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May 25, 2020

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Jack Duffy talks about his ministry and thoughts on being a pastor

Can you guess how he proposed to his wife?

Compiled by Darlene Bowers

Every day is a gift from the Lord and you never know what is going to come your way. I need to trust in Him daily for guidance,” shares Jack Duffy whose Bible is filled with many underlined passages and verses. Read on to learn more about this Ada pastor and his life and work in Christ with the First Baptist Church of Ada.

Jack Duffy
Pastor of First Baptist Church of Ada
350 West North Ave.
Ada, OH 45810

Where did you attend school  and what degrees do you hold?
I attended high school in Hollis, N.H. until the middle of 10th grade and we moved to Portville, N.Y. where I graduated from Portville Central School in 1979. I attended Robert Morris College in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, for my freshman year and transferred to SUNY Brockport in New York to finish out my degree in business/marketing and American studies. For seminary, I went to Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, N.Y. receiving my Master's of Divinity.

How long have you served in the ministry?
Since I believe every Christian is called to ministry in the name of Christ, ministry began when I became a believer in Christ during my first year of college. As for pastoral ministry, I began an internship at West Henrietta Baptist Church in 1988 for two years and started at our first church in September 1990.

What congregations have you served?
• West Henrietta Baptist Church (internship 1988-1990),
• First Baptist Church of Herkimer, N.Y. (September 1990 – March 1994), and
• First Baptist Church of Ada, (March 1994 – present)

What led you to the Christian ministry?
First it begins with my conversion in college from someone who thought being a “good” person got you into heaven to trusting in Christ as my Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of my sins and the transformation of my life.

In my senior year of college, I was really struggling with what gifts God had given me and for what purpose. I had led Bible studies on campus, shared the Gospel and was involved in a local church.

In a season of deep prayer and spending time in the Word of God, the call to go into ministry was given by the Holy Spirit and affirmed by the elders and pastor of the local Baptist church. This is quite contrary to my nature because I hated getting up in front of people and speaking.

What are your favorite roles, duties and tasks of being a clergyperson?
I enjoy preaching, working with couples in preparation for marriage, teaching, discipling and befriending in the name of Christ.

What is the most challenging part of being a clergyperson?
Getting a call in the middle of the night about an emergency and dealing with crisis situations on the fly.

What sermon topic or message always excites you to share it? 
It all boils down to Christ and preaching him crucified. What excites me is seeing Christ in the Scriptures.

What do you feel is the greatest strength of your congregation?
We are a mixed bag from all walks of life who are committed to the Lord; people who have experienced hardship and struggles but stand firm in faith. I don’t think we fit into any niche and that opens the door for people to see we are common folk just like them.

Can you share with us a memorable moment as a clergyperson?
A definitive moment in ministry for me was in our first church when a tragic accident took the life of a 35-year-old woman. She had two young children and I was asked to explain to the children what had happened. We often think of memorable as a happy occasion or when all is going well but, this took me through the trenches of grief, loss and hope.

What motivates you?
Every day is a gift from the Lord and you never know what is going to come your way. I need to trust in Him daily for guidance.

Tell us about your hobbies, interests and activities you enjoy?
I enjoy reading, gardening, playing croquet and other sports, seeing our families who live far away, learning new things and I would enjoy learning curling on ice.

If you weren’t a clergyperson what would you be doing?
It is said the Irish can do anything and if I wasn’t a pastor in a church, I would consider being a school teacher, drive a food truck or an outreach ministry to the downtrodden.

Can you share some favorite Bible verses?
This is very hard to pinpoint as I’ve underlined many passages and verses in my Bible. Here are several that are key to me: Job 19.25-27; Psalm 32.1-2; Psalm 49; Psalm 51; Psalm 107; Psalm 145; Isaiah 25 and 53; Jeremiah 15.15-21; Matthew 25.31-46; Mark 1.15, 10.17-31; Luke 15; John 3.1-21; John 10 and 15 and many more.

What qualities would your congregation say are your strengths?
You would have to ask them that question…they would know better than I would.

What would your congregation be amused to learn about you?
They already know I proposed to my wife Marie over the phone because I was afraid to do it in person. What can top that?

Is there anything else you wish to share?
Have been blessed beyond imagine with a loving wife, Marie, who has been by my side for 30 years and who has been a great encourager for me as a man and as a pastor as well as our sons, Joshua and Caleb, who have been a joy to father and give me great pleasure. First Baptist Church of Ada has been a great fellowship that is more like a family to us, too.

Thank you, Jack Duffy, for sharing your grace, humility and ministry story with us! Your devotion to Christ, family, congregation, community and character are all gifts by which many have been blessed.