Rev. Steve Jackson – the pastor of Mt. Joy Missionary Baptist Church, the oldest black Baptist church in Edwardsville – received the 2019 Spirituality Leadership Award at the 16th annual Leadership Awards Dinner hosted by the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Saturday, March 30.
Jackson has pastored Mt. Joy for more than 40 years. He has worked to increase the diversity of the congregation, and the youth program under his leadership has grown tremendously to include children’s church, young people’s dramatic performances, praise dance troop, and worship and praise team.
“It is our desire to share Christ as The Way, The Truth and The Life. We are not about building an organized religion but focused on knowing Christ and growing in our relationship with Him,” Jackson states on the church website.
“We have not completely fulfilled our vision. In fact, we are still a long way from where God has called us to be, but that is what we are striving to be. There are many gifts here working to complete the vision, but all of the pieces are not here and engaged yet. Perhaps your gift is exactly what is missing to complete the picture. Together we can build the Kingdom of God while God builds us.”
As pastor of Mt Joy, he said, “It is my charge to celebrate the person of God, serve the people of God, share the love of God, connect the family of God, and teach the word of God. As pastor and under shepherd to Jesus the Christ in this Mt. Joy ministry, it is my responsibility to seek continuing direction from God.”
He said the church recently rewrote its Purpose Statement to reflect God’s will and direction.
“We have studied Mathew 22: 37-40 and Mathew 28: 19,20, and identified five defining and directing principles that will help us stay on the course God wants for us,” he said. “As we build the kingdom here in Edwardsville we invite all those who will to join the Mt. Joy family in this effort.”
He defined as The Great Commission: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mathew 22:37-40.
He defined as The Great Command: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Mathew 28:19,20
From these two edicts, he said, come the five focuses for Mt. Joy: Love the Lord your God with all your heart (worship), love your neighbor as yourself (ministry), go and make disciples of all nations (evangelism), baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit (fellowship), and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded (discipleship).
Also, Goshen Market will be recognized with the 2019 Sustainability Leadership Award. For more than 20 years, the Land of Goshen Community Market has provided local produce, crafts, and music to downtown Edwardsville. The market has proven to be an integral part of the community, using its resources to provide greater access to healthy food, encourage the growth of local agriculture and to educate the community on sustainable farming practices.
These dual awards reflect the Center’s mission to “promote humanity’s sacred connection to the Earth and each other.” The Center for Spirituality and Sustainability is a nonprofit multi-faith home for spirituality and sustainability efforts housed in the Buckminster Fuller-designed dome on the SIUE campus.