Pictured Rev. Charles B Jackson, Sr. Senior Pastor, Brookland Baptist Church
Published in SC Living Magazine
CLAIM TO FAME: He recently celebrated 50 years as pastor of Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia.
PATH NOT TAKEN: After graduating from Benedict College with a degree in mathematics, Jackson received a full scholarship to medical school. “I love the sciences,” he says, but a college minister steered him to Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta, where he received his masters of divinity.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Jackson’s son, the Rev. Charles Jackson Jr., is pastor of the New Laurel Street Baptist Church in Columbia.
WORDS TO LIVE BY: “I’m happier and more excited in pastoral ministry than I’ve ever been,” Jackson says, even after five decades in the pulpit. “Much of that can be attributed to young pastors. They’ve kept me vibrant and relevant.”
FAVORITE SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 3:5–6. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
It’s fitting that one of the Rev. Charles Jackson’s favorite Bible stories is about the boy who gives his lunch of a few fishes and slices of bread to Jesus Christ, who multiplies the offering and feeds thousands.
Ever since he was a child, Jackson has been preaching the Gospel to South Carolinians and relying on God to do the rest—like building West Columbia’s Brookland Baptist Church into one of the Midlands’ largest.
Jackson got his start presiding over funerals for his neighbors’ dogs and cats. He preached his first sermon when he was just 9 years old. He was licensed to preach a year later and became the pastor at Brookland at 18. “I didn’t choose it. It chose me,” Jackson says of his desire to preach. “Maybe, like Jeremiah, God called me from my mother’s womb.”
Jackson’s personal faith journey has not been without challenges. His mother, Ezella Rumph Jackson, died of cancer when he was 16, and her death caused him to question his faith. “I couldn’t understand why God would take my mother, a devout Christian,” he says. “That was very painful. God disappointed me greatly.”
He renewed his faith by studying the Book of Job. “Even though Job wrestled and struggled with the inexplicable mystery of God, he never gave up,” Jackson says. “Because he did not give up on God, God did not give up on him.”
As he looks back on five decades of ministry, Jackson believes God kept him in West Columbia to raise the next generation of believers and build bridges between those of different races and beliefs.
“We have to transcend these barriers that divide us,” Jackson recently told an assembly of 75 high school students representing S.C. electric cooperatives. “And we can do that through love.”
by Michael Banks September 1, 2021