Pastor Phil: A Man After God’s Own Heart
While I’ve been thinking about writing this post for several months, I kept putting it off. I would open my computer to a blank page and quickly close it. Writing typically comes easy for me, and yet I have been at a total loss for words on this topic. Even now, I know I can’t possibly find the right things to say to adequately describe what Pastor Phil Jones has meant to us at First Baptist Powell over the past 33 years. Despite understanding that words are insufficient to express our gratitude to Pastor Phil and Kathy for their lifetime of ministry, I believe it is worth trying to say.
One Man’s Impact
If you are reading this, Pastor Phil has likely impacted your life in one way or another. He may have baptized you or your children. Maybe he led you or a loved one to Christ. He has likely sent you a handwritten birthday card with a specific verse that he is praying for you. Pastor Phil may have ordained your wedding or the wedding of someone you know. He probably comforted you with meaningful words at your loved one’s funeral. You may have received godly counsel or advice from Pastor Phil during a difficult time in your life. And you likely had the opportunity to attend church in inclement weather, because Pastor Phil would walk over two miles to church before he would cancel a church service. If you’ve ever sat in a pew to hear his preaching, you’ve likely been told to buckle your pew belt or that you need to listen faster. And most importantly, if you have heard Pastor Phil proclaim the Word of God, you have undoubtedly heard the Gospel taught in an unashamed and profound way.
A Calling from the Lord
If you know Pastor Phil, you will likely agree that he is one of the godliest men you have ever known. He is truly a man after God’s own heart. With a quiet and introverted personality, he admittedly would have never chosen to pastor a church if he hadn’t been led by God to do so. And yet this is part of what makes Pastor Phil so special; he cannot be accused of preaching just because he loves public speaking or being in the spotlight.
On the contrary, Phil Jones despises recognition and attention. He would never brag that he parks in the back parking lot so that others can have a space closer to the church, but he does. He would never tell you that he earned a doctorate degree while working as a full time pastor, but he did. He would never want people to know that he has worked countless hours, refusing to be paid, but he has. He routinely minimizes his own achievements and seeks to turn attention he receives back to God. He is a devoted husband to sweet Kathy, who is the model Proverbs 31 woman. He is a loving father and an adoring grandfather. He is dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission, both as a church and personally. And above all else, he has made spending time with his Heavenly Father a priority throughout his life.
Diligence in Preparation
If you have listened to Pastor Phil preach even once, you know that he does not flippantly prepare his sermons. When it would have been easier to skip a controversial topic and preach “feel-good” messages that are viewed by the world as relevant and trendy, he refused to take the easy route. His commitment to expository preaching is unparalleled and will be sorely missed.
Rejoicing in What’s to Come
And yet we at First Baptist Powell rejoice in knowing that Phil and Kathy’s ministry does not end here. We rejoice in knowing that God is sovereign and He is never surprised. And while tears will be shed as we say goodbye to our Pastor of 33 years, we will rejoice in knowing that God already knows what’s to come, both for the Jones family and for First Baptist Church of Powell.