In 1970 a small church between Warren and Hermitage, Arkansas called me to be their pastor. My concepts of ministry to say the least were fuzzy. But I thought that anyone could learn to be a successful pastor. I was fifteen and I believed in education, training, and discipline. And I believed in God.
Growing up in a Baptist home in Fordyce, AR. my mom and teachers encouraged me to adopt lofty goals. Preaching sermons to Blacks, Hispanics, and Gays was not one of them. Actually, I never doubted the worth of building churches. I did doubt, every Sunday night, my qualifications for this assignment. Rick Alford, a former Baptist music director and eventually White Rock Community (Pastor Cook's first gay church, which he founded and grew to 800 members) Church's Minister of Music, whose tradition was identical to mine, said: "Well Jerry, if they'd invited Jesus to preach, they'd have gotten someone like you; A preacher for a misunderstood cause, raised in a good Christian home, with strong convictions and great sympathy for the lepers of your day."
As I now have passed my fortieth year of church building and ministering, the Lord has brought me home to Arkansas, specifically to Fordyce. Here I will care for my Godly Mom and build a church for all people at "Hope Springs" in Hot Springs, AR. I understand my life is rooted in the biblical perspective that human history is an unfolding drama which swings between aching grief and stunning grace. Grief and grace; like magnetic poles, pulsating throughout our lives.
So, I continue my journey to help build a church or ministry of diversity, in which the rich and poor, gay and straight, families and individuals, African Americans and those of European descent sit side by side and worship the Creator. And I go forward, knowing with unshakable confidence that Jesus goes beside me to whom ever needs to learn God's love and sacrifice for them. While assuring all of; Hope, Faith, and Love. My telephone number is publicized everywhere; as well as my email address, so never hesitate, night or day, if you need me, to call. It truly is the desire of my heart.