“We welcome people that are broken and hurting,” Jacobs states with conviction. “Our doors are wide open to people from all backgrounds and all walks of life. No matter what their story is, we are loving and training them while teaching them the word of God.”
Reiterated Jacobs, “The most important thing? We are loving them, just loving them. We are telling them about the love of Christ.”
Loving the Lord has surpassed a weekend activity for Jacobs.
“I am passionately in love with God. From the first moment I knew him until now, I live and breathe to know him more,” Jacobs shared. “When you have a heart for the Father you want what the Father wants. The heart of the Father is that I am not willing for any to perish but that all should come to repentance.”
Jacobs is known today as an anointed singer within the Christian community. She has released eight solo albums including her latest project, “I Feel a Change.”
“I want to go to the grave empty,” Jacobs stated. “I want everything God has put in me to be used. How many people have gone to the grave with the greatest book never written? Or the greatest song never sung?”
In addition to singing, Jacobs travels the world to give words of insight and encouragment through preaching. She gives advice through singing, preaching, and writing because she has experienced the change God made in her life.
“My sister got saved first, and I saw the difference it made in her life. First of all, she didn’t beat me up anymore,” Jacobs laughed. “So I kind of wanted what she had.”
Four years later, Jacobs was filled with the Holy Spirit. Soon she and five of her sisters joined the ranks of travelling musicians. As the youngest member, Jacobs was left to watch her sisters wed off one by one.
“I saw the influence that was on their lives — how rich and rewarding it was to be pastors’ wives, but also, how challenging that was,” Jacobs recalled.
As a teenager, Jacobs had no intention of either starting a church or becoming a pastor’s wife. Later in life she would find herself content with ministering through evangelical preaching and worship. And, although she did not see it at the time, meeting Jamie Tuttle would eventually change all of those notions.
“While traveling with the recruiting group, Harvest, from Lee University, I met my future husband, Jamie Tuttle. I married him in 1993 and we began ministering together as a team around the world. There was something in my husband that I saw from the beginning ... it was a pastoral anointing on his life,” Jacobs stated.
With passion and joy Jacobs continued to seek God in means available to her through international television, major events, and books. In the early 2000s, something happened, and pastor's wives began approaching her for mentoring.
“The book of Job says, “Wisdom is not found in a person’s age, but in the spirit of the person,” Jacobs began. “I felt really strange mentoring these older pastor’s wives. I would tell them, ‘You know, I’ve never pastored before, but anything I have, I will be happy to share with you.’”
Whenever these mentoring sessions would occur, Jacobs would remind God of everything else she had going on in her life, which at this point included two daughters, Judith Kaylee and Erica. His response was always, “Just know that there is something more for you.”
The ‘something more,’ came when Tuttle and Jacobs decided to begin the "International Institute of Mentoring.” Through this program, people around the world could seek spiritual mentoring for training, equipping, and evangelizing around the world.
With the building of the institute came new questions from friends, family, and mentees. They wanted to know when Tuttle and Jacobs planned on starting a church.
“Out of the mouth of two or more witnesses let everything be established,” Jacobs said. “We had more than two or three or four or five witnesses and we also had a word from God to begin a church in Cleveland, Tenn.”
Finally, Dwelling Place Church International was established in a city that routinely is joked to have, ‘a church on every corner.’
“We feel like we are not better than any church in the city. We love all of the churches and pastors in this city and region. We feel a calling on our lives to reach the unchurched,” stated Tuttle.
“It is a life-giving, multicultural, and multigenerational chuch,” Jacobs added. “There are a lot of families moving here all the time because they want to be around people of like faith that want to change the world. We are having a blast.”
Jacobs continues to travel as well as co-pastor beside her husband who is the lead pastor.
“She [Judy] still does what she does. She can be here or not. Everyone understands, ‘OK Pastor Jamie is in the house and he is the lead pastor,’” Tuttle explained. “The fun thing is that we get to rotate preaching between the two of us when she is in.”
Tuttle and Jacobs have focused on building a church that will benefit the entire family with spiritual and personal growth.
“You have to think ‘mentoring,’” Tuttle explained. “Our paradigm is a mentoring church. I may not be here, but we have people that can teach or preach in my absence.”
As Jacobs and Tuttle speak it is easy to see working and building up members of the church is their passion. Jacobs throws her whole self into the words, and answers come easily as Tuttle responds to questions.
“This is what I believe with all my heart,” Jacobs began." The coming of the Lord is very near and what we must do for God, we must do it now. The Bible says in John 9:4, "we are to work while it is day. For night cometh when no one can work. Through Dwelling Place Church International and the International Institute of Mentoring, we are raising up workers for the harvest. And in the meantime, seeing the lives of families transformed by Giving, Loving, and Leading.”
Additional information about Dwelling Place Church International can be found at iwilldwell.com. For further information on Judy Jacobs, visit: judyjacobs.com.