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The New Kid in Town

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March 15, 2012 by wcobserver

GREENLAND – At 25 years old, Pastor Jeff Jones may seem to some like just a boy, but he’s a man of God. In fact, as the Free Will Baptist Church’s newest pastor, he’s the man of God.

Jones began serving as the church’s pastor on Dec. 1, replacing the long-serving Pastor Lester Shadrick, who retired.

So what’s it like being the pastor, especially one so young?

“This is arguable, but I really feel my generation has a whole lot more stuff they have to struggle with than the previous generation,” Jones said. “And that might not be true, but in some respects there’s a lot more temptation to fall into ruin in your life. … like a lot of people are crying out for help in a lot of ways.”

Jones said guiding a congregation with many members much older than himself certainly has its challenges, but they’re nothing that can’t be over come through faith.

“I think there’s always going to be some sort of generational gap. I think a lot of time, the challenge is — for me — what am I going to preach on that these people haven’t already heard? And that’s the inevitable temptation,” Jones said. “But the truth is, these are the timeless truths the church has been following since before the days of Rome. So these are truths that don’t change. And no matter what stage of life we’re in … the truths never really change. And my goal isn’t to impress any- body and say, ‘this is something you’ve never heard.’ It’s just to reinforce some of the things that we all probably know in the back of our heads.”

Apart from the challenges of guiding the church during usual events such as Wednesday and Sundays services and evening study, Jones also works as a part- time plumber. Maintaining his separate duties isn’t too hard, said Jones, even if they sometimes cross paths.

“It really doesn’t clash a whole lot until I come home from work and I’m covered in … whatever” he said. “I’m dirty and filthy and then I’ll get a phone call that says someone is in the hospital, or needs a visit or some counseling or something like that.

So I don’t really have time to go home; I just show up in the hospital covered in dirt.”

Originally from Oklahoma, Jones and his wife, Megan, were living in Springdale, considering heading back to the Sooner state when the Freewill Baptist Church called and asked if he’d like to lead the congregation. They thought, “sure!” and instead relocated just down the road in Farmington. Megan said she keeps plenty busy offering counseling and children’s services for the church.

As the couple met with the Observer this past Saturday, the church was about to have a Saturday night singing event, and Megan was helping to prepare the delicious food for all the attendees. It’s the first event the couple has attended and offered a chance for everyone to enjoy Saturday night fellowship.

By the end of May, Jones said he and the church will convene for an evaluation of his services and decide if both would like to continue on the path together.

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