Want to learn more about Jackson's First Presbyterian Church, it's congregation and the many opportunities available to all who worship with us? We invite you to browse our website. Find out what we as Presbyterians in the Presbyterian Church, USA believe. Discover what groups there are for young and old to learn more about Jesus Christ. Discover the many ways in which you can give of your time and talents. We are a people who are here to serve God by serving others and we hope you will join us in that mission.
"Serving God and Serving Others" is what we are called to do as a church. This little phrase is on our coffee cups, baseball caps, T-shirts, and stationery. What it actually means is that our mission is following the teachings of Jesus Christ to love and care for those he loves. We believe that he loves people of all races, religions, sexual orientation, and those who have faith and those who do not.
In the words of a famous prayer, he "loves the poor and the helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed; the sick in body and in mind and them that mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; all who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love."
This is the "Gospel" or "good news" that we feel called out to do. Our understanding of the Gospel is that we are called by Jesus to live out these teachings in today's world. The ministries of our congregation reflect this.
What We Believe
What do you believe at Jackson First Presbyterian?
We are a Christian church holding to the great traditions of the faith.
What if I am not sure what I believe – am I welcome?
Yes. Jesus said ‘come.’ So do we. People come seeking to have a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God.
Does that mean that you have differences of opinion?
Yes. We believe that people of good will can and do disagree on things. St. Augustine once said, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, freedom; in all things, love.”
What are the essentials?
To love God and one another and to follow the teachings and example of Jesus.
What about Jesus being our personal Lord and Savior – do you also believe that?
Yes, but because it is personal it will be expressed and experienced by each of us in unique ways. Again, one size does not fit all because God made each to be different. We value and treasure that each one of us is on a journey. Jesus is ‘the way’ – we are seeking to find that way.
What is a Presbyterian?
The word Presbyterian means ‘elder’ – we use democratic principles to elect elders who make decisions for the church based upon their own personal conscience after praying and reading Scripture. We are a Christian church formed around the principles of a representative democracy.
How are you different from other churches?
Recently we celebrated the 500th birthday of John Calvin. Calvin had a unique understanding of the church – he believed there should be checks and balances (not a hierarchy), that each person was a priest/minister, and that salvation was a gift from God (not something we earn). His followers called themselves ‘reformers’ or ‘protestants’. Today more than 70 denominations around the world, including Presbyterians, apply these principles.
If I attend Jackson First Presbyterian, what should I expect?
Expect to be challenged. We are not here to play nice or to be a social group. We gather because Christ has called us to gather and to become his disciples. We gather to grow as Christians and human beings. We gather to receive spiritual nourishment so that we go out as Christ's 21st Century disciples.
It’s not our job to save you.
We couldn’t even if we wanted.
What we can do is tell you the good news of the gospel – 2,000 years ago
Jesus died on a cross for the salvation of the world.
He saves, not us.
We worship him – more importantly, we try to follow him.
The First Presbyterian Church of Jackson was fully organized on December 18, 1883. The original 44 members wanted to worship in a church of their traditional denomination.
Jackson was a thriving railroad and manufacturing center and most of the new members were railroad employees or small businessmen. The church grew rapidly and the building at the corner of Cortland and Blackstone (seen at left), built in 1886, became inadequate and a new church was erected on the same site in 1924. God's blessings were evident as the congregation grew and flourished doing God's work.
By 1958 the congregation needed a larger building which was constructed at 743 W. Michigan Avenue. Again, the congregation looked to the future to erect a structure with adequate space for future needs and growth. This church houses a sanctuary, chapel, classrooms, fellowship hall, choir room, offices and a kitchen.
A preschool with an outside playground meets five days a week. In the summer, Church-in-the-Park provides members and the community an opportunity to worship in the beauty of nature. The many activities of this church provide spiritual development, worship, and activities for all ages and interests. We are working to fulfill our mission of "Serving God, Serving Others!".