Pastor Gerald Cox: Man of faith with a love for people

Gerald Cox was born in Florence, Colo., the second child in a family of five boys and two girls. His father worked in the Leadville coal mines, but later went into the logging business with his brothers. They owned Cox Brothers Logging, Inc. near Craig, Colo. The family lived in Fowler, Colo., where Gerald experienced most of his growing up years.

Later they moved to Pueblo, where Gerald graduated from high school and continued his education at Pueblo Community College studying mechanics.

In 1978 his father died in a logging truck accident. It was typical for Gerald to go with him on these trips, but that day his father told him that “he couldn’t come this time,” Gerald said. Out of this tragedy, Gerald took his father’s place in the business with his uncles, where he continued to work for 34 years.

Pastor Gerald Cox

On Oct. 6, 1985, he married Janis Embry, a friend from church he had dated for six years. They are now anxiously waiting to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary this year. When they got married, they looked forward to raising a family, but that didn’t seem to be in God’s plan for them, they thought. Then 13 years later they were blessed with a daughter, Hannah.

“Hannah,” Janis said with a long silence before she continued. “We had waited 13 years for her. I had been at ladies retreat while my husband was working in Arkansas when I found out I was pregnant. The doctors told me I was too old and that there was something wrong with the baby. They wanted me to abort her. I just said that Sara, in the Bible, was 90 years old when she had her first child. This is God’s design.  

“We had waited so long for a child, and when Hannah was born she was thin and ill. It was discovered that she needed surgery to survive. There was something wrong with her esophogus. She wasn’t able to keep any of her feedings down. She was actually malnutritioned. They operated on her at Denver Children’s Hospital. We were told she would never be able to talk right as a result of the surgery. God had a different plan for Hannah. He touched her. She fully recovered and is not only able to talk, but has a beautiful singing voice. She also accompanies herself on the piano,” Janis said with a mother’s delight.

Church has always been a big part of Gerald’s life. He always had a desire to serve God, but was particularly influenced by one pastor. 

“I was raised in The Church of God. Both my parents went to church,” he said. “Watching our pastor, Rev. Clifford Thompson, live such a godly life caused me to want faith like he had. I saw the special relationship he had with the Lord. Brother Thompson was my mentor.  

“Rev. Thompson asked me about becoming a deacon. He told me, ‘You already take care of the church inside and out and tend to the widow womens’ needs.’ So I prayed about it. I had a love for people. My heart went out for souls. Seemed like so many pastors didn’t have that kind of love. I wanted to show people that difference.” 

 He had on-the-job training and attended the church college, Bible Training Institute, in Cleveland, Tenn. In August of 1996 Gerald was ordained as a deacon in Chattanooga, Tenn., and in 2003 he was ordained as a preaching deacon.

Rev. Cox said that The Church of God appoints their pastors, explaining, “We all pray. If the overseer feels led to send us to a certain place, we go.” 

So Rev. Cox began his pastoral ministry in Fort Collins, Colo., in 2005. He later pastored in Craig, which was home for he and his wife, after all the years he had worked in the logging business there. Craig was a community with many Spanish speaking people and the congregation was mixed, he said. So he learned to preach with an interpreter. 

Then came the appointment to establish The Church of God in Lovell in October of 2017. 

“Moving to Lovell was the biggest thing, moving away from family. We had been to Cody to a district convention. The Lord put this place upon my heart. It was time for us to go. I asked the Lord, ‘How can I reach the people?’ He told me to just love them. That’s the key to everything — Christ’s love,” he said, adding, “I’m here for them, even in the middle of the night. That’s why the Lord sent me here — for the people.”

Besides pastoring, Rev. Cox works for GK Construction driving a haul truck. He’s had lots of experience driving heavy trucks, having worked for so many years hauling logs.

Rev. Cox has experienced many miracles, he said. He readily shared some of them.

“I was working in Slote, Calif., tearing a planer mill out to bring it back to Colorado. I slipped and broke my ankle. It was Labor Day weekend and we had to get out of the motel. So six of us slept in the sleeper truck. That was crowded. One week later, I was running a Cat skidder. I was praying to the Lord. I felt the spirit of the Lord come down upon me. I felt overjoyed. I got down to unhook the chokers on the logs and realized the Lord healed my ankle. Thank the Lord for His healing touch.

“Another time, I was driving a lowboy truck going to get equipment. I topped a hill coming into an intersection. A car was creeping out into the road. The driver was watching a vehicle coming from the other direction, not looking in my direction. She pulled into my lane. I had no time to stop. I swerved into the other lane as an oncoming van took to the borrow ditch. The Lord took the back of my trailer and just slid it over straight. You could see the skid marks where the trailer just moved over sideways behind my truck, missing the woman in the car. The driver of the van that was in the ditch said he’d never seen such good driving. I told him, ‘No, it wasn’t me. It was God. There was no way possible that I could have moved my trailer like that.’

“At a later time, I was coming back from the saw mill empty. An elderly couple was at a stop sign. They pulled out in front of me. I remember the expression on the old man’s face. I prayed, ‘Oh, Lord help me.’ I blinked my eyes and the car was sitting at the stop sign as I went by.

“God has performed miracle after miracle in my life. Dad’s brother was running a chainsaw. It slipped, and I saw it coming at him. I grabbed the chain on the chainsaw, and it instantly stopped. I had grabbed that running chainsaw blade and didn’t have a mark. God intervened.

“Just prior to a revival, I was praying at a church in Pueblo, asking the Lord to put angels at the doorstep to keep the devil out. A man came in looking like a panther. He walked to the pulpit. The evangelist started praying for him. He turned and ran out. When I stepped out to lock the door I looked to the left. An angel was standing there. Another angel, standing on the right, was tall enough that his hand was eye level to me. Thank the Lord for honoring my prayer. Great revival broke out in that community.

“I thank the Lord for allowing me to go through all my tests and trials. They have made me stronger for the Lord. In the last days Revelation talks about plagues, seasons changing and violence. There have been so many mass shootings. Satan has a short time to work and he knows it. 

“Our President said that we need to bond together, need to pray together. I believe this virus is the Lord trying to get people’s attention. When people worshiped idols in the Old Testament, they were put in captivity.

“We have assurance, however. Prayer changes things. We must be willing to sacrifice time to fasting and prayer.”

Four days after his father died, Rev. Cox and Janis took in his youngest brother to raise. They had him throughout his high school years. In November last year the Coxes went to Pueblo to visit his brother. They had an accident that totaled their car. Rev. Cox had to have an MRI of his back. The insurance wouldn’t pay, he said. On that Friday night, he went through his bills three times. The money was not there to pay for it. 

“You know our need for money to pay this bill,” he prayed. “Your will be done.”

The next morning he went through his checkbook again. There was the $900 he needed, he said.

Rev. Cox said he feels people are under a spirit of complacency now. 

“Are we going to be ready when Jesus returns? God is the furthest thing from so many people’s minds. Divorce is splitting families. It just breaks my heart. I pray for God to give me the wisdom I need to be there for the people,” he shared.

Rev. Gerald Cox is currently pastor of The Church of God in Lovell and district overseer of eastern Montana, western North and South Dakota, western Nebraska and Wyoming. 

BY TERESSA ENNIS