Northfield Baptist Church welcomes new pastor

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    Dennis Jacob, the new pastor at Northfield Baptist Church, poses for a photo in front of his favorite painting at the church, titled "The Road to Emmaus." RECORDER STAFF/SHELBY ASHLINE

  • The Rev. Dennis Jacob started as Northfield Baptist Church's new pastor on Jan. 1, 2017. RECORDER STAFF/SHELBY ASHLINE

  • Dennis Jacob, Northfield Baptist Church's new pastor, and his wife Traci. RECORDER STAFF/SHELBY ASHLINE Shelby Ashline—Recorder Staff/SHELBY ASHLINE

Recorder Staff
Published: 1/22/2017 11:04:41 PM

NORTHFIELD — Northfield has some new clergy on the block. On Jan. 1, the Rev. Dennis Jacob experienced his first day as Northfield Baptist Church’s new pastor.

Jacob, who settled in Northfield late last month with his wife, Traci, is replacing Pastor Greg Landers, who moved to California. For Jacob, who has been involved in ministry for more than 30 years, becoming Northfield Baptist Church’s pastor is “a dream come true.”

Jacob’s relationship with the Northfield Baptist Church dates back to 1987, when the church helped to make his dreams of missionary work abroad come true.

Though he grew up in a religious family in Buffalo, N.Y., at the age of 17, Jacob had a revelation that made him want to pursue ministry as his life’s work.

“I had a pretty profound experience with God when I got on my knees and gave my life to him,” he said. “All I could think about was sharing what God had in my heart.”

Jacob said no particular event triggered this personal experience, but that suddenly, his plans of mining oil to financially support his passion for woodworking all changed. One night, in his backyard, he came to “a complete holy resolve.”

“It meant a complete life change,” he said.

After attending Baptist Bible College in Pennsylvania — which has since been renamed Clarks Summit University — and meeting Traci, Jacob moved to Ireland for 25 years for missionary work. He was not without help from more than 20 churches, including the Northfield Baptist Church.

“The church intended to financially support us and pray for us,” he said.

While in Ireland, Jacob worked with the Furbo Baptist Church as it was just starting out, providing church members with guidance on how to organize. He did the same with a small inner city church in Toledo, Ohio, from 2013 to 2016.

After Landers contacted him with the proposal to become the Northfield Baptist Church’s pastor, the more than 60 members of the church elected him by majority vote on Dec. 4.

Jacob gives a morning and evening service on Sundays, teaches Sunday school, leads new Bible study sessions on Tuesdays and holds prayer meetings on Wednesdays. He and his wife have also spent time getting to know community members, particularly by making home visits to elderly and ill residents.

What’s next then for the Northfield Baptist Church under Jacob’s leadership? Jacob said he hopes to see membership grow, and aims to help local residents in any way he can.

“There’s multiple challenges out there, be it physical, be it emotional,” he said, naming mental health disorders and drug addictions. “I’m convinced that with love and care and patience … Jesus Christ can lift us above the problems we have.”


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