As Jack Frederick turns 70 years young on January 17th, 2021, we want to reflect upon and celebrate a life like no other. Jack’s deep faith, worldwide impact and unique character have literally impacted people the world over, for eternity. We’ve written down this brief summary of his life and faith so that God’s glory could be on full display even for those who don’t get to be around Jack frequently, and so that we could all be inspired and encouraged in our own walk. Anyone who knows Jack can appreciate the magnitude of the statement, “There is only ONE Jack Frederick,” and Facebook is thankful that there aren’t more FB friends pushing the boundaries of storage capacity the way Jack does…

In the last decade or so Jack has become a sort of “Kingdom photographer” and chronicler of all people, places and events where he sets foot. In that same spirit of photo-memories, we want to offer up the following snapshots of a man whose life simply cannot be summed up in one article or album. We will share some highlights from his life and hope to still come in at less than half the length of an average Jack Frederick Facebook post – wish us luck!

Humble Beginnings: The youngest of six boys raised by a single mom

Jack was born in rural Alabama in 1951. His father left when Jack was very young and so he was raised in poverty by a single mom as the youngest of six boys. When one of Jack’s older brothers was in high school chemistry class he would bring home chemicals to make rocket fuel with Jack. This became the inspiration which eventually led Jack to pursue chemical engineering and rocket science. Jack began his college career at “TUNA” – the affectionate name he and his brothers gave to The University of North Alabama – a local college in Northwest Alabama. However, after a short stint at TUNA he decided to transfer to Auburn University because he was so shy that he figured he would be more comfortable at a place like Auburn, where no one would know him.

Auburn University: God got Jack and Jack got his girl while at Auburn, Jack began reading his Bible and soon met some disciples of Jesus on campus in the fall semester. He started having Bible studies with the campus disciples to learn what it meant to be a Christian and to build friendships. Through these Bible studies Jack came to a deep, personal faith in Jesus and was baptized into Christ in the Auburn Church of Christ campus ministry in 1971. God’s Holy Spirit took hold of that shy boy from rural Alabama and began to radically transform the rest of his life. Jack met (Linda) Gail White at Auburn and they built a friendship. Eventually Jack found the courage to ask Gail on a date – the first time he’d ever asked a girl out! He soon asked her to date steady. He bought her a ring three weeks later and asked her to marry him, and she said yes! Jack went on to graduate with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University, and began working in the petroleum industry.

Family Man: Go anywhere, do anything, give up everything – for God and family

Both Jack and his wife Gail had come from broken homes and since they’d not had strong examples to follow from their parents’ marriages, they committed to building their own family on the principles in God’s Word. They worked hard to incorporate the Bible into their home and the effects were powerful. With their consistent training, their oldest daughter Sarah was able to memorize 50 Bible verses from cue cards before she turned three years old!

Jack continued to develop his career and after several years in the petroleum industry he went on to work at NASA in Huntsville, Alabama. They had a second daughter, Anna, and a few years later their son Steven was born. Several years later and with a family of five in tow, Jack and Gail made the bold and faithful decision to move their family up to Boston, Massachusetts to be trained further in discipleship and spiritual leadership in the Boston Church of Christ.

In Boston: Growing in life and faith – origins of the consummate shepherd

Once in Boston Jack landed a job at Raytheon Technologies. He went on to eventually earn a black belt in Six Sigma and developed a friendship with Raytheon’s former CEO. Jack stepped out on faith and asked the CEO to study the Bible with him, and they did! The CEO would go on to thank Jack for speaking the truth in love to him even when it came at the potential risk of his job and career at Raytheon.

Jack’s character, faith and leadership training were easily recognized within the church and Jack was appointed an elder to help shepherd the church in Boston. Jack’s years serving the Boston church as an elder were filled with protecting the flock, holding countless babies at church, delivering chicken soup to those in need and going on weekly prayer walks with Milton Drake and the men in their family group. Jack was known for his love for the saints and especially those who were “the least of these.” Sarah also remembers countless examples of her dad sacrificing and making difficult decisions to put God first in their family.

“Retirement” Years in Georgia: Working 24/7 on passion projects

Jack and Gail began planning for a move back down South in early 2007 with a vision to not only retire closer to their roots and extended family members, but to also be able to live out some dreams which Jack had on his heart to build churches in the Southeast. Their children and their respective families were able to make their moves sooner, while Jack and Gail joined them in Marietta, Georgia in late 2009. Jack and Gail serve in the North River Church of Christ in Marietta where Jack is a deacon and campus shepherd as well as shepherd of the Auburn Tuskegee Christian Church in Alabama. Their daughters and son-in-laws are also members of the North River Church and serve in the youth and family ministry. Jack’s oldest grandson, Kyler, shared at his own baptism two years ago that his dream is to be like his Papa one day. Papa regularly takes his five grandchildren out for “d-times” and challenges them to memorize scripture and seek God.

One of Jack’s passions both before and in retirement has been to inspire students in rural and/or underprivileged schools about science, math and technology. Jack has worked closely with Tuskegee University in Alabama as well as other Historical Black Colleges (HBCU’s) with a focus to impact students in the area identified by Booker T Washington as the Black Belt of the South. He has served on advisory boards to Alabama State University and the Florida Center for Research on STEM Education.

Jack was appointed Legacy Ambassador to the Tuskegee Multicultural Human and Civil Rights Museum founded by Mr. Fred Gray. Mr. Gray was the attorney who defended Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr in the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott trials. Fred and Jack have become close friends over the years and share a vision to impact students and educators to improve education and diversity across the South and the nation.

In 2013, Jack retired from his work career, engaging fully in various passion projects and spiritually shepherding many people around the world. Jack has spent countless hours on many college campuses including Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University. Before Covid hit, you could find him on campus potentially any day of the week mentoring and studying the Bible with campus students and sharing his life, as well as his love of engineering and frisbee. When not spending time on campus Jack might be found delivering chicken soup to people or dropping in to say hi and pray with folks.

He often drives from Atlanta to Auburn and Tuskegee, Alabama (1.5-2 hours) to encourage the disciples in the Auburn Tuskegee Church where he is a shepherd and servant leader. And all along the way, Jack may be on the phone with you! He calls people from around the world on a daily basis to pray with them and encourage them, spurring them on towards love and good deeds! Jack has always had a very special gift of encouragement and has definitely not grown weary in his older age. He uses his trusty camera to capture thousands of photos of people with the goal of encouragement – he loves to make others feel special.

Facebook Mentor: Dispensing volumes of personal example and spiritual mentoring

If you happen to be friends with Jack on Facebook you can consider yourself one of the “lucky ones!” Facebook limits the number of ‘friends’ one can have to 5,000 people and Jack has been at that limit for many years now. If you do follow him there you will certainly benefit from the many posts he offers up on an almost daily basis. Jack’s practice has included uploading what likely amounts to hundreds of new photos weekly, chronicling his many adventures and mentoring relationships.

These are often accompanied by rich, detailed accounts of lessons learned – and passed on – on many topics. They all ultimately point us, his readers, back to our discipleship after Jesus and how the scriptures apply perfectly and powerfully to all aspects of our lives.

In summary, Jack Frederick is known and loved by thousands of people around the world. His trademarks include being a Rocket Scientist, minister, mentor, friend and “dad” to many. Al Baird

shared about Jack recently, “When I think of you, I think of Barnabas. You are the ultimate encourager.” We are all blessed in many ways to know Jack Frederick. Please join us in celebrating this milestone birthday of his, and a life which powerfully points us back to God and his grace.