Why We Give: 'God is doing awesome things there'
Jackson Chapel used to be an African-American congregation of fewer than 20 people, meeting in a small chapel that held no more than 50 people.
But no more. Today, 200 worshippers come for two services, thanks to a dream Pastor Rex R. Bowens Sr. had 16 years ago, when he first began leading the church as a Local Pastor. That dream was fulfilled, or at least well on its way, Feb. 26, when the new Jackson Chapel was dedicated.
Working on faith, and using the old chapel as collateral, the congregation raised $300,000 to purchase Christ-Ballenger Creek UMC, which had closed its doors last December. “Thank you, Pastor, for never wavering or second guessing what God put in your heart, mind and soul,” the congregation told Bowens.
The congregation has done little to change their new building; it didn’t need refurbishing or rebuilding. The L-shaped building has an industrial kitchen, plenty of classrooms and space for the large and growing youth program that meets Thursdays. The youth start with a meal to which whole families come, both from the congregation and the community. “I think there are more people on Thursdays than on Sunday,” said the Rev. William Chaney, Guide for the Western Region.
The church is also in action on Wednesdays, when prayer is the emphasis. Attendees are challenged to focus on prayer in the group or by fasting through lunch and spending that time in prayer “wherever you are.” This week’s challenge is to “pray for relationships to be strengthened between the members of our churches. Pray for God to provide all the leaders and servants needed for our new services. Pray for newcomers to fill our new services.”
Now that you have a new location, “Jackson, what will you do?” asked District Superintendent Terri Rae Chattin, who preached at the dedication service on ‘He is Going Before You.’ “Will you continue to run the race or stand still? “(Ephesians 12:1-2)
One answer comes from the new Jackson Chapel’s location and the pastor’s new dream. The population in the area is very diverse and the pastor hopes to grow the congregation as a multi-cultural one. “It’s our goal at Jackson Chapel to make disciples through preaching and teaching the Word of God,” he said. “We strive to empower the global community around us -- spiritually, economically and socially -- to enjoy the abundant life of Jesus Christ.”
It is truly a house of the Lord, as Jackson’s mission statement says, "where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.”
“God’s doing awesome things there,” Chaney said.