For over 40 years, WSC’s campus in Southern California has served as a launching pad for theologically trained men and women to be sent out to churches, institutions, and families across the world. After graduation, some of our alumni are called to new and unfamiliar places while others return to their home communities or countries and continue faithfully watering seeds that were planted long before their seminary journey began. Some, like Brad Jones (MDIV, ’10), find themselves called to a ministry of both continuation and cultivation, homecoming and uprooting.
Originally from Canada, Brad migrated south to Escondido with his wife and their growing family to pursue theological studies at WSC. Shortly after his graduation in 2010, they returned to Brad’s homeland and he accepted his first call as an associate pastor at a PCA church in Lethbridge, Alberta. Ministering mostly to youth and young adults, Brad enjoyed this opportunity to continue learning and growing in his ministry skills under the mentorship of a more experienced pastor. After three years, he accepted a call to pastor another PCA congregation in Calgary, Alberta which had recently experienced significant conflict and a split amongst its members. Looking back, Brad notes: “My ministry there was a ministry of revitalization. Though the first couple years were very challenging, God blessed the church with vitality and growth. After 6 years there, the church was a warm, vibrant, diverse, and growing community.”
It was around this time that Brad learned about a small PCA church in Vista, CA that was looking for a pastor to breathe new life into their congregation and ministry to the surrounding Tri-City area (which includes Vista, Oceanside, and Carlsbad). So, after a season of revitalizing work in Calgary, the Joneses prepared to engage in a new and even more challenging ministry: church replanting. Nearly a decade after completing his studies at Westminster, Brad and his family uprooted again and moved back to Southern California to accept this new call – a different sort of homecoming.
Though the pandemic initially delayed the formal relaunch of Arise Presbyterian Church, the young replant has been meeting for worship since June of 2020. Brad hopes that Arise will be “a church united by faith in Jesus and on the front lines of His mission on earth,” as well as “a diverse community that loves one another in a way that gives people glimpses of God’s divine love among us.” The church’s proximity to campus enables Brad to offer a similar kind of mentorship to WSC students and interns as he received early on in his career. Reflecting with gratitude on his own seminary experience, Brad concludes: “…after 11 years of ministry my appreciation for WSC has only increased. In some instances, it was after years of ministry experience that I finally understood or appreciated something a professor had taught me in seminary.”
In addition to his congregational ministry, Brad has served on the Credentials committee of two presbyteries. This experience has shown him the significant difference that an excellent seminary education can make in the preparation of a future pastor. Just as Arise seeks to provide opportunities for students that will benefit their ministry wherever the Lord may call them, Brad also recognizes the invaluable role of WSC in building up the broader Church. He concludes, “WSC’s commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, focus on the ministry of the Church, and commitment to confessional standards has helped WSC remain focused and faithful during these tumultuous times. The Church needs more pastors and more men and women in ministry who are committed to Jesus, His Gospel, His Word, and His Church.”BACK