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Precept Ministries International co-founder and Missionary Jack Arthur dies at age 90

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Co-founder and long-time servant of Precept Ministries International, Jack Arthur, died the morning of January 9, 2017. He was 90.

Jack, who battled cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease, died peacefully in his home early in the morning with his loving wife of half a century, Kay, by his side. The couple had celebrated their 51st anniversary on December 16, 2016.

Jack was raised on an Indiana farm by his grandparents and was a graduate of Tennessee Temple University. The night he graduated, he drove back to Indiana, sold his car and bought a one-way ticket to Africa, beginning his 10-year missionary service with The Pocket Testament League. Through many harrowing tours overseas, Jack saw God move mightily on his behalf. When he returned to the States, he often spoke at Tennessee Temple’s chapel meetings. It was there that he met a young widow with two sons who wanted to be a missionary. That young woman believed the Lord wanted her to marry “the man on a missionary prayer card named ‘Jack Arthur’” and the two were married in 1965.

Jack and Kay spent three years as independent missionaries to Mexico. While there, they had a son whom they named David in hopes of raising “a man after God’s own heart.” The family was forced back to the States due to health issues. Brokenhearted to leave the field, they went right to work in Chattanooga—Jack became the station manager for a local Christian radio station; Kay started a Bible study for teens in her home. They couple never dreamt of all the Lord would do in and through their lives.

While Jack’s absence will be grievously felt by all he touched, his footprint on the campus, the ministry, the Kingdom of God – and the lives of those who knew him well – will remain forever. Jack and Kay founded Precept Ministries in 1970, and the work of establishing people in God’s Word all over the world became their life-long mission. Precept Ministries International is now in 180 countries and 70 languages.

First and foremost, Jack is remembered as a man of great faith. As co-founder of Precept, he led the ministry by faith, trusting God at all times to provide for all the ministry’s needs.  Around campus, he was known for his stories. He especially loved to tell stories of God’s provision – from burying a dead horse to plumbing a training center in Romania, among other favorites.

Jack will be remembered fondly as a man of integrity with a voice of wisdom and discernment. He never compromised his values, nor did he allow others who represented the ministry to do so. He was an excellent judge of character and held the ministry to high standards, taking measures to ensure everything being done within the organization was upright and honorable. “He made sure bills were paid, never cut corners, and avoided debt like the plague,” said Precept CEO David Arthur of his father.

More than a co-founder, Jack’s humility and heart of service were among his greatest contributions to Precept. He was a builder who personally worked on many of the ministry’s buildings at the Chattanooga campus on Noah Reid Road, as well as Precept’s training centers in Romania and Africa. He could also be found mowing the grass, running book tables at conferences and tirelessly working to support the ministry in any role he could, large or small.

He was never seen losing his temper or speaking a cross word to an employee or vendor. He was a servant leader who considered others above himself. He loved others well.

Jack is survived by his wife, Kay; son David Arthur (Margaret), Mark Goetz and Tom Goetz; nine grandchildren—Jesse Arthur, Abigail Edens (Robert), Ann Arthur; John Goetz (Whitney), Ryan Goetz and Alexandra Goetz; Meg Day (John), Joseph Goetz and Daniel Goetz; and four great grandchildren with one on the way.

Visitation will be Saturday January 21, 2017 from 12:00-3:00PM ET with the memorial service following at First Presbyterian Church on 554 McCallie Avenue in Chattanooga. A private funeral will be held for the family and close friends. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages gifts to Precept Ministries International as it remained closest to Jack’s heart.

You are invited to post a reflection, memory or message to the Arthur family and Precept Ministries International or here.

It has always been Jack and Kay’s vision that the work of Precept Ministries would outlive its founders, but Jack’s absence will be felt deep in the heart of the organization. And the legacy he leaves behind – the impact of his service and the influence of his leadership – will serve as a guide and an example for generations to come.

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