J. Eric Mathison
WAYCROSS — In being named the new president and CEO of Baptist Village Retirement Communities, J. Eric Mathison is quick to give credit to his predecessor, Delos Sharpton, and the organization’s dedication to longevity.
“I count it a great honor and tremendous responsibility to have been named only the 4th president/CEO in the 61-year history of Baptist Village,” he said. “Mr. Sharpton has done a remarkable job leading Baptist Village. Words cannot capture the significance of what his leadership has meant to Baptist Village and to me personally.”
Sharpton, whose retirement took effect Jan. 3, led Baptist Village for 20 years. Over the last 15 years he led a concentrated effort to not only eliminate the organization’s debt but establish a strategy that for future leadership.
Prior to his years of leadership at Baptist Village, Sharpton served as pastor of churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. His last two pastorates were Central Baptist Church in Waycross (1983-91) and First Baptist Church, Valdosta (1991-99).
Mathison, a Cartersville native, has been a part of Baptist Village’s corporate staff for more than four years, first as vice president of administration and advancement before receiving a promotion to executive vice president in 2018. In that role he served as Baptist Village’s primary representative at senior healthcare events and Baptist- and faith-based programs focused on senior living. Other responsibilities included various administrative projects and writing grant requests that resulted in a number of awards for the Village’s personal care and skilled nursing facilities.
Previous ministry experience
Licensed to the ministry in 1974 and ordained in 1978 at the age of 19 by his home church, Peeples Valley Baptist, Mathison is a graduate of Shorter College (now University) and New Orleans Seminary, where he earned both his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees. He previously served as pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Cartersville (1979-85), Norton Park Baptist in Smyrna (1985-95, First Baptist Avondale Estates (1995-2003), and First Baptist Waycross (2003-2015).
From 1995-96 Mathison was an adjunct professor at the North Georgia Campus of New Orleans Seminary. Additionally, he has been active in the Georgia Baptist Convention and served on various committees including the GBC Executive Committee and Church Revitalization Team. He has also held numerous positions of responsibility in the Bartow, Noonday, Atlanta, and Piedmont-Okefenokee Baptist associations, and has been involved in various service organizations in each community he has served.
With locations in Waycross and Macon, Baptist Village provides independent living villas and personal care homes. The Waycross location also includes the 254-bed J. Olan Jones Health Care Center for skilled nursing care. Baptist Village employs more than 400 people to help care for the approximately 400 residents.
“I have big shoes to fill,” said Mathison, “but am confident with our strong leadership team, a great group of employees, and God’s help. There are great years ahead for Baptist Village.”
Scott Barkley is editor of The Christian Index.