Minister Ministry


These Articles were first published in Contact Magazine (Free Will Baptists Publication) and are published here with their permission


Rev. Mike Jones
2434 Allen Road
Effingham, SC 29541
(843) 687-4823
©Contact Magazine - October, 1984

My wife and I were returning from youth camp one Friday when the air conditioner on our car quit. It probably couldn't have happened at a better time, since we were already hot and sweaty from a week at camp and one more day wasn't so bad. I left home at 6:00 a.m. the next Monday so I could be in town at 7:00 a.m. when the shop opened, planning to do my daily Bible reading and some studying while I waited.

Almost as soon as I sat down and began to read, a lady came in, saw me reading the Bible and asked if I was a Christian. That led to an opportunity to share with her a clear presentation of the gospel and answer some questions that were troubling her about the Charismatics.

Someone came for her later and as she left another lady came in and asked the same question. I was able to help her also.

With all the interruptions, I had just finished my Bible reading and started to work on a sermon when the cashier called and said my car was ready. When I went to sign the papers, she said that the secretaries in the office had been listening to me witness to those two ladies.

I hadn't thought of them, but the Lord gave me a large congregation Monday morning. Just goes to show that you should always take your chance to witness because you may be doing more than you think.


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Rev. Mike Jones
2434 Allen Road
Effingham, SC 29541
(843) 687-4823
©Contact Magazine - January, 1987

It all began like any other Monday- Busy!.I had done my Hymn time program, worked on the Newsletter, and then had to take my wife to the Doctor (She had been battling a slight heart problem all spring). We visited one of the Church ladies that was sick on the way home so it was almost 5:30pm when I was able to return to the office. While the Doctor was looking at my wife he had found some moles that needed to be removed so he had scheduled surgery on them the next day. This meant that I would have to spend another afternoon away from the office so I was trying to do as much as I could. My wife had Ladies Auxiliary Meeting and she was working on a new Hostess list at the house.

Around 6pm my wife called and told me someone was coming over to the office (My office was in the fellowship building beside the Church) for some information. (It was standard policy with Paula and I that she send anyone who came to the house over to the office where I could handle them). A young black man came in and asked if I knew a certain person that had promised him a job. I didn't but I spent around 10 minutes looking in the local and Florence phone books trying to locate him. I was unable to locate the name and the young man left. He was very polite and I didn't think anything amiss because we have people coming by the church all the time wanting help or information. We always try to help the best we can.

I returned to work knowing that it would not be long before the Ladies would begin arriving for Ladies Auxiliary meeting and wanting to accomplish as much as possible before they arrived. Unknown to me this man had returned to the parsonage where Paula, assuming I had sent him, opened the door to him. He said he wanted some water so she made him stand at the door while she got it. When she brought it to him he attacked her, molested her, came within a "heartbeat" of killing her, and dragged her from room to room to rob her.

One of the ladies came in about that time to prepare for Ladies Auxiliary and asked me to make the coffee for her. I was filling the coffee pot in the Fellowship building when I looked out and saw this young man run by. I knew something was wrong but before I could leave the phone rang. It was my wife calling for help. I immediately went to her and the lady that was at the fellowship building came with me. This allowed her to minister to Paula while I called the police. Soon we were in an ambulance headed for the hospital. Some of the wonderful members of the Church stayed and took care of things at the Parsonage while several of the Ladies came to the Hospital (where their presence proved of tremendous comfort to me).

The next several days were somewhat of a "blur" as I tried to spend every minute I could with Paula, help police apprehend this man (Mug shots, sketches, reports), and allow the hurt in my heart to heal. There is simply no way to describe the terrible pain this brings to your heart as you try to cope--- and there is no way to describe the Tremendous Peace that came from God's Presence during those days. The prayers and concern of our friends and family meant more to us than we will ever be able to express in this life.

Paula has recovered from physically from the assault, has coped remarkably well mentally, and has shown tremendous spiritual growth. She still does not want to be left alone but we believe that she will cope with that more and more in the coming days (Besides, I have no desire to leave her alone any more than I absolutely have to myself).

