I first met Dr. Jewell in 1996 when I became pastor at Indy Westside. He had served as interim pastor. The church had gone through a challenging period. Longtime pastor Dr. J.K. Warrick had left to accept the call to be the pastor at Olathe College Church. The pastor who followed him lasted 16 months. Somewhere between 200 and 250 people had left the church, attendance, finances, and morale were all down. Dr. Jewell was the oil on troubled water that helped to bring calm. Shortly after I had arrived I had a breakfast meeting with Dr. Jewell, and I found him to be humble and calm. He gave me a positive but accurate view of things. He was very encouraging about the future of the church, and though he barely knew me, he was giving me a large portion of encouragement to go along with my breakfast.
I knew who Dr. Jewell was long before I met him. He had been a long time Olivet Nazarene University Trustee representing the Indianapolis District. I graduated from Olivet in 1978. His signature is on my diploma as he served as the secretary of the board of trustees. His brother Ray had at one time been the pastor of Fort Wayne Trinity Church of the Nazarene. Trinity is the church that my grandmother attended.
Dr. Jewell and his wife became friends when I moved to the Indy district to pastor Westside. I taught in the ministerial training extension school on our district and began to interact with Dr. Jewell some more. Many of our pastors still talk about the blessing it was to have Dr. Jewell for a teacher and mentor. Again, as you listen to them describe him the word encourager comes up every time.
I left Indianapolis in 2000 to take a position at the denomination’s Global Ministry Center. In 2011 I was elected District Superintendent of the Indianapolis District, Dr. Jewell was the Assistant District Superintendent. He told me shortly after my election that he would be retiring he was in his 80’s. He stayed on for a little while and served as my mentor and coach. There is no book to read on how to be a District Superintendent, and there are no college courses to take on how to be a District Superintendent. It is mostly learned by doing. I spent several hours with Dr. Jewell. We traveled together to a few board meetings. Before we left the office, he would go over what was to happen and how I should handle things. Coming home, we debriefed about the meeting during the car ride. This was the most invaluable training I received. Again, he was always kind and reassuring and never critical and above all helpful. The time we would spend together came to an end much too quickly. I would see him at District events and always enjoyed our interchanges.
Dr. Kenneth Jewell was a pastors pastor. He loved God and walked closely with him for over 82 years coming to faith as a nine-year-old boy. Dr. Jewell was committed to Christ. As a young man he consecrated his life, and God sanctified him. Dr. Jewell was a fully devoted follower of Christ. He was kind. HIs kind spirit drew people to him. It was no put-on he genuinely had tender compassion for people. He was a person of excellence. While working alongside him in the district office, I saw the quality of his work. He had forms for everything and kept meticulous records. Dr. Jewell was very organized! He was not only devoted to God he was dedicated to his wife of over 70 years Marjorie. Brother Jewell loved his four boys and their families. He loved God and the church.
The best tribute regarding Dr. Jewell’s life and ministry is to emulate his godly example. His entire life was centered around serving God, his family and the Kingdom of God. He had his priorities in the right order. He understood that not only must one love God and His Word, one must love people as well. He cared for and about people. He did his work with excellence but he also enjoyed leisure time, I understand he was an excellent golfer. Loving God does not keep us from loving life.
In closing, I propose that if you are looking for an example of a godly man, and a well-rounded, effective pastor, look no further than Dr, Kenneth T. Jewell.
Thank you for a life lived to the fullest and for showing us what it means to be sold-out to God.
Until we meet again, Thanks for leaving us such an excellent example.