Bio for Jim Wood
Jim Wood is the Founder of Wears Valley Ranch. Growing up in Montreat, North Carolina, Jim began preaching at age fifteen. After graduating from Gordon College in Massachusetts, Jim married Susan McDonald of Shreveport, Louisiana. They began married life at French Camp Academy in Mississippi, where they were house parents and teachers for two years. From French Camp, Jim returned to New England and attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where he earned an M.A. in Church History.
After pastoring in New England for five years, Jim was called as senior pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Sandy Springs, Georgia. He served there for six years. During that time he was instrumental in developing a network of relationships among pastors of various denominations who covenanted to pray for one another, encourage one another, and hold one another accountable. He was also a leader in efforts to defend the sanctity of human life and helped reverse the policy of his own denomination’s ethics agency regarding abortion.
In 1991, Jim, Susan and their three sons left Mount Vernon to fulfill a vision for which they had prayed for over twenty years. In the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, they established Wears Valley Ranch to provide Christian homes, education, and counseling for children from difficult family situations. The Ranch offers two homes for boys, two homes for girls, a counseling center and a fully accredited K-12 school. The innovative tutorial model of education which they pioneered has become a model for other ministries across the US and around the world. There is also a summer camp and conference facilities serving hundreds of visitors and volunteers each year. From its founding the Ranch has operated debt free and without government funds, relying on God’s miraculous provision and demonstrating the power of God through answered prayer.
Having served as Executive Director of Wears Valley Ranch for nearly 30 years, Jim retired from this capacity in December 2020. He remains as the Ranch’s Founder, continuing his ministry of teaching and preaching at the Ranch, on radio and elsewhere, and ministering to the Ranch’s donors and friends.
Jim’s radio program, “Abiding in Christ” airs weekdays on SiriusXM 131 satellite radio and is available on podcast. He and his wife, Susan, have authored 14 books and often lead seminars on marriage and parenting. Jim also serves as Senior Pastor of Covenant Community Church of Wears Valley in Sevier County, Tennessee.