Right now we are learning to cope with this life changing situation as well as deal with unfounded and false rumors- you would not believe what some people have told me about what happened that night. It is our hope that after the trial is completed most people will find something else to be curious about.

There are three main things you have to deal with after a terrible tragedy like Paula and I went through- FEAR, FRUSTRATION, and FAITH

FEAR- (1) of another attack (The rapist lived within a half mile of our home). His "Helper" [The home he ran to] lives within 200 yards of our home right now! (2) Fear of disease (How long does it take for AIDS to show up?), (3) Fear of pregnancy (We are that "fraction" of Fundamentalist that believe that Abortion is wrong PERIOD. That preaches much much easier than it lives!!!), and (4) Fear of fear (We can't allow ourselves to become "prisoners" in our own home).

Then there is the FRUSTRATION: (1) Over people's lack of understanding (My wife is one of the most pure and modest Christian ladies I have ever met. She did everything in her power to prevent this; yet some [who know nothing about the facts] seems to know exactly how she could have avoided it). Everyone seems to think that a rapist only attacks a woman who is wearing very immodest clothing. When my wife was assaulted she was wearing the dress she was going to wear to Ladies Auxiliary that night- long sleeves, neck buttoned around her neck, and well below her knees.

(2) Over the law's unwillingness to deal with matters like this. The assailant was out on parole after serving eight months of an 11 year sentence. The police and solicitor tell us that no matter what his actual sentence for this crime, there's the possibility he'll be back on the street in less than 10 years.

(3) Over the fact that we are having to pay hospital, doctor, and medicine bills for something he did while he is coddled in a jail cell being pampered with our tax dollars.

Finally there is FAITH. (1) Faith to believe that ALL things do indeed work together for GOOD to them that love the Lord (Rom 8:28). We expect God to use this to bring Glory to Himself--otherwise it would be almost impossible to stand the heartache.

(2) Faith to allow God to handle the punishment according to Rom 12:19 "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." (Sometimes when I think of what he did I feel like someone kicked me in the stomach. I want to "kill his dog and poison his cats" but then I remember who I belong to and who vengeance belongs to).

(3) And Faith to approach the future with an absolute dependence on God for Strength and Direction.

In times like this, the "rubber meets the road" as far as your Christianity is concerned. If your Faith and Commitment to God can not stand a trial like this then you need to reexamine it. I believe in God's Love for me even more today than I did before this happened. I'm determined more than ever to serve Him. I don't understand all the "whys" but I do trust God and will continue to do so.

People often wonder what they can do for someone facing a disaster like ours. I think 3 things have stood out to Paula and I during this time.

I. SUPPLICATION- The presence and comfort of the Holy Spirit during this time has been simply marvelous. The Lord has anchored us with peace when the waves of depression and despair would seek to overwhelm us. We believe that part of the reason for this was the fact that literally hundreds of people were praying for us. Churches, Prayer groups, and conferences all brought us before the throne of Grace.

When you hear of someone in need you can Pray- and keep on Praying.

II. SUPPORT- We live on a street with 5 widows and a number of retired people. We have said many times since this incident that if it had to happen on our street we would much rather it happen to us than to anyone else because of the support we have received. Our Families have loved and protected us; the Church has been simply marvelous to uplift and encourage us (A remodeling project for the Parsonage that was on a "back-burner" was moved up and new carpet and paint have helped remove some of the physical memories. The Deacons met with me and told me to make taking care of my wife my top priority until she recovered. And the church has been very understanding in the matter of visiting and socializing).

The support from our friends has stood out in my mind also. Many of them would call us and say, "I don't know what to say right now but I do want you to know that we love you and are praying for you". They didn't know it but that was just what we needed to hear.

Is there someone today you should call or write???

III. SILENCE- Paula and I determined from the beginning that we were going to use this disaster to bring glory to God. We have not tried to sweep it under a rug; we have tried to use it to show God's care and strength during difficult times. Yet it is not something we want to occupy all our time or thoughts. Sometimes people need to talk about a disaster and you should be willing to listen and encourage them; but sometimes they simply want to forget it and go on with their lives. Blessed is the man that knows when to talk and when to keep his mouth shut!

