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The church that God built

Seth Dukes:

Newsroom Coordinator


 Pastor Tom Jeffery, who started off in the mobile home business, had no idea he would be become a preacher. After he and his family were saved, they started having church and bible study at his father’s office. Pastor Earl Dusky was traveling up to Valley Station every Saturday night to lead their bible study. Unfortunately, Dusky was unable to continue, and so the group thought they would no longer have Bible study. Jeffery says God spoke to him and told him to keep the Bible study going.

 So, Jeffery decided to play cassette tapes, and after they were done, they’d have a discussion about it because he didn’t think he could teach. Jeffery was running late, pulled in, and realized he had forgotten his cassette player. He decided he would just read Romans Chapters 5 and 6 since that is what the tape was going to be, and while reading, he says God spoke to him.

 “He spoke through me and explained what it meant,” Jeff said. “It scared me, to be honest with you. When I got done, I knew God called me to preach. I just dropped to my knees and started crying.”

 Jeffery was 24 years old.

 He dedicated his life to his faith, studying the word six to eight hours per night and attending a church service, regardless of denomination, every night. Approximately eight months later, they started building the River of Life Church, located in the woods off Dixie Highway in West Point in 1981. As the years went on and they expanded on the church, Jeffery says they always dreamt of building a church right on Dixie Highway.

 In 1997, without asking for any kind of special offering or taking up money for building, that dream began to become a reality. The year prior, they decided to double the amount of money they donated to missionaries around the world. At the end of the year, they had $5,000 more in their account than they normally would have. A regular customer at Jeffery’s car wash handed him a check for $10,000 — no questions asked — after hearing he wanted to build a church. And, after answering a knock at his door, he was presented with another check for $1,000. That gave them $16,000 to put down on the property. They bought 28 acres of land on Dixie Highway for $62,000.

“I believe in people’s souls getting saved more than I do getting people’s money,” said Jeffery. “But, without asking for a dollar or taking up an offering, money just kept coming in.”

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