Where is Joe from? He was born and raised in rural Alabama (near Nauvoo), but lived in the coal fields of West Virginia (near Beckley) from ages 7 to 11. He lived in Birmingham, Alabama from ages 19 to 24, New Orleans from ages 24-27, Mississippi from 27 to 46, North Carolina from 46 to 50, and New Orleans ever since! So, when he runs into someone from one of these places, he acts like a native!
What do we need to know about Joe? Born to Carl and Lois McKeever in 1940, the fourth of their six children; born again in 1951 at New Oak Grove Free Will Baptist Church; called into the ministry in 1961 at West End Baptist Church in Birmingham; earned bachelor’s degree at Birmingham-Southern College (1962), then master of theology and doctor of ministry degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (1967 and 1973). Married to Margaret Henderson, father of Neil, Marty, and Carla, father-in-law to Julie and Misha, and grandfather to Leah, Jessica, Grant, Abigail, Erin, Darilyn, JoAnne, and Jack.
Where did Joe pastor? Before seminary, Unity Baptist Church, Kimberly, Alabama. During seminary, Paradis Baptist Church, west of New Orleans. Thereafter: Emmanuel BC, Greenville, MS for 3 years; FBC of Jackson, MS as minister of evangelism 3 years; FBC of Columbus, MS for 12 years; FBC Charlotte, NC for 3 years; and FBC of Kenner, LA for 14 years, ending in the Spring of 2004.
What’s Joe doing now? After five years as Director of Missions for the Southern Baptist churches of metro New Orleans, Joe retired on June 1, 2009. These days, he tries to accept every speaking/preaching invitation that comes his way. He loves to do revivals, prayer conferences, deacon training, leadership banquets, and such. Usually, he’s working on some cartooning project for the denomination or some agency. (If you’re on Facebook, visit him there!)
“I was pushing 6 year old Abby on the swing in her front yard. We were making up dumb songs and having a big time. She said, ‘We’re being silly, aren’t we, Grandpa.’ I said, ‘Yes we are. Why do we like to be so silly?’ She said, ‘It’s a family tradition.'”
“When I was five years old, Mom gave me and my little sister Carolyn pencil and paper and put us at the kitchen table and told us to draw. I discovered I loved to draw. The next year in the first grade, the rest of the class would gather around and watch me draw. To this day, I can outdraw any group of first-graders you’ve ever met!”
“When I do a revival in a church, I bring a sketchpad and draw people before and after the services. The pastor puts a volunteer with me to run to the church office and make copies. They post the copies on the wall somewhere and give the original back to the victim. By the end of the week, we might have a couple hundred drawings filling the walls. One night, the pastor stood off to one side and watched me work. As we broke for the evening service and headed down to his office for prayer, he leaned over and whispered, ‘McKeever, have you ever noticed that when a pastor can’t preach, he always has a gimmick?’ I said, ‘Friend, I’ve heard you preach and I’ll be glad to give you drawing lessons.'”
“My life-verse is Job 4:4, ‘You have strengthened tottering knees; your words have stood men on their feet.’ For a preacher or a writer—and I try to be both–the power to use words and make a lasting difference in someone’s life is the best gift in the world. Occasionally, someone who reads this blog will send a note, ‘That was precisely what I needed to hear today.’ And that makes my day!”