Someone Who Loved the Church and Loved BACE

It was March of 2015, at the annual BACE Conference. This conference was special to me because the organization voted on me to become the new Executive Director. But, something even more important took place that year. Someone who loved the church and loved BACE was receiving an honor for her work as a Christian Educator, church leader, and champion for the work of discipleship in the church. Cathy Jeffcoats was a unique lady who was consistently committed, not only to Christian education, but to her church, First Baptist, Jackson, Mississippi. She was loved and respected because of her love for people, her love for helping Bible study leaders become better leaders, her love for equipping others to serve, and, most of all, for her love of Christ. But now, after a long battle with cancer, she is now resting in the arms of Christ, enjoying perfect fellowship with Him, celebrating her victory over death!

Cathy was an influencer and encourager of other church leaders in her state convention and around the country. I have had multiple conversations with church leaders from different places around the country where Cathy’s name would come up as one who encouraged or helped them. Cathy was also a believer in the cause of BACE. She believed that an organization like this was and is needed in order to bring together the practitioners, both young and old, so that they could learn from one another, encourage one another, and sharpen one another.

As I planned the BACE conference for this past April in Oklahoma City, God prompted me to invite Cathy to teach some breakouts. I knew she was still battling cancer and wondered if she could even attend. When I talked with her, she immediately agreed to come and teach. And, because she was a member of BACE, she knew there would not be an honorarium! When I saw Cathy at the conference, I could tell she had grown weaker, but there she was, giving her time and energy once more to helping other church leaders. That was who Cathy was!

While most of you didn’t know Cathy, you have most likely been a recipient of the knowledge that she passed on to others or the encouragement that she might have given someone who, in turn encouraged you. Some of you knew her, loved her, and feel a deep sense of loss because of her passing after her long battle with cancer. As Bill Taylor stated in his Facebook post,

I am not sure how to explain my thoughts, but I felt a deep sense of hurt and loss. Of course, I am pleased that Cathy is with the heavenly Father, but I still feel a deep sense of grief. I have been blessed with so many friends over these 59 years of ministry, but few have lifted my spirits and encouraged my walk with the Lord more than Cathy Jeffcoats. I could be under extreme stress with some ministry situation, but coming into her presence always seemed to move me toward joy, rather than continuing in sadness or distraction.

As you consider your church leadership role, remember that you don’t live on an island. We all need each other in order to move forward with the work of equipping the church to make disciples. Cathy knew this, and I pray that her passion for the church and for BACE will continue in those of us who are still here serving Him until we are called home.

Thank you Cathy for your great example to us.

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One thought on “Someone Who Loved the Church and Loved BACE

  1. Keith Wilkinson on Reply

    It is with a deep sense of loss to learn of Cathy’s death, but also a cause for celebration in the knowledge of her deep and generous commitment to our Lord and the church. It was my privilege to work with Cathy in her services to churches in Mississippi. She was always gracious, kind, and deeply loyal to those with whom she worked. We will miss her smiling presence. The honors extended by BACE were most deserving. God will bless her legacy.

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