Your Tragedy may be different from ours (a Child problem, a Mate problem, sickness, etc.) but I want you to know today that you can lean on God for Strength and Help. Christianity is not just a Church you go to; it's a life you live. It can stand the hard time; and it is the help YOU need in hard times. Lean on the Lord today. Live for Him with all your being and you will find real life--even in the midst of disaster.



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Rev. Mike Jones
2434 Allen Road
Effingham, SC 29541
(843) 687-4823
©Contact Magazine - May, 1991

LAKE CITY, SC--A one-time experiment at a South Carolina church turned into a year-long pattern that doubled attendance, promoted a better spirit among the people and lowered utility bills. Pastor Mike Jones said the decision to move Sunday night services to 9:00 Sunday morning met with an enthusiastic response from members of Grace FWB Church in Lake City.

Pastor Jones said the innovative idea originated when he noticed that less than half the Sunday morning worshippers returned Sunday evenings, and that those who did return were "tired, a little grumpy and difficult to preach to."

The congregation agreed to a one-time experiment, so the next Lord's Day they conducted "Sunday Night" worship services at 9:00 a.m. The idea was so well received that they tried it for a month and have continued for more than a year.

The nine to noon formatschedules two Sunday morning worship sessions around Sunday School. The "Sunday Night" service runs 9:00 a.m. - 9:55 a.m. After a15-minute refreshment break, Sunday School classes meet 10:10 a.m. - 10:55 a.m. The second morning worship runs 11:00 to noon.

Pastor Jones said, "This format allows me to tie my 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. messages together with greater impact. It increased Sunday School attendance 15 percent and made a number of peripheral people faithful attendees and workers."

Members have plenty of time for Christmas and Easter cantata practices now that their Sunday afternoons and evenings are free.

Pastor Jones said, "I asked the church if they wanted to change back to our old format. They unanimously said to keep it as it is. Some said they were willing to start as early as 8:30 a.m., if we could maintain the new format.

"Surprisingly enough, for reasons I don't understand, it has also increased our Wednesday night attendance."


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Rev. Mike Jones
2434 Allen Road
Effingham, SC 29541
(843) 687-4823
©Contact Magazine- August, 1995

The silence sounded like thunder as it lay heavy in the air of a stilled Prayer Meeting service. Finally one lady said, "I think we should pray for them." I acknowledged that, waited a few more minutes of awkward silence, and then went on with the service.

I had just informed the people that I had been asked to write an article about ways the Church family could minister to the Minister's Family and was seeking some input from them to help me see their perspective. What I learned was that the average member of church does not spend a great deal of time and worry thinking about this subject. They look at the Church, and, by extension, the Pastor, as someone to minister to them; not someone they are to minister to. They aren't trying to be hard or cruel. They just think of the Pastor as a hired employee that is supposed to fulfill his function; and that function means meeting their needs instead of them meeting his needs.

The night before this Prayer Meeting Service I had counseled with a young married couple. For nearly three hours I listened to them snap and bite at each other as I watched a marriage dissolve before my eyes. During the entire time they failed to express love for each other or say anything positive about the other. And I knew that unless that changed soon this couple's marriage would not survive very long.

Then, on Wednesday morning, a young preacher came by to talk. His church was doing well and he should have been excited about his prospects. Instead he sat and talked with increasing discouragement. For two years the church had shown significant growth numerically and financially. In spite of this increased prosperity and responsibility no one at the church had mentioned raise, reward, or recognition for the Pastor. Unless things change, it will come as a great shock to the church when the Pastor stands up one day and announces his resignation. Everyone will establish their own reason for why he left; troubles (known or unknown), burn out, greener pastures, etc. . . . But no one will ever suspect the real reason, lack of appreciation.

This situation, and multitudes more like it, could be avoided, however, if people would learn the truth of Jones 3:14 (in the devised version) "Everyone needs a little bit of encouragement every now and then." Members need encouragement, Marriages need encouragement, and Ministers need encouragement; and the person who protests the loudest that they don't need encouragement is the one who seeks it most! I realize that many will immediately say that the Pastor should get his encouragement from the Lord so they don't need to get involved in the process. But in this matter, as in most spiritual work, God uses human involvement to accomplish Divine purposes.

