Sunday Sitdown



By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

This is a series of reports the Messenger will be doing each Sunday about local pastors in our area. To see the full interview, check out the video at the bottom of this page. The Messenger would like to thank Cutshaw Chevrolet in Grapeland for sponsoring this week’s edition.

Don Jackson is not only pastor of Grace Bible Church, he is also a longtime educator and the Superintendent of Grapeland Independent School District. The Messenger is grateful for his time during the busy week leading up to Homecoming and the Peanut Festival. 

When did you first feel a calling to be a preacher?

“At the age of 40! Faith has been a big part of my life. For a long time, I was a coach. I went into education – teaching and coaching. On Wednesdays, we would stop practice and we would basically have a 30 minute session, pull out the Bible, talk about scriptures and talk about what they meant – because I felt like as a coach, my job was to make better men and not just better ballplayers. So we did both. I went to my pastor and told him I felt like I was preaching in my sleep – it felt so real. I said, ‘I think God’s calling me into the ministry.’ And he said, ‘I’ve been waiting for you to tell me. I can see it – but I didn’t want to tell you, I wanted you to come to me.’ And so he started putting me in training allowed me to – he said – ‘officially’ preach, because I had been preaching already.”

What is the hardest part of being a preacher?

“Well I don’t know if there is really a hard part. I am not going to say it is easy to be a Christian. I am not going to say I am a perfect preacher. I had to become a preacher before I figured out there are no perfect preachers. You still deal with things: temptation, things of the world. I would say expectation, because you can’t just say that you are a Christian. There has to be evidence that you are a Christian. And that evidence has to show, most importantly, in adversity – in how you respond to things. Usually, if you try to gain another level, spiritually, there is usually another devil. And I think there is this evil force. I believe in God, I believe in Satan. This evil force wants to prevent us from being at our very best – totally against God and what He has for us and the blessings we could receive. So, just as Satan approached Adam and Eve, he still approaches us today.”

What do you like most about being a pastor? 

“Crazy to say this, but one-on-one time with the word and it ministering to me.  That is the most exciting time for me – when it’s just me studying. And let me tell you why. The first one to hear the sermon is me and how it applies to me. I am not one of those who walk around thinking, ‘I got it all together!’ If it was not for the Lord, I would be so jacked up. Because He teaches me things through the Scripture and He reminds me of things. A lot of us as Christians know things – but we still need to be reminded. And that Scripture is so good. When you see something – it’s meant for you and you are eager to share it with other people who may have similar problems. I look forward to that. It’s a spiritual high.”

As an educator and school administrator, what is your opinion on young people being involved in church?

“It is a problem. When I got this job, I did a survey with the kids. I did not ask them if they went to church – I asked them to list their pastor’s name. More than 50% of them told me they did not have a pastor. So that was my way of trying to figure out where they were spiritually.  Basically, we live in a busy world. We have to be able to get kids to put Jesus on their schedule. You know, I have a job here. But I know the importance of having the Lord on your schedule because when it comes down to it – He’s the key. If there was not a creator in your life, who gave you the life that you had? And you are blessed? To do the things that you do? Sometimes, we miss the boat. We’ve missed the boat because we get so caught up in our jobs or our hobbies and all that. Jesus is over here saying, ‘Hey, come over here!’ What came to me was – it’s good to talk about the Lord. It’s good to educate kids, but you have to live the life. You have to know who gave you that life. I know I will probably not be in education for the rest of my life. But I think I’ll preach until I can’t. Okay, until I just can’t get my thoughts together and people say, ‘Hey, you’re too old!’ I know the value of having spiritual inspiration, motivation and education. Educate yourself through the Scriptures and you are motivated to do better and you are inspired through the Holy Spirit, who will come into your heart. So how do we do that with kids? Build a relationship with them.  It takes a relationship with someone to get them to understand who Jesus is, and the importance of serving Him.”

Grace Bible Church meets each Sunday at 11 a.m. at 504 Augusta Road, Grapeland. Call the church at 936-687-2047. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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