It was Jesus’ example of going out and making Himself a part of the people He came to save—walking among them, eating with them, sharing time with them, listening to them—that serves as the basis for the church today, and only by following that pattern of having a heart for the people does His love fill the world. It was his deep understanding of that that gave Pastor Jimmy Terry, Sr., his natural ability to connect with the world around him—speaking God’s love even when he uttered no words and showing the face of Jesus to everyone who was blessed by the kindness of his smile.
It was with great sadness that the people of Clarksville said goodbye to the man who had so faithfully served for more than 30 years as head pastor of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church and founder of Tabernacle Christian School in late June, when he was called home to his Savior after battling prostate cancer. But regardless of his passing, Pastor Terry’s legacy of speaking Jesus’ love is one that will endure in the lives of the people he met, and that legacy will go on to change the world.
“Pastor Terry left some very big shoes to fill,” says Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett. “He was a man of tremendous faith, taking it wherever he went and sharing that faith with anyone he came in contact with, whether it was at a local nightclub, a formal community event, or just riding around town in his car—everywhere was a mission field for this wonderful man of God. His true congregation was all the people of Clarksville and Montgomery County. We truly lost our community’s spiritual leader, and he will be greatly missed.”
“He was an individual that would I certainly call the ‘Spiritual Father’ of the Christian community in the city of Clarksville,” agrees Bishop Calvin Lockett of Christ the Healer Church.
In the true spirit of using every moment for speaking life and love, Pastor Terry made Kingdom-mindedness his business—and he showed others the importance of that, as well. “I first met Pastor Terry when I moved to the area more than 20 years ago, but I got to know him on a much more personal level when he became a Director at Legends Bank during its founding in 1998,” says President and COO of Legends Bank Tommy Bates. “I was always amazed at how much he made speaking Jesus into every situation a priority—in life and in business. He was always quick with a hug and truly took time to listen if you had any concerns; and when I sought his counsel and support after losing my father last year, his kindness, godly spirit, and friendship became invaluable in getting me through my sorrow. Pastor Terry was an incredibly special person, and we are all blessed that he made Clarksville his home and his mission field. He was a major part of what makes Clarksville a ‘Great Place to Live.’”
Among others sharing that sentiment is Charlie Koon, recently elected Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce President and Director of Workforce and Economic Development at Workforce Essentials, Inc. “This was a man who gave his life in service of others. His church, the school he started, his students, family and friends all stand has a testament to his loving and giving nature along with the yard signs he placed throughout Clarksville, the hugs he gave willingly, and the genuine ‘I love you’s’ he said without hesitation hundreds of times a day,” says Koon in a heartfelt letter published by The Leaf Chronicle. “The impact he made on all of us who knew him will live on.”
For the Clarksville community, that’s a blessing and a legacy beyond imagination.
“When I met my husband in 1970 at a church service, I was immediately impressed with his ability to articulate his faith and his commitment to Jesus Christ. He has always been futuristic in his thinking and ready to conquer the impossible, and God allowed him to create necessary bridges in an effort to bring all walks of life together. I thank God that He allowed me to spend 43 years of marriage with this great man of God, and my prayer is that I will [be able to] continue his ministry.” -Servella Terry