Jerry Schaeffer, Pastor of Communications, Membership & Senior Adults
Jerry is in his 20th year on the Riverbend staff but his 28th with Dr. R.A. Hargrave as his senior pastor. Arriving at Riverbend, Jerry was charged with developing an evangelism ministry and a prayer ministry at the church and with upgrading the church publications.
He took the church through five years of Evangelism Explosion and a semester of FAITH, a Southern Baptist program, before designing and implementing the evangelism strategy--The GOSPEL TRUTH, a doctrine-centered emphasis on the sovereignty of God in salvation. This course is taught in Riverbend Bible Institute, the church's theological training ministry.
Ordained and licensed into the ministry in 1998, Jerry formerly served Riverbend as Pastor of Education, taught CLASS 301: Discovering My Ministry for ten years and conducted SHAPE interviews with more than 650 Riverbenders. He has been involved in Riverbend missions, working in the countries of Belarus and Honduras.
Jerry oversees the majority of the church's publications and assists with GraceWorx and the Riverbend website.
Prior to Riverbend, Jerry served 20 years (1974-1994) as Assistant Director of Athletics for Information and Promotions at Arkansas State University and, during that institution's 2010 centennial, was named as one of its "Top 100" staff members during its first 100 years. He has also worked as a sports editor-sports writer at five different newspapers and spent ten years as a radio announcer for ASU football and basketball games and once had his own daily radio show. Previously he served as an editor at the Baptist Brotherhood Commission in Memphis, Tenn. In 1981 he authored the booklet Churches Don't Grow on Trees for the Southern Baptist Convention.
A native of North Little Rock, Ark., Jerry earned bachelor's (journalism) and master's degrees (mass communications) at Arkansas State. He has done work toward a Doctorate in Biblical Studies from Master's Graduate School of Divinity. He also spent two years as an intelligence officer in the Army, serving a year in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star.
Jerry is married to the former Pat Barber of Jonesboro, Ark. They have two daughters: Amy Nielsen (married to Riverbender Bret Nielsen) and Laura Johnsen (married to Riverbend Academy teacher Aaron Johnsen) and seven grandchildren.