Now that we see the problem let's find some answers. Let's look at six ways the members of a local church can minister to their Pastor so that he can more effectively minister to them?

1. PARTICIPATION- Most Christians seem to think Christianity is a spectator sport. What an encouragement it would be to the Pastor if everyone in the Church began to function in their place in the Body of Christ. Isn't that the one thing he begs and pleads for each week? And it might even free up the Pastor to have a night a week at home with his family.

2. PRAISE- No one this side of Heaven knows how much a card, letter, or phone call telling the Pastor about some blessing received from his ministry means to the Pastor. I have seen many tattered and ragged "Thank You" notes passed around at Minister's Meetings as if they were treasure maps.

3. PAY A tangible reward for a job well done. Frankly, the last thing a good Pastor should have to worry about is money. He doesn't need to live like a King but he should be able to live on the same level as the members of his congregation.

4. PRAYER- The Lady was right, the Church can pray for the Pastor and his family on a regular basis. But don't simply pray for God to make him a better Pastor; pray for God to meet his physical, financial, family, and spiritual needs (That will make him a better Pastor).

<5. PRESSURE- The Pastor is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Provide the means and the method that allows him time during the year to rest, reflect, and renew his vision. Don't just assume that the Pastor knows he can take a vacation. Someone has to preach, visit, and keep things going while he's gone. Set up a system that will ease the Pastor's mind as well as his body.

6. PARTNERSHIP- One of the greatest joys I have as Pastor is the feeling of being in partnership with God and the Church. I feel like we are working together as a team to accomplish God's work in our area. When my car broke down the people of the Church purchased me a good used car so I would have reliable transportation. When my wife was assaulted, they gave me all the time and encouragement I needed to help her in her healing. When I wanted to start an audio ministry, they found a PA System. When I wanted to begin a Video ministry, they donated a camera and help run it each week. When I wanted to put our services on the radio they immediately volunteered to pay for each weeks broadcast. On and on I could go but you get the picture. They encourage me to grow and develop as a Person and a Pastor; and by doing so they benefit the Church.

The way a church treats its Pastoral family is usually a significant indication of its own spiritual health. So keep your Pastor healthy- emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually; and YOU will reap the benefits.



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Rev. Mike Jones
2434 Allen Road
Effingham, SC 29541
(843) 687-4823
©Contact Magazine - October, 1996

In the Teaching of every Class someone must suffer. Either the Teacher will suffer preparing the class or the student will suffer during the class! And by the results I observe in most Sunday School Classes it is apparent that the wrong people are doing the suffering.

I was saved when I was 14 years old and began teaching the Adult Sunday School Class when I was 16 years old. My training consisted of the Sunday School Superintendent handing me a teacher's book and telling me he hoped it would help. My qualifications for teaching the Adult Class at such a young age came from the fact that I could read and many of the adults in that country church could not.

Sadly, this is also the only training given to many teachers in the average church today. And their main qualification to teach is the fact that everyone else took a big step backwards when the Superintendent asked for volunteers and left them standing out front all by themselves. No wonder students are beset with boredom and teachers are defeated by burn out.

In the 32 years since that Superintendent handed me a teacher's book I have almost continually taught a class of some kind; from Sunday School to Bible Institute to Wednesday Bible Studies. And along the way I have learned several key principles that MUST be applied if you are to successfully teach those students entrusted to you.

I. TEACHING IS IMPORTANT- You must believe that when you accept the responsibility to teach people about the Word of God and the Ways of God you are entrusted with one of the most awesome obligation known to man. You are not given that responsibility simply to entertain your students during the Sunday School Hour. And you certainly were not empowered to teach in order to allow you to get up on your soap box and tell everyone what you think about the government, the morals of society, or any other pet peeve you may have.

A good teacher shapes the Beliefs, the Behavior, and the eternal Abode of those whom they teach. That means that teaching is not a position you fill but a responsibility you fulfill. And that type of responsibility demands that you are faithful in attendance, Prayerful in attitude, and consistent in Character.

