
Jackson not only taught me these things and much more, but he modeled them to this young pastor in a life and ministry altering way. Now that he is gone, his faithfulness to walk with Christ, love his wife, and shepherd his flock lights a fire in me stronger than ever to be found one day, by God’s grace, just as faithful.