This was Jim's approach every time an opportunity arose to serve another church, keenly aware that moving sometimes took Debbie "out of her comfort zone," although she learned to embrace whatever God wanted in their lives, she said.
"As long as we both heard from the Lord and were in agreement," Debbie said. "He'd say, 'If God is telling you not to make this particular move, we won't.' We had to be in agreement. As long as the Lord was leading us and [we] felt at peace – that was one of our big things."
The other "big thing" for Jim was to be present to each person he encountered, whether that was a family member or a church member. No one ever felt shortchanged in Jim's presence.
"He knew everyone by name. He knew everybody's name," said Katie Maciel of Shorewood, Jim's daughter. "He loved them genuinely, like they were his family."
"He cared for them. He spent time with them. He looked them in the eye when he talked with them and made time for everyone," Debbie said. "Even when he had cancer and wasn't supposed to go into the hospital, he'd go sometimes anyway if it was an emergency. And he was humble. You could not find a person with more integrity."
Jim did nothing for his glory, Katie said, but for God's glory, which is why he brought Rusty Railey to the church to take his place. In 2012, Jim was diagnosed with multiple myeloma; he had a stem cell transplant in 2014. This put Jim in remission for only one year.
"The doctors said he had a very aggressive form of myeloma," Debbie said.
Still, Jim wasn't planning to retire. But with Rusty as lead pastor, Jim could focus on administrative duties. Jim amazed people with his energy, even during his chemotherapy treatments, Debbie said.