New pastor reaches post after own special ‘walk’
As Terry Jones stands before the congregation of Resurrection Hope United Methodist Church this morning as its latest pastor, he understands arriving at this point in his life was a special spiritual journey.
Early on, Jones, who has roots in South Point and Ironton, felt the vocation to become a minister. But it was not one he chose to heed.
“Years ago when I got out of high school, I felt the calling but I kind of ran from it,” Jones said.
Instead he decided to help others by becoming a paramedic, working for 20 years with the Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Services before going on to Ashland Inc. and Marathon Petroleum Co. in occupational medicine. In that job he would travel the country to the various subsidiaries, performing such tests as pulmonary function and EKGs.
“Then they outsourced the program and I found myself unemployed,” he said.
That layoff became a blessing in disguise because Jones starting finding his travel as a excuse for staying away from church.
“God told me one day, ‘I will fix that,’ and I found myself unemployed,” he said. “… I didn’t have time for him so, he gave me time.”
That hiatus gave Jones the opportunity to go church shopping until he decided the United Methodist denomination was right for him. That decision led him to participate in a three-day event that deepened his faith — The Walk to Emmaus.
“You would not believe how invigorating it is,” he said. “You go in on a Thursday night and get out Sunday evening and there are a lot of activities. It is an amazing transformation that goes over some. People don’t know what to expect … and they have a spiritual awakening.”
From that he studied to become a lay speaker enabling him to travel to different churches in the district.
“I ended up going as far as I could,” Jones said.
Next he was appointed to the South Point United Methodist Church as a lay leader and pastor at Waterloo United Methodist Church. Now with the appointment to Resurrection, Jones will give up those duties.
In whatever spare time he has he spends it on mission trips including one with Jeremiah 38 Ministries to Honduras and one to Vietnam.
“You would be amazed at how on fire for Christ the people in those countries are,” Jones said. “They would walk 20 miles just to go to a church service.”
As he becomes pastor of Resurrection Hope, he sees a resurgence in the mainstream churches.
“I see the smaller, older churches making a revival, a comeback,” Jones said. “If you look at the average age, you will see an older population and a younger population. You don’t see the middle age. You still have some middle-aged people, but it is reaching out to the youth of America. They are looking for something. The youth of America today is going toward Christ. You are going to see a regeneration.”