Pastor Jesse Boyd (deceased)
Jesse L. Boyd Jr. was the second child and only son of Jesse L. Boyd Sr. and Clara Reeves Boyd. The oldest child, Katherine, had been born seven years earlier. Mr. Boyd Sr. was a Baptist preacher and pastored in Biloxi, Mississippi until the early 1940s. Into this home Jesse Jr. was born on June 5, 1916, in Gloster, Mississippi. Early in life Jesse Jr. had sensed the Lord’s call on his life for the gospel ministry, but he stubbornly resisted. Instead he devoted himself to his violin training and soon excelled. He later studied under Ora Mae Welch Young at Louisiana State University from 1937-38. But all the chords he played on his violin could not drown out the voice of God. Finally, in 1938 at the age of 22, while at a violin competition with his professor, Jesse finally yielded to the Lord, much to his professor’s dismay. Once he surrendered to God’s call to the ministry, Mr. Boyd made plans to attend the Baptist Bible Institute of New Orleans (now New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) as a graduate student.
Edith Long (Mrs. Boyd) grew up in Illinois in a Plymouth Brethren Family. As a young lady, she attended Blackburn College and the University of Illinois. Following her graduation she taught school for three years. Sensing her need for more Bible training, Miss Long set out by faith for New Orleans to take Bible courses. During her first year in the Bible Institute, she met Mr. Boyd and married him on August 13, 1943. Mr. Boyd graduated with a Masters in Theology in 1944. During the earliest days of their marriage and while still a graduate student, Mr. Boyd assumed the responsibility of his first pastorate in a little church in Pearl River, LA. The next several years were filled with moves from one church to another.
Within the Southern Baptist Convention, Mr. Boyd’s pastoral gifts were in demand, and he continued moving from one struggling ministry to another. In a few-year span Mr. Boyd pastored in Bogue Falaya, Louisiana; Shuqualak,Mississippi; Inverness, Mississippi; and Memphis, Tennessee. He then pastored the First Baptist Church in Dewitt, Arkansas, for five years (1948-53). While pastoring in DeWitt, Mr. Boyd began to wrestle with his own association with the Southern Baptist Convention. He had watched the Convention hire liberal professors at his own alma mater, and he understood the weaknesses of the Cooperative Missions Program better and better. In time, Mr. Boyd knew that his relationship with the SBC must come to an end.
In addition to his struggle over the declining SBC, the Boyds seriously considered whether or not God was calling them to serve as missionaries in Africa. They became acquainted with Sudan Interior Mission and were appointed to Nigeria as missionaries to develop a Bible Institute. Upon leaving the church for training at the Mission Home in NY, a serious decline in Mrs. Boyd’s health prevented them from being able to go. Shortly afterward Mr. Boyd began pastoring an independent church in Jackson, Mississippi. A group of families who met in the court house needed a pastor and invited him to come. The nucleus of families grew to become Jackson Bible Church. Mr. Boyd labored here for fourteen years (1953-67).
While in Jackson the Boyds learned of Bob Jones University. Pastor Boyd invited both Bob Jones Sr. and Bob Jones Jr. to preach in Jackson. Sensing Pastor Boyd’s love for the accurate exposition of God’s Word, Dr. Jones Jr. invited Pastor Boyd to teach at Bob Jones University. In the fall of 1967, Pastor and Mrs. Boyd moved to Greenville, SC, to begin teaching there. During his first years of teaching, Pastor Boyd also helped a fledgling ministry on East North Street in Greenville.
In December, 1972, Tom Wallace, a student of Mr. Boyd’s, approached him about supplying the pulpit for Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville. After Mr. Boyd filled the pulpit for five months, the church called him to be its pastor in August of 1973. For most of the next 18 years, Pastor Boyd served the Lord both at Mount Calvary Baptist Church and as a faculty member at BJU. In 1980, Pastor Boyd invited Mark Minnick to be his associate pastor, and for nine years they shared the leadership of the church. In 1988, Pastor Boyd celebrated the jubilee year of his call to the ministry. In May, 1989, he transferred the leadership of the ministry entirely to Pastor Mark Minnick, whom he considered his "son and successor." For almost two years, Pastor Boyd served as Pastor Emeritus. He finished his earthly course on April 11, 1991. Mrs. Boyd’s faithful ministry as a ladies’ teacher, counselor, and prayer warrior extended nearly twelve more years before she joined her husband with their Savior early on the morning of February 24, 2003.
The Lord used Pastor Boyd in the maturity of his years to mold the character and philosophy of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in its infancy. We cherish his memory and anticipate the day when we will again serve Christ together with him in the Heavenly City.