An in­ter­de­nom­i­na­tional uni­fier

Wo­man ded­i­cated to mis­sion work and faith con­nec­tions

The Covington News - - Religion - By Colleen Capes Jack­son

What would hap­pen if all of the 180 churches in New­ton County were uni­fied in evan­ge­liz­ing the un­saved and in pool­ing their re­sources to meet the needs of the peo­ple?

Joy Jack­son, mem­ber of The Church at Cov­ing­ton, was bur­dened to tears when her pas­tor shared sta­tis­tics from a sur­vey that showed ap­prox­i­mately 60 per­cent of the peo­ple in New­ton County are unchurched and claim to have no church af­fil­i­a­tion. Re­al­iz­ing that God was chal­leng­ing her to ac­tion, Jack­son is ex­plor­ing ways to unify ef­forts to con­nect peo­ple to churches and to en­cour­age churches to sup­port and fund each other’s min­istries.

For the past three years, God has been re­veal­ing in­cre­ments of a vi­sion to Jack­son of how to bring the churches to­gether. In­spired by the pos­i­tive re­sponse from her women’s min­istries group when she pre­sented the plan, she is or­ga­niz­ing a din­ner to be held at the Turner Lake Com­plex to share the same in­for­ma­tion with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from other churches.

Jack­son will in­vite a pas­tor, or paid staff mem­ber, along with one lay per­son from ev­ery church in New­ton County.

The pur­pose of the meet­ing is to de­velop a com­mit­tee of fundrais­ers, ser­vants, in­ter­ces­sors, con­tacts, or­ga­niz­ers and re­source fin­ders in hopes of chang­ing the un-churched sta­tis­tics over the next five years.

As a fol­low up, Jack­son is plan­ning a BUG Fest next spring – “Be­liev­ers United in God” for church fam­i­lies to come for a day of Chris­tian mu­sic, mes­sage and praise at Lake Varner.

“I have al­ways felt that my min­istry was nurs­ing and medicine,” she said. “This vi­sion that God has brought to my heart and life was to­tally un­ex­pected.”

As a vis­ual re­minder of her man­date from God, Jack­son has a large map of the county and has placed a thumb­tack to iden­tify the churches.

Since door-to-door vis­i­ta­tion has be­come un­pop­u­lar due to safety con­cerns, Jack­son is look­ing for ways to con­nect peo­ple to a lo­cal church. She be­lieves that peo­ple re­sist church in­volve­ment be­cause of peer pres­sure, lack of Godly in­flu­ences in their lives, ap­a­thy and cul­tural in­flu­ences.

“I en­joy my day-to-day re­la­tion­ship with Je­sus,” she said of her 25year re­la­tion­ship with Christ. “No mat­ter how badly I feel, no mat­ter what some­one says to me, I can cud­dle up with Je­sus, sing a song and keep a smile on my face. I want other peo­ple to have the same joy.”

Jack­son was raised in a Chris­tian home but con­fesses that she never re­ally un­der­stood the con­cept of sal­va­tion. Since the age of 13, Jack­son had be­come de­pressed due to the death of her fa­ther and had turned to drugs and al­co­hol to fill that void.

The high school prin­ci­pal told her mother that Jack­son would never amount to any­thing.

At age 24, she was driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence with nine peo­ple in her ve­hi­cle when she ran into an em­bank­ment on In­ter­state 20.

Re­al­iz­ing that God spared her and her friends, she ac­cepted an in­vi­ta­tion to at­tend a Christ­mas play that pre­sented the re­al­ity of heaven and hell.

As she watched the play in­tently, she re­al­ized that God had a pur­pose for her life and re­sponded to the pas­tor’s in­vi­ta­tion to pray.

“When I got up from the al­tar, the de­sire to curse to­tally went away,” she ex­plained de­scrib­ing the trans­for­ma­tion that took place when she ac­cepted Christ. “I never drank an­other drop in my life, and I was on the way to be­ing an al­co­holic.

“The de­sire to drink to­tally left my body. The only thing that didn’t leave me was cig­a­rette smok­ing. Six months later, God con­victed my heart through a lit­tle 5- year- old, and I never smoked a cig­a­rette since then.”

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Rock­dale County High School, Jack­son re­ceived Ba­sic EMT and Para­medic train­ing from DeKalb Tech­ni­cal Col­lege.

She worked full time while at­tend­ing nurs­ing school at Ge­or­gia Perime­ter and grad­u­ated with an as­so­ci­ate’s de­gree in nurs­ing and in emer­gency medicine.

Over a pe­riod of 10 years, Jack­son re­ceived her BSN and MSN with a fam­ily nurse prac­ti­tioner cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from Ge­or­gia State.

A res­i­dent of New­ton County, Jack­son is cur­rently an LPN In­struc­tor for DeKalb Tech­ni­cal Col­lege and works as needed for Gwin­nett Med­i­cal.

She served as a para­medic for Rock­dale EMS for seven years. Dur­ing her 14 years of em­ploy­ment at Rock­dale Hospi­tal, she worked in the ER and ICU.

She also served as a nurse man­ager on the med­i­cal, sur­gi­cal and on­col­ogy unit, and as ad­min­is­tra­tive su­per­vi­sor on the night shift.

Jack­son at one time worked for Phoenix Air Care.

Af­ter her mother died, Jack­son was a trav­el­ing nurse for Pre­ferred Health Care for five years, tak­ing a new as­sign­ment ev­ery 13 weeks across the United States.

With a heart for mis­sions, Jack­son’s team helped to build a hospi­tal in Africa, a store-front ad­di­tion to a sin­gle mother’s home in Peru to help her pro­vide in­come and joined the Con­voy of Hope in Mis­sis­sippi fol­low­ing Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina.

Dur­ing the trip to Mis­sis­sippi the group de­liv­ered free food and gave phys­i­cals.

Jack­son serves on an an­nual mis­sion trip to Ken­tucky to work with a youth mis­sion and a small Chris­tian school.

In ad­di­tion, she has served on two mis­sion trips to Haiti, three to Hon­duras, two to Gu­atemala and one to Peru. She worked as a vol­un­teer at the Ge­or­gia Fire­fight­ers Burn Foun­da­tion’s Camp Oo-u-la for se­verely burned chil­dren and has been a vol­un­teer for Faith Works.

Jack­son is ac­tive in lead­er­ship at The Church at Cov­ing­ton where she has served as co-di­rec­tor in the mis­sion’s de­part­ment.

She is also in­volved in or­ga­niz­ing the church’s Amer­i­can Red Cross blood drives, and is re­spon­si­ble for pre­par­ing the church and build­ing in the event of a dis­as­ter.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Joy Jack­son at joy­ful­jack­son@bell­

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Church at Cov­ing­ton mem­ber Joy Jack­son sur­rounded by a di­verse se­lec­tion of mu­si­cal in­stru­ments that she has ac­quired on her many mis­sion trips around the world.

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