Pointe Personalities: Meet Jeff Messer
Posted By: Becky Davis - 12/13/2019 9:15:00 AM

He preached his first sermon at age 10 to an audience of 54 people on a Wednesday night.  Jeff Messer knew he was called into ministry from a young age, but he just didn’t know exactly what that would entail.  “At the time I never would have seen myself doing what I do now,” he says.

He remembers the first time he saw Gates Hall on the campus of Wayland Baptist University in Plainview and somehow realizing it would be part of his destiny.  “I was ten or eleven at the time and I just knew I would go to Wayland, but I later discovered that you don’t just ‘go to college.’ So I had people who helped me along the way,” he says.

The first in his family to attend college, Jeff accepted a bi-vocational pastoral position while he was still a student at Wayland.  After graduation, he went on to pastor churches over a span of 28 years, in locations such as Wellington, Shamrock, McLean, and Amarillo.  

Life took an unexpected turn when he was asked to go into youth mission work for a private school in Amarillo.  He spent the next ten years facilitating mission opportunities for students at Bible Heritage Christian School.  Those opportunities included projects with City Church in Amarillo and homeless work with Mission Waco/Church Under the Bridge.  It was an enlightening experience, especially for the students. “We were serving homeless people under the I-35 bridge, right down the street from an affluent private university. It opened the students’ eyes to a way of life they never knew existed,” Jeff says.

The next unforeseen life change came in the form of a nudging from his wife, Donna.  She saw a job posting for a chaplain position at Bivins, and mentioned it to him.  “A nursing home?” Jeff asked.  Never in his wildest imagination had he considered a step like this.  He decided to fill out a last-minute application, and then a few weeks later received a call to come for an interview.

During a tour of the facility, a memory care patient said to Jeff, “Well Land o’ Goshen, when did you get in town?” 

Jeff knelt down to be eye-level with this women he didn’t know, and said the first thing that popped into his mind. “Well, just this morning.”

“Are you going to stick around?” she asked.

“I sure hope so,” was his sincere answer.

That was in 2005, and Jeff Messer has been at Bivins ever since.  As chaplain, he enjoys leading Bible chats with the Bivins Pointe residents three times a week, holding a non-denominational church service on Sundays, and taking time to visit with the long-term residents and rehab patients every day.

 “God has graciously allowed me to journey with these people who have lived such rich lives.  Their stories are what movies and novels are made of,” Jeff says.  ‘I get to visit with people who have such rich and varied faith backgrounds, and I get to teach Bible to people who sometimes know it better than I do.”

When he’s not involved in his chaplain duties, Jeff enjoys writing, cooking with his grandkids, and spending time with his family.  He and his wife, Donna, have three adult children.  Son T.J. is minister, daughter Leigha is a P.A., and their youngest son, Dustin, is a pastor in the Dallas area.

When asked what the future holds, Jeff says he plans to be at Bivins Pointe as long as he possibly can.  His respect for the Bivins legacy traces back to his childhood when the City of Amarillo’s library was housed in the old Bivins family home.  As 10-year-old Jeff perused the book selections inside those walls, he was beginning a journey that would connect him to the Bivins legacy for many years to come. He didn’t know what lay ahead, but as he looks back on that time he is convinced there was a divine plan unfolding.

“God knew all along what I didn’t know,” he says. “I could never have imagined this, but I’m glad He could.”

By Kelli Bullard

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