Resilient Jack Lee returns to pulpit to proclaim the gospel while fighting Stage 4 cancer


JESUP, Ga. — A resilient Jack Lee is back in the pulpit, serving as interim pastor at First Baptist Church in Jesup.

“It has been invigorating for me,” said Lee, who has been fighting Stage 4 cancer for the past two years. “I’m not just surviving; I’m thriving.”

Lee, 65, had retired as pastor at Altamaha Baptist Church at Madray Springs in 2021.

“At the time, I was to the point I couldn’t preach,” he said. “Mouth sores that the chemo was causing was really giving me trouble.”

Doctors had given Lee a year, possibly two, to live  when he retired. Yet, he’s still stepping into the pulpit on Sundays with the vigor of a young preacher.

“I know it’s all God,” said his wife, Lynn. “He has been so good to Jack. He really didn’t think he’d ever get back to preaching on a regular basis.”

Lynn said her husband was as excited “as a little kid in a candy store” to serve First Baptist as interim pastor.

Lee is as energetic as ever in the pulpit, proclaiming God’s Word with boldness, power and conviction..

“I definitely haven’t lost my passion for preaching,” he said at an interview in his home in Jesup on Wednesday.

In 2020, doctors found cancer in Lee’s liver, colon and lungs. They attacked it with chemo and cyberknife radiation therapy. The next year, doctors found more cancer in his lungs. They gave him a chemo pump that was intended to hold the cancer at bay.

A blood test at the time had shown cancer levels exponentially higher than they should have been, prompting one doctor to predict he’d be gone by that Christmas.

“That just goes to show you how good God has been,” his wife said.

Lee took on the role of interim pastor in March.

“It has been good for me,” he said. “My chemo is manageable right now. I have some issues with side effects, but that’s just part of it. The Lord has really blessed.”

Lee said he is committed to serving First Baptist as interim as long as needed.

“I didn’t retire from preaching,” he said. “I want to preach as long as the Lord gives me the strength to.”

Lee said his cancer has taught him to trust fully in the Lord and has given him a greater appreciation for life.

“I just wake up every morning saying, ‘I’m glad I’m alive and I’m going to make the best of every day I’ve got,’” he said.