Familiarity. That would be the first word that comes to mind when I think about why my wife and I stayed in Jackson following our marriage. For one, I was still enrolled at the University of Memphis and taking night classes at the old Lambuth campus. I was also in my third year of working at Green Frog Coffee Company, and my wife had gotten a job at Union after graduating from there. We planned on moving into the very familiar and affordable apartment complex Magnolia Courts, where my wife and her roommates had been living. I was born and raised in Jackson, so most of the people I knew lived here. Additionally, we were still involved with Young Life, the ministry through which we met. Young Life was also where we met most of the people we now considered close. We were about to attempt to start Young Life back up at North Side with some close friends, and there didn’t seem to be any reason to consider leaving at the time.
Those are reasons we initially stayed. Reasons we continued to stay in Jackson were similar but got deeper. We got married in June 2011, and I graduated that December. I had got accepted into Union’s Masters of Arts in Education program and was therefore able to pursue a teaching job via a transitional license. I received an e-mail that my old school needed a math teacher. I went up there simply to ask how you got a job teaching. My old Bible teacher was the head principal, and two weeks later I had a job as a math teacher. A month later, my wife and I found out we were pregnant. We both had jobs and a baby on the way, so I decided we should buy a house. In August of that year, we bought the house on Russell Road that we now live in. This honestly may be the biggest reason we are still in Jackson. We have mortgage on a house that we like and are still working on.
Aside from familiarity, what has kept us here is community. This is the deeper reason that comes into play when we consider leaving. The majority of this community stems from our days as Young Life leaders. We are still close with many of the people with which we led (and even those that we led). Young Life is a relational ministry, so deep relationships are naturally built when you are serving and leading alongside one another. These relationships still run deep, especially as many of us have moved onto marriage and parenthood together. We also have community from our church, Calvary Baptist. The friends we have and the relationships we have developed with people in Jackson are the biggest reason we have stuck around. It is easy to stay when you have things and people you care about. I think that the communities within the city are the biggest appeal of Jackson. There are people here that really care. If you would like to find people that care about things, I would suggest contacting someone involved with Young Life or some other organization and find out how to invest your life. Investment is what keeps you around, and that is why my family and I stayed in Jackson.
Brad Ferrell was born and raised in Jackson and now teaches math and coaches baseball at Jackson Central-Merry High School. He and his wife Kristen have two children: Noah Edward and Virginia Graham.
Header image taken by Katie Howerton.
tags Jackson TN, Tennessee, Brad Ferrell, Katie Howerton, Stay731, #stay731, University of Memphis, University of Memphis Lambuth, Lambuth, place, Green Frog, Union University, Magnolia Courts, Young Life, Northside High School, North Side High School, teaching, teacher, community, Calvary Baptist Church, ministry, church