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This article is by Gene McCoy, class of ‘76 and ‘77. He is the CCCB Board Chairman

Kay & Bill McCoy (‘79)

A conference for ministers and wives approaching retirement became an occasion for a surprise reunion with former CCCB classmates, Tim and J. Allan Cook, along with their wives, Debbie and Jane. Like the Cook brothers, my brother, Bill, and I grew up in the parsonage. All of us are graduates of Central Christian College of the Bible who have enjoyed lengthy ministries.

Tim Cook (‘76, ‘77) began serving with Greentree Christian Church in Rolla, Missouri, in 1982.  J. Allan Cook (‘77) started his ministry with First Christian Church in Jacksonville, Illinois, the following year. Both congregations have grown steadily throughout their ministries. Bill planted The Church at Sherwood in suburban Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1986. My wife and I are now in my twenty-fourth year at the Christian Church of Mountain Home. It was a delight to catch up on the families and ministries of long-time friends who, like my brother and I, have enjoyed the blessings of long-term ministries.

It was refreshing to reconnect, almost as if no time had elapsed since college days. As in days of yore, J. Allan is the fun-loving and mischievously irreverent clown whose shenanigans get him in situations from which his older, more studious and serious brother rescues him. Tim’s recounting of J.’s exploits is, in itself, entertaining and quite humorous. Despite his reputation of comparative innocence and maturity, however, Tim’s delighting in his younger brother’s propensity for mischief almost implicates his complicity. Their mutual love and respect for each other is obvious, not only as brothers, but also as best friends. Having surpassed the 30-year anniversary at their respective congregations, they provide inspiration and model faithful perseverance for preachers and congregations alike. Tributes by church leaders for their respective minister exude heartfelt emotion and reveal a veneration that should characterize every preacher’s legacy.

12605515_937325932989032_1265285960324309115_oTim’s organizational and administrative skills have  contributed to his long-term ministry success, and they have provided stability for the congregation at Greentree. Such skill, however, has been effective only because people trust Tim, resulting from his authenticity and transparency that are exhibited by his willingness to share his real life struggles. Undergirding these characteristics is his commitment to both truth and grace, which lends to his ability to relate with equal ease to both the mature Christian and the recent convert to Christianity. Tim’s devoted loyalty to and love for people are hallmarks of a long-term ministry. So is his dedication to anticipating trends and the freedom by which to capitalize on strategic opportunities.

11138526_10206623167404105_3252197188171309582_nTrademarks of J. Allan’s ministry that have contributed to his longevity at Jacksonville are primarily relational and pastoral in nature. His focus on young families keeps the church young and vibrant. Though fascinated with the latest gadgets, J. approaches ministry through relationships. Humor and compassionate grace are recurring themes cited to account for his ministerial effectiveness. His engaging and often self-deprecating humor has always endeared himself to people, who are immediately relaxed in his presence. His closest friend says J. refuses to take himself too seriously. He is regarded by community leaders as the unofficial chaplain of Jacksonville and is called upon by families in the community to minister through numerous weddings and funerals.

With forty years of experience, the Cooks are eager to learn from others how to be more effective in ministry. A testament to their solid leadership is the fact that both have persevered through congregational relocation and major building programs. In the office and in the community, the Cook brothers are genuine ministers of God.

It cannot go without saying that the support each receives from his wife and their commitment to marriage and family contributes significantly to their long-term ministries. The Rolla and Jacksonville congregations testify to the essential dynamics of a long-term ministry provided by their preacher’s wife.

Sons of a preacher, Tim and J. Allan Cook have not only carried on a family tradition, but also carry out principles and practices taught to students at Central Christian College of the Bible today, just as they were forty years ago.  All of us who come from ministry families are aware of just how important those long-term ministries can be.

The 55+ Ministers and Wives Conference is sponsored each year by Kairos Legacy Partners, a Provision ministry partner.  See www.kairoslegacypartners.org for more information.


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