II. TEACHING REQUIRES PREPARATION- This means more that getting up a half hour early on Sunday Morning and hastily going over your lesson. You should began planning next Sunday's lesson no later than Monday Evening. Read the Scripture text and then the Lesson. Endeavor to grasp the truth that God is trying to convey in the Scripture. Meditate (analyze it over and over in your head) on the lesson all week. Seek real life applications during the week to transform the lesson from words into a way of life. Secure and use the proper tools (Study Materials) to enable you to build a lesson that will establish Saints and convict Sinners.

Above all, Pray for your class and for the lesson. Each week you will enter a battle zone in which your students are too tired to listen, your circumstances did not allow you the time or energy you need, and the Devil is out to withstand God by defeating you. Pray for God's Power and Purity to be in your life so you will be effective in communicating God's word to a world that desperately needs to hear it.

III. TEACHING MUST BE TESTED- The only way to determine if you are accomplishing your mission is to get feed back from those being taught. Our Church uses the Children's Church at Eleven O'clock to re-enforce the lesson taught during Sunday School. The response of the children to the games and questions in Children's Church make it immediately obvious if the teacher has done their job.

A good teacher continually uses Review and Repetition to evaluate how well they are teaching and how much the students are learning. Otherwise, you may never realize that the look you took for attention was in reality a cover for a student lost in a daze or a day dream.

IV. TEACHING IS TREMENDOUS- I would rather teach than eat; and if you know how big I am then you know I really love to teach! One of the great joys of life is seeing the "light bulb" go on for someone as they realize God is able to deal with every difficulty they encounter. That is when you comprehend that teaching is not a job you do on Sunday Morning; it is a joy you anticipate as you share the truths God has implanted in your soul with others.

There are many books and courses available that will show you all the methods and mechanics of teaching, and I recommend you get at many of them as possible. But teaching must be in your heart before it can properly do it's work in your head. When you really learn what that means you will understand the difference between just leading a class and putting all you have into teaching a message. And that is when you will find that the suffering you do before class in order to keep your students from suffering in class is the most joyous suffering you will ever endure.



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Rev. Mike Jones
2434 Allen Road
Effingham, SC 29541
(843) 687-4823
©Contact Magazine - August, 1998

A neighboring preacher and I became friends several years ago when he first became a pastor. When he first began coming to my office for a visit he would look at me with bewilderment when I would tell him how tired I was and how much trouble I was having making some of my decisions. Now, he has been a pastor himself for over 10 years, and he barely makes it into my office before collapsing in my office recliner and starting his tale about how hard it is to do all the little things demanded of a pastor.

I have been preaching for 36 years and have been a pastor for over 27 years so you would think by now that being a pastor would not be a problem. Instead, I find myself struggling to keep going. I don=t want to abandon God or revert to worldly amusements but I do sometimes look with longing at those people who come to church with nothing on their minds except getting what they can from the service before they head back home for a day of rest and relaxation.

I am a"Filo" pastor- An army term meaning "First in, last out">. I arrive at church before anyone else and I am the last to leave. From the moment the first person arrives until the moment the last person departs everybody wants a piece of Mike Jones. They want to know what they are supposed to do, what someone else is supposed to do, or why I didn't do something that they thought I should have done. In between all of this I must deliver my soul in a sermon to try to keep sinners out of hell and saints on the way to heaven. I struggle with the fact that it sometimes feels that the sponge has been squeezed as hard as it can be squeezed and still people want more.

I struggle with "Peanut Butter" Church Members- You know the old story. A Pastor was visiting a delinquent member and asked him why he had missed Sunday's service. The man replied that he was out of Peanut Butter. The Pastor thought about that for a minute and then had to ask what being out of Peanut Butter had to do with missing Church. The member replied, "Preacher, when you are looking for an excuse then anything will do!". I struggle with Christians who look for excuses not to serve God instead of opportunities to work for the Lord and the Church. And I struggle with men who can run million dollar companies during the week but never feel they are adequate to teach junior boys, or do any other job at Church.

