Paul Jones outlines some key points to consider when ministering to children.
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Paul was born Don Paul Jones to Don and Gloria Jones, July 1959, in Portales, New Mexico, the first of three children. He has two sisters, both who are married and living in Montana with their families. Paul’s family lived in several locations while he was growing up. His parents are gifted spiritual leaders who were very capable of moving into small, struggling churches and building them into strong numbers, as well as overseeing the actual construction of some new church buildings. Upon completion of this, Paul’s parents would often move and reproduce that model with another congregation. Don and Gloria eventually found themselves serving at Emmanuel, Billings, where Don served as Emmanuel’s fifth lead pastor from 1979 to 1992. Both remain active at Emmanuel, and Dr. Jones continues to serve as one of Emmanuel’s five elders. Paul found himself highly involved in these same churches while growing up. He gave his life to the Lord at an early age in Canon City, Colorado. While serving and growing in the Lord, he had not yet been called to the ministry, but he found opportunities to serve in just about every position within church life, not knowing that God was using this willingness to lay a strong foundation for this future missionary and pastor. During these formative years, Paul was also very athletic-minded and pursued several sports endeavors, experiencing his greatest success in football. So, after his 1977 graduation from East High School, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Paul chose to “walk on” to the football team at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA where he would later earn a full scholarship. While there, Paul played defensive back for the Flames and graduated in four years with a B.S. in Political Science. Still the Lord had not extended the call to ministry, so Paul planned to attend law school. At this juncture in his pilgrimage, Paul became aware of a program sponsored by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention called Journeyman Missionary. This was a two-year commitment to the mission field available to college graduates who were willing to serve abroad. Paul was commissioned in the summer of 1981 and served for the next two years in South Africa. During Paul’s missionary experience, he participated in mass evangelism and university student work. He also began a Bible correspondence school and helped start churches. It was while Paul was serving in South Africa that the Lord called him to the ministry. Since Emmanuel was his home church at that time, he made his decision public with us and we licensed and ordained him to the Gospel Ministry in 1983 upon his return to the states. Also upon his return, Paul served as the Youth Pastor for Emmanuel from 1983 to 1985. Believing that he still needed some additional preparation, Paul left Billings to attend Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Memphis, Tennessee in 1985, graduating with a Master’s in Divinity in 1989. During those years in seminary, Paul was more than a student. He served as Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church, Millington, Tennessee during the same period of time, with the primary duties of directing a bus ministry, children’s church, and recreation ministries. At the conclusion of his seminary work, Emmanuel called Paul back to assist his father as co-pastor. Don and Paul Jones began to co-pastor together in 1989 and worked together to restructure Emmanuel for the next three years. Those first three years included streamlining the budget and securing an interest-free loan for the remainder of the building indebtedness, which allowed the debt to be retired in five years. In 1992, Paul suffered a divorce. After a leave of absence for the purpose of possible reconciliation and personal healing, Emmanuel determined that the divorce was not caused by Paul’s immoral or unbiblical behavior. The church voted to ask him to continue as pastor. In January 1994, Paul met Tami at a state Evangelism Conference in Missoula, MT, and they were married July 31 of that year. Paul and Tami have two married children and four grandchildren. As Emmanuel’s sixth lead pastor, Paul continues to preach, teach, and oversee all of the church’s ministries. In 2010 he earned his PhD in Church History, writing his dissertation on how to restart dead and dying churches, something that Emmanuel has been actively involved with for several years. Paul loves the outdoors, and when he needs to get away, he is an avid sports enthusiast, and of course, enjoys his grandchildren.