Vocational Spotlight: Jimmy Asbell
Jimmy R. Asbell, Jr. is a member of the Rotary Club of Macon and an ordained member of the South Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. In 2013 Jimmy was appointed to serve as the senior pastor of Vineville United Methodist Church in Macon. Vineville is one of over seven hundred churches in the Annual Conference and one of ninety-seven churches in the North Central District.
Vineville is a vibrant and growing congregation that was founded in 1846. It has a long history of faithful service. Currently, the congregation of 1,500 offers three services on Sunday morning. Traditional services are held in the sanctuary at 8:45 and 11:00, with a modern service at 9:00 in the Christian Life Center. Mid-week activities include worship, fellowship and study opportunities for all ages. The church has a strong commitment and talented staff persons to work with children and youth. Vineville has a growing music ministry that supports a community concert series, Music & the Arts at Vineville, in addition to the expected choirs and ensembles.
The church has a heart for missions. Having made recent trips to Brazil and Guatemala, the church will have a large medical and dental team traveling to Nicaragua in August. Beyond teams and financial support for foreign mission, the church is very engaged in the Pleasant Hill Community. Vineville has a thirty-five-year partnership with L. H. Williams Elementary School. The church provides weekly tutors in math and reading. When budget cuts eliminated art from the curriculum, Vineville stepped in to provide the teacher, support workers and art supplies to keep art in the school. Vineville also packs 100 backpacks each week to send home with children that would otherwise experience insufficient food and nutrition between the school lunch on Friday and the school breakfast on Monday. The church also hosts the honors day for fifth graders. This banquet is one of the highlights of the year for students, staff and their families. At this event, a former L. H. Williams Student, who is preparing for college, is presented a scholarship from the church.
Another community program is a housing partnership with Strong Tower Fellowship. Vineville has renovated eight blighted properties in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood. What were once dilapidated eyesores that invited litter and crime have become homes again! Vineville has partnered with Strong Tower, Campus Clubs, the Learn and Earn Bike Shop, Habitat and others preferring to do collaborative ministry in our neighborhood. Through our partnership with the Field of Hope and Macon-Bibb, we are birthing a playground, golf and rugby mentoring and recreational green space in Pleasant Hill.
For 171 years Vineville has sought to love God and love neighbor at the intersection of Vineville and Forest Avenues. Jimmy’s appointment to Vineville actually returned him to Macon and to Vineville. He grew up at Vineville. His parents were married in the sanctuary and his maternal grandparents were part of the church. Jimmy graduated from Stratford Academy in 1984. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wofford College. His seminary degree is from Candler School of Theology of Emory University. He earned a doctorate at Columbia Theological Seminary. Jimmy and his wife Vanda have two sons, Jimmy and Joshua. Jimmy is a freshman at UGA and Joshua is a sophomore at Howard High School.