Ever louder ‘call’ brings Davies to Brenham Bible
Article by Bud Chambers, Correspondent, The Banner-Press
Ever louder ‘call’ brings Davies to Brenham Bible
That the Rev. Jon Davies was sitting in the pastor’s office of Brenham Bible Church last week as its new pastor is a verification of the saying, “The Lord works in mysterious ways!”
What are the chances that a young boy raised in Vermont and Maryland, and who would later carve out a promising business career in Charlotte, North Carolina during his 20s, would seemingly make such a startling “U-turn” in this life, qualifying for and completing a four-year ministry master’s degree from the Dallas Theological Seminary in well less than three years and then after a December 2012 graduation move his family of five here in service to the Lord?
Perhaps it’s not surprising that this correspondent needed a three-hour “Profile” interview to fully absorb how a young man – the son of a pastor nearly a decade of his early life – would be turned off by some of the experiences his father encountered; and thus never consider “being a pastor” – only to answer the Lord’s call later in life.
Heading into Brenham Bible Church pastor’s office for this “Profile” interview with Pastor Davies one day last week (“Obviously, this office is a work in progress,” he observed), this reporter quickly sensed 32-year-old minister had the benefit of growing up in a strong Christian family – and thus it was a bit surprising, early on in our long conversation, that he would note, “There was a time when the ministry was last on any list of my career choices.”
It would turn out there was a strong reason young Jon had reached such a conclusion during his teenage years.
Though born in Silver Springs, Maryland, in October 1980, Jon’s earliest memories were of Vermont where his father served as associate pastor for a non-denominational Bible Church.
After living in Vermont for seven years, Jon’s family moved to St. Mary’s County, Maryland where his father became founding minister for “a church plant” congregation. However, just a few years into this new ministry, his father was called into a secret meeting with the parent church elders and was forced to make a decision to resign or to be fired.
When asked why, the elders refused to discuss the matter. The next Sunday, the elders told the church that Jon’s father had surprised them with a resignation letter. Their obvious lies and deception ripped a wound in Jon and his family.
Jon would pause and reflect as our interview continued: “I know of hypocrisy in the church better than most. I remember thinking, “Why God? Is this how You treat people who want to serve You? If so, I want nothing to do with any of it.””
During Jon’s remaining high school years, God began to work in his heart and soften it for ministry.
“I think the first time I thought about teaching in a church was my freshman year as a college undergrad. I had worked with a Christian camp and was privileged to lead a number of students to Christ.”
But the scars were still too fresh, so Jon pursued a degree in criminal justice.
Time for a change
Following his undergraduate studies at Cedarville College in Cedarville, Ohio, Jon married his college sweetheart, Michelle Moore, in the fall of 2002.
Jon and his wife settled down in Southern Maryland where he served for 2 1/2 years with the Calvert County Sheriff’s department. Then in 2004, Jon and Michelle moved from Maryland to Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I knew I wasn’t doing what God wanted me to do,” said Jon, “I knew it was time for a change.”
Once in Charlotte, Jon took on an initial role in the business world handling duties as production manager for a marketing organization named Business Partner.
There, a great deal of hard work – plus valuable lessons learned putting modern media tools into daily practice – would encourage Jon (after wife Michelle brought son, Tristan, into their family Oct. 2006) to step up and join the fast-growing Insignia Group, a computer software company, as its Business Development Manager the following year in 2007.
During this time the Davies became members of Calvary Church, a large non-denominational Christian organization, and began voluntarily leading their college ministry.
It was in this memorable time of their life that a second child – daughter, Teagan – was born in Dec. 2008.
Already an ambitious young man, Jon would find these increasing family responsibilities pushing his creative talents into overdrive; and he would enter into a separate new business partnership – beyond his full-time duties with Insignia Group. Jay Armstrong, a close friend and entrepreneur, formed Applied Outsourcing, LLC in 2009. The primary mission of Applied Outsourcing was to help small to medium sized businesses with day-to-day tasks which could be outsourced. But the new business hit its stride when it entered the market as a resource for creating “new apps” for the booming iPhone and iPad markets.
And yet while Jon was effectively “working two jobs,” this then 28-year-old Christian gentleman was also hearing an ever louder calling from his Lord and Savior to change directions and become a fisher of men.
Even as he experienced growing business success while still in his 20s, Jon would find that what had begun as a quiet whisper from the Lord to be a full-time Christian servant would keep growing louder in volume and persistence.
As perhaps is “human nature” in pushing away such a life-changing decision, Jon’s first reaction to internal conflict concerning he and his family’s future would be a redoubling of his efforts to exceed every personal expectation in the pursuit of his extensive and wide-ranging business projects. It isn’t difficult to see taking such a workaholic approach would ultimately create a personal time management crisis – one where something had to give because Jon’s demanding day simply didn’t contain enough hours.
By early 2010 Jon knew that his life was dangerously close to spinning out of his control:
- He was continuing his primary full-time career as the Business Development Manager for Insignia Group.
- He was dedicating countless hours to keep Applied Outsourcing growing.
- He had a growing family that needed him to play the role of husband and father.
- He was leading a growing college ministry at Calvary Church with a roster of over 70 students.
- He began to explore seminary through taking online graduate courses at Liberty Theological Seminary.
“The plates I was spinning were wobbling terribly,” said Jon. “It was only a matter of time before one of them – or all of them – crashed.”
Going to meet with a pastor at Calvary Church for counsel, Jon was shocked when he received the challenge to drop his career, his online classes, and his role at the church so that he could apply to Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).
A new beginning
“That wasn’t how that conversation was supposed to go,” Jon said, as his life and that of wife Michelle and their young son and daughter was suddenly heading in the direction of a new beginning.
Convicted, Jon went home and spoke with his wife and they decided to send in an application to DTS. A month later they found out they had been accepted and shortly after that, they received news that they had received a full-ride scholarship.
“I’m still baffled by that one,” Jon said, with a thankful smile.
Leaving career, home, friends and family behind Jon and Michelle moved to Dallas, Texas with their two children in July of 2010. While in Dallas, Jon served as an Area Pastor for Fellowship Bible Church Dallas.
In December 2012, Jon finished his four year, 120 hour, Th.M. graduate program at Dallas Theological Seminary.
“It was a whirlwind, but Michelle and I agreed to push hard and get it finished. Without her help, I couldn’t have taken the heavy course loads to finish so rapidly.”
During his last semester, God blessed the Davies family with daughter Talia, their third child in September.
When asked what drew them to Brenham, Jon recalled, “Brenham Bible Church posted at DTS’s placement office that they were looking for a disciple-maker who could preach.” This dedicated Christian servant smiled and said, “Those are two things that get me out of bed every day, helping others know Jesus and sharing God’s word with them.”
In Dallas, Jon had led discipleship groups and oversaw various ministries for 400 member households at Fellowship Bible Church Dallas.
“When I came to visit Brenham Bible Church last year to see if this is where God would lead our family, I saw a healthy group of people that were unified and genuinely treated each other like a family. I feel very blessed to have them give me the call to serve with them in this community.”
In closing this interview, the Rev. Jon Davies would suggest the Lord doesn’t always follow a script written by his followers – and thankfully, our Savior seems to be in “the business of offering fresh starts and new beginnings.”
For both Brenham Bible Church and the Davies family this new beginning seems to offer a wonderful adventure.