Jack Howard has touched the lives of several individuals in his more than 42 years as senior pastor at Full Gospel Family Worship Center in Denton.
Church members will conduct a special program today to honor his years of service and achievements. The event will also acknowledge other members of the clergy.
Today, some churches around the country are acknowledging Clergy Appreciation Day. October is also celebrated as Clergy Appreciation Month.
Full Gospel Family Worship Center members say their appreciation service is an opportunity to let Howard know his work is valued and not forgotten and to celebrate his commitment to his church and the community.
Howard, 70, founded the Full Gospel Family Worship Center, once known as Full Gospel Church, in 1970 with 20 members. The first church services were conducted in a rented feed store on Fort Worth Drive, according to church members. In 1974, the church moved to a location on Mockingbird Lane to accommodate its growing congregation.
Deacon Ruby Nelson, an original member of the church and longtime friend of Howard and his wife, Louise, said the pastor is a devoted and caring man.
“He’s a loyal person,” Nelson said. “He’s very compassionate and kind. He tries to help people and do whatever he can to make sure people are OK.
“You couldn’t find a better person just because of the compassion.”
Nelson said that he’s more than just the pastor — he’s her friend. She said he also goes above and beyond the call of duty by chipping in to clean the church facility and serving as resident repairman, putting in and maintaining the air-conditioning unit, plumbing and other items when needed around the church.
As pastor, Nelson said Howard is someone who doesn’t attempt to “talk over people’s heads” while giving sermons.
“He’s very practical in his speaking [and] brings things down on the level that people can relate to,” she said.
Howard has also been a father figure to church youth and a mentor to young ministers, said the Rev. Monya Howard, his daughter-in-law and an assistant pastor at the church. He’s also helped people who were down on their luck get back on their feet through offering a clothing ministry and food pantry, she said.
“He’s very well loved from the young to the old,” Monya Howard said.
Jack Howard is the type of man that, on occasion, has cut his vacation short to visit and help a sick church member or their family, she said.
“He’s just a wonderful man of God, and he’s been a faithful servant to God,” Monya Howard said. “He’s probably married hundreds, buried hundreds. He’s worked almost 43 years at this church.”
The Rev. Don Pitts joined Jack Howard’s ministry more than 20 years ago. He said he’s come to know Howard as a man with a heart for people, no matter whether they’re inside church walls or outside.
Pitts said it says “a lot for a man to stay in one position, one place for so many years.” It speaks highly of Howard’s commitment and it’s part of the reason Pitts said he and his wife have remained with the church.
“He opens up his heart to people without prejudice,” Pitts said. “I’ve never seen him judge a single, solitary person.
“His heart is, ‘What can I do for you that’s in my power?’ and certainly he has a praying heart.”
Pitts said Howard is the type of man one could call at 3 a.m. and say, “I’m going to the emergency room,” and the pastor would respond back, “I’ll be there.”
“He’s just there,” Pitts said. “He’s so accessible.”
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the web