ABOVE PHOTO: Rev. Dr. Damone B. Jones, Sr.
By Stephanie Montague
Excitement is in the air around Bibleway Baptist Church. In March 2014, Bibleway Baptist Church celebrated it’s 62nd church anniversary and on Sunday, May 4, 2014, Dr. Damone B. Jones, Sr., the Church Pastor celebrates 20 years in ministry!
Rev. Jones’ early theological training includes Manna Bible Institute and The Center for Urban Theological Studies. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree from Philadelphia Biblical University. He also holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.
Rev. Jones currently serves as Adjunct Professor at the Center for Urban Theological Studies (C.U.T.S) of Lancaster Bible College and also at the Eastern School of Ministry at Palmer Theological Seminary.
I caught up with Rev. Jones to talk about his upcoming anniversary.
SUN: Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule. Let’s get right into it… twenty years in ministry. How excited are you to be reaching this milestone?
REV. JONES: My wife Melissa, our four children and I are very excited about this 20 year milestone. It says so much about the Lord’s faithfulness than anything else and that alone excites us.
SUN: What has been your objective or goals in ministry during all these years?
REV. JONES: The purpose of the church is to mass produce disciples. We should be developing and preparing disciples to make an impact for the kingdom of God everywhere. That’s all I want to do. It’s what the Lord has called me to do.
SUN: Do you have a program or service that far outweighs the other? Do you see yourself adding to what you already offer at Bibleway?
REV. JONES: I don’t think anyone outweighs another. Ministries are designed to meet the needs of the church and community. Therefore, every ministry holds equal weight. We are always reevaluating what we offer and considering what we should offer. We just recently added a Social Justice Ministry to serve our church and community as it relates to social justice issues. Our first event was just weeks ago. We partnered with a local attorney to host an expungement clinic for individuals seeking to have their criminal records expunged.
SUN: What will the church be doing in the future to lead the community and continue investing in it?
REV. JONES: We will continue to support all educational efforts in our community, as well as to serve free hot meals and clothes for our neighborhood as we have done weekly for 20 years. We provide summer camps, health fairs, prison ministry and more. Our goal is not only to maintain those and other ministries, but to enhance them as well.
SUN: What advice do you give to those wanting to go into the ministry?
REV. JONES: Be sure that it is The Lord who has called you. Then allow the Holy Spirit to direct you to where He wants you because that’s where He will bless you. Formal education is also recommended so that you can always remain positioned to preach and teach effectively. And every person in ministry needs a seasoned pastor in his or her life because we all need advice and counsel along the journey.
SUN: Why do you think your ministerial career has lasted so long? Is there a secret to its longevity?
REV. JONES: The secret is really not a secret. It’s being obedient to the Holy Spirit and committed to a clean lifestyle. I have made many mistakes but I always try not to repeat them but learn from them. Studying hard and good mentors are always important.
SUN: What do you remember about your first sermon?
REV. JONES: I remember my first sermon was actually held in Holmesburg Prison. I went there with a ministry that went there frequently and they gave me an opportunity to preach. I preached the story of Nicodemus and Jesus to a gymnasium full of inmates and I will never forget it! I actually have a brick from that old building in my office to remind me of where I started. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I have been passionate about prison ministries ever since.
SUN: Who has been instrumental in your ministry/Bibleway?
REV. JONES: My parents Boykin and Cornelia Jones first instilled Christian principles in me. My pastor, the late Rev. Dr. Hiawatha Coleman, Pastor of Mt Zion Baptist Church in Phila was the strongest ministerial influence, followed by the late Rev James Hazzard, Chaplain at the Phila Youth Study Center, Bishop Donald Clay of Pittsburgh. The Rev. Dr. Willie Richardson of Christian Stronghold Church who has me mentored me from the beginning of my pastorate continues to watch out for me and Pastor Willie I Graves of St Phillips Baptist Church in Phila is also very influential in my life and ministry and continues to advise and watch out for me
SUN: The church has been a staple for many years, now the anniversary is upon the congregation. How excited are they?
REV. JONES: They seem very excited. They have been and continue to be a fantastic congregation. I love them dearly and deeply appreciate their faithfulness, love and support.
SUN: What’s on the program leading up to the anniversary that visitors (and members) can look forward to? (i.e. Ministers, singers, performances, dinners etc)
REV. JONES: Wed & Thurs at 7pm (April 30/May 1) Bishop Donald Clay of Petra International Ministries in Pittsburgh Will preach.
Saturday (May 2) Brunch – 9:00-1:00pm at the Loews Hotel in Center City Phila with preaching by the Rev. Dr.Willie Richardson of Christian Stronghold Baptist Church.
Sunday (May 3) Pastor Willie I Graves of St Phillips Baptist Church will preach the anniversary services at 7:30 am and 11:00am.
Our choirs, praise dancers, and pantomime ministry will bless is with their phenomenal Christian Arts ministry!
SUN: What is your hope for Bibleway in the future?
REV. JONES: That God will continue to anoint us to preach and teach His Word in a way that transforms the lives of His people and moves them on to becoming impactful disciples of Jesus Christ.
Be sure to visit Bible Way Baptist Church this Sunday and any Sunday. They are located at 1323 N. 52nd Street. You can also visit their website for more information at www.biblewaybaptist.org.