Bartholomew worked as a stockbroker and financial planner before becoming interested in meditation and holistic theology in the 1970s. He established the Institute for Positive Living in Atlanta, Georgia where he taught yoga and meditation and operated a bookstore and health food cafe. In 1978 he entered seminary at the Unity School of Christianity and accepted the pulpit in Birmingham in 1980.
As minister, Bartholomew helped launch the "Twilight Brigade" to train hospice workers. He also contributed a spirituality column to the Southsider alternative newspaper and wrote a book, Peace Soup, which was published in 2000.
Bartholomew died from colon cancer in 2011. He was cremated and his ashes scattered at the Unity Village in Lee's Summit, Missouri.
- Garrison, Greg (June 25, 2011) "Unity of Birmingham minister Jerry Bartholow's last lesson was on dying with grace and dignity." The Birmingham News