2014-01-02 / Lifestyles

Pastor Martin to celebrate 35 years with Baptist church

Above, at left, Pastor Jay Martin and his wife, Jan, are shown upon their arrival in Manistique in 1979. At right, the couple is shown now. 
Submitted photos Above, at left, Pastor Jay Martin and his wife, Jan, are shown upon their arrival in Manistique in 1979. At right, the couple is shown now. Submitted photos MANISTIQUE – The First Baptist Church in Manistique will be marking a very special anniversary on Jan. 7. Pastor Jay Martin, along with his wife, Jan, will be celebrating 35 years in the pastoral ministry.

The church will honor Martin’s anniversary with a special morning service and after church dinner on Jan. 12.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s been 35 years,” Martin recently explained. “Part of the reason for the longevity is that the church family has always been supportive and open to new ideas. They’ve also been so willing for me to be engaged in the community.

That engagement has, in turn, opened new doors for ministry to the people of our community,” he continued. “It’s been a good fit for our family to be raised here and to be involved in so many different things.”

Originally from the Lansing area, Martin graduated from high school in 1972 and later graduated with honors from Michigan State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

He earned his master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky and his doctorate from the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Illinois.

In 1979, after serving congregations in Lansing and Kentucky, he was hired as the minister of Manistique’s First Baptist Church.

Upon arriving in the community Martin became immersed in philanthropy, and has continued that trend ever since. Some of the pastor’s efforts include: spearheading an area volunteer hospice service; serving as a volunteer crisis counselor; serving on the board of Schoolcraft County Community Mental Health and its successor, Hiawatha Behavioral Health; the Upper Peninsula Services Continuum; serving as a member of the multi-county Eastern Upper Peninsula Crisis Response Team; serving as a volunteer chaplain with the Michigan State Police; becoming a member of the Schoolcraft County Coalition for Safe and Stable Housing; and serving as treasurer of the area TRIAD organization and vice chair of Schoolcraft Health Access.

In addition, Martin has relentlessly continued his education, receiving approximately 50 continuing education credits.

Martin is part of the Manistique Ministerial Association, the Kiwanis Club, Ministers Council of the American Baptist Churches, MacGegor Highlanders Bagpipe Band, and the Michigan State Police Bagpipe Corps.

“Other than Pastor Levin at Zion Lutheran, I haven’t known many pastors who have stayed so long in any one congregation,” said Martin. “My Dad was a pastor and the longest he ever stayed in one church was 8 years. The long-term pastorate has a lot of advantages and benefits. It’s allowed me to know the community and its history, the families of our congregation, the people who aren’t a part of our congregation, and so much more.”

His pastoral work was recognized in 2004, when he received the Outstanding Church Leadership

Award presented by the American Baptist Churches of Michigan. He was nominated for that honor by the members of his congregation.

In 2006, Martin was named the Schoolcraft County “Person of the Year” by the Manistique Area Kiwanis Club.

Martin and Jan have been married since 1975, and have two children, Jacole and Jared.

“At 35 years it’s just the beginning,” Martin said. “We’re blessed to have a great congregation of people and if the Lord’s willing, we’ll continue to serve in Manistique for years to come. It’ll be exciting to see what the Lord has in store for our work together in the years ahead.”

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