I see a man who is always sacrificing his labor and time trying to help others. He’s a pastor of a small church in town, and he’s always involved with our annual prayer at the courthouse every year. When his prison ministry was shut down in Evans County about two years ago, I invited him to come and help me here in Bulloch County prison. He has never missed a Tuesday night since he started and as I observed him, I was very impressed with his love and compassion with the inmates. It didn’t take me long to realize he had the same heart as I have for trying to point these men to a better life with Christ Jesus. He’s also a marriage counselor, handyman, husband, grandpa and a friend, and at 74 years old his wife tells me, “He never slows down!” At 61 myself, I look up to Ed as a very wise man!
-- Chris Wiggins, nominator
“I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of people wonderfully touched and changed by God’s wisdom,” says Ed Neubert, pastor of Cornerstone Church and owner of Statesboro Christian Counseling. But his own wisdom? He’s humbled to even be considered.
Originally from New Jersey, Neubert’s undergraduate work is in psychology, and he says this is where his desire to connect with people began. He went on to earn a master’s degree, and then taught handicapped children for many years, and eventually became the principal of a school in New York for handicapped children. All totaled, he spent 18 years in education.
Then his world was turned upside down — for the better.
“I had a call from the Lord to go into ministry, so I left everything behind and went to Ohio and pioneered a church there. This was a tremendous turning point in my life,” he said.
So together with his wife, Kathy, and their children, Neubert went to Ohio with no support and no receiving church, and he established a church that started meeting in a hotel, then a former hardware store and eventually, they were able to fund a building. He said after 18 years, the congregation grew into a large church. The family then moved to Pennsylvania to start another church, and it was there that he made the first connection that would lead him to Statesboro.
Neubert had always worked in prison ministry, in addition to building the churches he’d started. He started in prison ministry in Ohio, where he met the chaplain of the West Virginia State Penitentiary, and he asked Neubert to help him with the ministry, and the two men began a Bible institute there.
“I just love being with people who are struggling in life, the downtrodden,” Neubert said. “They have made choices in their lives that have deeply affected their lives, or their lives were deeply affected by circumstances that may not have been their choice.”
Neubert says he is greatly interested in how a person changes after those types of choices.
“And how do I help people to change?” he said.
Since coming to Statesboro, Neubert has pastored a couple of churches, and is now the pastor of Cornerstone Church. In between churches, he received a call of another kind. While praying one day, he says he felt God telling him that he was going to open a counseling practice.
“I got off my knees, I got up immediately, and I got in my car and drove downtown. I was asking the Lord for direction, and I stopped at a house of someone who was a prayer warrior, and I talked to them and I explained that I needed a place to do this, and they directed me to someone who had a piece of property close to them. I went and connected with this fellow, and they opened the door and said, ‘You can start your counseling practice here,’” he said.
And that’s how Statesboro Christian Counseling was born, 15 years ago. Neubert is still there today. As part of the agreement, he’s done some renovations to the facility in exchange for its use.
During the time he’s been in practice as a counselor, Neubert says he has seen families changed and lives changed.
“You move from a generational curse of anger, resentment, bitterness and divorce, to where there is wholeness and the children are blessed, and they will pass that on to their kids,” he said. “It’s supernatural. Either God does it or it’s something that we think up. That was the Lord.”
Neubert says that the greatest joy in his life is to see those families transformed. He tells each person and family that he counsels that the principles he offers work every single time, “as long as you follow them. They come from the Bible, the only real and true source.”
Neubert’s practice is mostly with families, and involves a lot of marriage counseling, but he also works with individuals. He says the problem that everyone has is that we live by one rule: It’s all about self.
“It’s about my problems and my issues. People live out of that paradigm that life is about them and their problems. The mindset is I want or I need,” he said.
He adds that the biggest problem that he sees is that everyone is victimized, but so many choose to live in that victimhood.
“That’s the No. 1 issue,” he said. “The next thing is that people don’t know their value. They feel devalued, they feel unworthy, and they’re trying to achieve that value. Everyone is trying to find value, but they’re trying to do it without God. People are trying to find that value in their appearance or possessions.”
Neubert teaches, in his practice, that belief in Christ is the answer to these issues.
“People don’t know what’s going on, so I kind of turn the lights on and clarify the fog,” he said. “Without being a child of God, there’s little hope for you to make a significant change.”
A few years ago, Neubert was contacted by Chris Wiggins to help with the prison ministry in Bulloch County, after Neubert’s own prison ministry in Evans County ended. He began a partnership with Wiggins at Bulloch Correctional facility, and the men work daily to teach the inmates life-changing principles.
“We do a lot on what it means to be a man,” Neubert said. “Men are the key to the stability of the family and therefore the culture, so it’s important to help them learn what it means to be a man.”
What does it mean to be a great man?
Neubert answers the question like this: “The answer to that is true manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous. Why is that? Because the greatest man who ever lived is Jesus and the more I’m like him, the greater man I am in God’s economy.”
There are about 30 men currently involved in the prison ministry in Bulloch County, and Neubert says the fruits they’ve seen over the years have been remarkable.
“After you teach them things that they can relate to, it’s not just doctrine, it’s practical, and it ministers to where they are at in life. We hear back from the guys after they get out of prison and they are so appreciative of what they’ve been taught,” he said.
As for his own wisdom, Neubert is humbled that anyone would call him wise, and quickly points to what is, he says, the source of all the wisdom of God — the Bible.
“I don’t need men to tell me what to do or say, because everything that is needed is in this book. Who can add to God’s perfect word?” he said.
Neubert says he’s never thought of himself as a wise person. For him, it’s not about doing it for self, it’s all about serving God and others.
“I assume that people think you’re wise because you’ve said something that seems to be correct and right,” he said, smiling. “It’s humbling, and thank you Lord. If you live for the glory of God, it’s not, look how good I am, it’s thank you Lord, to God be the glory, that you have allowed me to live in a way that people have seen you in me. That’s the glory to God part.”