And who is Phil? Dr. Philip Jett, of course! I have known Dr. Jett for a lot of years. We are not the best of friends (as in intimate friendship) but I appreciate him more that he likely knows. This little article is my feeble attempt to give him a digital rose, so to speak.
I recall the first time I met him. It was many years ago at Chapel Hill Baptist Church. The pastor at that time, Bro. Dale Denning, asked Dr. Jett to help lead a deacon’s retreat on a Saturday morning to encourage those serving as the “table waiters” of the church. Dr. Jett was an imposing figure… tall, forceful, and direct. He provided a strong Biblical view of deacon ministry and mixed in straight talk about how deacons should work with their pastor. He made a positive impact on me and the other men in attendance. He was the pastor of Englewood Baptist Church at that time and we were all aware of his successful tenure as their undershepherd. I was impressed with his ability to be direct with his commentary while delivering it with love and compassion.
Now, let’s skip ahead to yesterday, August 11th, 2022. I was in attendance in the fellowship hall at Englewood Baptist Church (main campus) where Gary Taylor leads a large early morning men’s group that is associated with the Maximum Man movement. I have been joining them most Thursday mornings for almost nine years. This group has been good for me. I enjoy the fellowship and the challenges to live up to what God expects out of Christian men. Gary does an awesome job leading this group. I also like his straight talk approach. He has shown a rare commitment to keep this group alive and well for well over a decade. Occasionally, Gary will be gone on mission trips or handling business responsibilities and he will ask Dr. Jett to lead the group. That was the case yesterday.
Dr. Jett is now in his 80’s and has slowed down a little… just a little. This is where I want to focus and is the motivation behind this article. Over the last few years, I have heard much about Dr. Jett’s story. He has experienced a LOT in his life… success, struggle, loss, grief, and victory. He has gone on many many mission trips, witnessed to countless numbers of people, and encouraged those who are fortunate enough to be in his sphere of influence. He actually doesn’t know me that well, but he always takes time to smile and ask me how I am doing and how things are going with CEF. As he speaks to the men on those Thursday mornings when Gary is away, he shoots straight but still delivers his commentary with love and compassion.
I admire Dr. Jett’s commitment to Kingdom work and his “no quit” attitude. I have observed his life and consider him to be a prime example of what a Christian leader should be. As a man ages, it would be easy to come up with reasons to back away from ministry and dwell on past glories rather than future victories. Not so with Dr. Phil Jett! He acknowledges the past but lives int he present with an eye on the future. So, maybe this article is for me… or for you… or both? Let’s not lose sight of the present responsibility that we have to stay engaged in Kingdom work, nor the passion for the quest of future victories. Let’s be like Phil. Amen.