Pastor of the Week: Bishop Julian C. Jackson

admin | 12/14/2011, 7:43 a.m.

Local minister explains why you're never too old to learn

Some of the most important lessons that Gamble Memorial Temple Church of God In Christs Bishop Julian C. Jacksons life reveals is the importance of education, persistence and faith. The 78-year-old minister began leading the church over 51 years ago, but he did not have the formal education many other pastors do. When I started pastoring, I had an 8th grade education. I wanted to go to school all the time but I was raised on the farm [and] my father pulled the boys out of school to help with the crops, recalled Jackson who was one of seven siblings raised in rural Sylvania, Georgia. Eventually, he married and moved he, his wife and their two young children to South Florida as a young man where he was appointed the senior pastor of Gamble Memorial COGIC in 1960. Yet that desire to learn was always there and I wanted to get as much training as I could, he said. At the age of 31, he returned to school to receive his high school diploma. But he knew that he wanted to learn more. So, while taking one or two courses at a time while working full time, he was able to receive his associates degree in six years from Miami-Dade Community College in 1971. Jackson was proud of his accomplishment, while at the same time, he was discouraged because it was so slow to receive his degree. And the ambitious reverend still had a passion for learning. To pursue his bachelors degree, he dedicated himself wholly to his studies, taking a leave of absence from his job as a mail courier. At one time, he tried to take 25 credits in one semester, when a normal full course load is considered 12 credits a semester. The hectic pace paid off. He received his bachelor degree in social work from Florida International University in 1974. It was exciting it was like a dream come true, he said. He would in quick succession go on to receive his masters in pastoral counseling in 1983; a master of divinity degree in 1985; and a doctorate of ministry degree in 1989. Gamble Memorial COGIC continues to grow Named after the previous pastor, Rev. Willie Gamble, Gamble Memorial COGIC currently has approximately 300 members. The church also hosts several popular ministries including Sunday School, Young People Willing Workers Hour, Evangelist Department and Missionary Department. Jackson himself can be found behind the pulpit frequent preaching about the importance of unity. To me the key to the mission of Jesus Christ is to bring many people together with different ideals into one body, he said. Theres only one Heaven so if were going to live together for all eternity we might as well [practice] now. The Gamble Memorial Church of God in Christ is located at 1898 NW 43rd Avenue in Miami. By Kaila Heard kheard@miamitimesonline.com