I struggle with the little progress that we make at Church. Over and over it seems that the very week we finally get that new family to commit to coming to our church is the same week that another family comes to my office to tell me that their job is transferring them to another town. I make brave sounds from the pulpit and put on a good front at minister's meetings but in the loneliness of the church office I struggle with feelings of frustration and discouragement.

I struggle with the fact that I'm "Pooped" all the time. I'm tired of being tired. I'm tired of details demanding all my time and energy so that I am not able to do the truly important work. I know that waiting on the Lord will renew my strength but everyone else at church seems to think that waiting on the Lord is a waste of time when someone hasn't listened to "Aunt Susie" complain about her bunions this week.

I struggle with members who want me to be a Prophet of God who really "shucks the corn" each Sunday while at the same time wanting me to be Politically Correct so I won't irritate their sons and daughters or visiting friends. They want me to boldly denounce sin and exalt God but to do so in a manner that doesn't cause any offense or embarrassment to anyone. And they would love for me to do so as glibly and smoothly as the TV preacher they were watching just before they came to church.

Finally, sad to say, I still struggle with my own personal holiness. I know that to attempt to do the work of God without the power of God is like trying to empty the ocean with a pitchfork; you will work yourself to death and never accomplish anything. Yet, I still find myself tempted to watch TV shows I shouldn't, visit Internet sites I know are wrong, or enjoy gossiping about a fellow preacher at a minister's meet. The spirit longs to be completely sold out to God but Flesh still raises its ugly head and tries to defeat me personally and professionally.

With all these struggles how do I keep going? How do I find the courage and conviction each Monday to start another week? It is really not a struggle for me to give you that answer.

First of all, I know God has called me into the ministry. Being a Pastor is not a profession I endure to pay my bills and win some respectability. Thirty six years ago God set a fire ablaze in my soul to preach His word; and the fire still burns! And the driving force of this God given call is strong enough to overcome any obstacle I face.

Secondly, Victories still happen. A note will arrive telling me how much it meant to the family that I stood with them during the sickness and death of a loved one and that will encourage me to keep on going when it seems I'm at the end of my rope. And some times on Sunday, when it seems that everyone is simply going through the motions, the sweet breath of the Holy Spirit will sweep through the Church and a sinner will come to Christ or a prodigal will come home. That is worth any struggle I encounter.

I also realize that many of the struggles I face are simply making me into the man God wants me to be. I want God to sharpen the axe with a marshmallow but I have enough sense to know that only the file will cut deep enough to make the edge as sharp as it needs to be. I pray daily for God to make me a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the master's use. In the flesh I struggle with the process but I know God does indeed love me and will never allow anything in my life that is not ultimately for my good and His glory.

I struggle in the ministry; and will probably do so all of my life. But I know there is coming a day when rewards will be given and I will wish I had done more instead of less. My body wants to betray me some times but there is coming a rest to the people of God. And one day I shall see him face to face whom so long I have known heart to heart. On that day all the struggles will be as nothing if He will simply look at me and say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joys of thy Lord."



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Rev. Mike Jones
2434 Allen Road
Effingham, SC 29541
(843) 687-4823
©Contact Magazine - October, 1998

    Christianity is not just about what you believe; it is about how you behave. Every doctrine in the Bible comes with a duty to be performed. If your worship place does not effect your work place then you are not learning what you should at your church.
    I went to get the oil changed in my car recently. The place was busy so I went inside to drink a cup of coffee and wait. While I was waiting a lady came up and asked to talk to the manager. As I listened, she explained that she had left her lights on while she was shopping in the stores beside the oil change location and now her car wouldn’t crank.
    In spite of the fact that it was obvious that the manager was almost overwhelmed with all the paying customers he had in his establishment, he told his men to continue working while he took his personal truck and went to start this lady’s car. To further complicate matters, the manager found when he got in his truck that he did not have any jumper cables. He offered to go back to his home and get his personal set but I had a set in my car that I loaned him.
    The manager could have claimed his busy schedule or the absence of jumper cables would not allow him to help this lady. Instead he treated this lady the way he thought a Christian should treat her-and I am thankful, for this man is a trustee at my Church.