For over 175 years, First Baptist Jackson (FBJ) has been an integral part of downtown Jackson, Mississippi and its history. From the church’s basement being used as a hospital during the Civil War to the dark days of yellow fever nearly wiping out its congregation, First Baptist Jackson has played a vital role in the community for almost two centuries.
Through the twists and turns of time, FBJ has established itself as a cornerstone not only of the city of Jackson but also of Mississippi as a whole. Located in the largest city in the state and steps from the state capitol building, FBJ’s Executive Pastor, Bob Gladney, said the church was sometimes jokingly referred to as “First Baptist Mississippi.”
Though the building has changed over the last 175 years, the heart of FBJ has always been their passion for connecting with people and helping them become active followers of Christ. With its history-laden pews, FBJ seeks to continuing growing the Kingdom in and beyond the city of Jackson.
Consistent leadership from the pulpit is paramount for any church to remain healthy. And, despite a history of great leaders, FBJ found themselves in a four-year period of transition, most of which without a Senior Pastor. The church knew that God would be faithful and provide the right leader for them, just as he had for the last 175 years.
“We had positioned ourselves to impact Downtown Jackson,” said Bob. The church did not lack vision or resources. “We just needed a leader.”
After assembling the search committee, the committee members took a look at the tools they had at hand. They could post the job online, they could reach into their personal networks, and they could seek help from the Southern Baptist Convention. But with such a rich history and the opportunity for such a large mission, could the Search Committee rely merely on a job posting or small personal network to find such a uniquely-qualified, high-capacity leader?
There was another tool the committee could utilize - Vanderbloemen Search Group. By adding VSG to their search committee tool belt, they were able to dramatically increase the depth and breadth of their search without sacrificing their involvement. Through the partnership, the search committee was able to concentrate on the health of the church while
Vanderbloemen used their tried-and-true process to guide them to the leaders who were culture and experience fits for the church.
“The success came when the Pastor Search committee agreed to partner with vanderbloemen. It worked better than we ever dreamed” said bob
For FBJ, the leader God was calling to their church was Dr. Matt Brooks. Matt comes to FBJ with a host of educational accolades and pastoral experience within the Southern Baptist Church. Above all, that he has a heart that aligns with mission of FBJ. Matt and his family want to be a part of a church that seeks to reach their city and make active followers of Christ, and FBJ is that place. FBJ was already in a location with the potential for huge impact. Now they have a Senior Pastor that will champion the mission of the church, and ultimately, lead to Kingdom growth.