By Sharon Mager
NEWARK, Del.—University of Delaware (UOD) graduate Matt Jones went to college looking for Gatsby’s green light—the American dream.
“…Now I see myself on the mission field if that is God’s will,” Jones said. “Because of collegiate ministry, I am so much more in love with Jesus, and that has enabled me to love others better.”
Jones accepted Christ early in elementary school after seeing a play about the life of Christ.
“I would still say I was a Christian as I was growing up, but I wasn’t completely surrendering my life to Christ. I don’t think I even knew what treasuring Jesus above all things meant before I left for college,” Jones said.
While at the university, Jones got involved in the UOD Baptist Student Ministry BSM . “I was just an active ‘member’ my first year, but quickly stepped into a leadership role,” he said. Jones became a group leader, responsible for making freshman feel welcome through weekly activities, which eventually led into Bible studies. He met weekly with Baptist Student Minister Blake Hardcastle “for spiritual insight and wisdom on life.”
Prior to working with the collegiate ministry, Jones said he had no teaching abilities or interest in leading Bible studies.
“It became very clear that I didn’t have a full picture of the Gospel or at least wasn’t able to articulate it very well. My leadership and participation in student ministry forced me to do that. I had a clearer picture of the essence and consequences of sin, the wrath of God and why I deserved it, the idea of my main purpose here on earth being completely for God, and the need for professing Christians to go to unreached peoples and share the Gospel.
“I went to the Philippines for two months on a Nehemiah Teams trip to share the Gospel up and down the rivers. This changed my life. I now have a very strong feeling that God will be using me as a ‘Goer’ in the mission field to reach his unreached peoples at some point in my future.”
Jones graduated in May 2013 and was in the process of becoming a journeyman with the International Mission Board, but has put that on hold while trying to pay off his college loans.
Currently, he helps lead Ogletown Baptist Church’s youth group, Sunday morning middle school boys’ Bible studies, and a small group of high school freshman.
He also ministers with and to other young adults, acknowledging that successful young adult groups are not always easy to find.
“We wanted a group that could get together and study the Bible and to socialize,” he said. That group began in the fall of 2013, starting with a dozen young adults and now numbers 30.
“But it isn’t really about numbers,” Jones stresses. “God has blessed us with a group of individuals who are interested in knowing God more. We are blessed with conversations that are Christ exalting.”