Mike Cope's blog

Monday, January 09, 2006

I've had several older men in my life through the years who have helped shape me into the way of Jesus. (To be honest, I still do: Clois, Wally, Grady, Landon, etc.) But there is one I'll never forget. There's just something about those college years that are so important. Jerry Jones was the chairman of the Bible Department when I was a student at Harding. He was also my homiletics instructor. I learned a lot of head stuff from him. But his place in my life went way beyond the classroom. We became friends. We ran together in the evening--five miles of sweat talking about dating, scripture, marriage, preaching, sports. We played ping-pong together. I was better. Way better. But for some reason, he won. A lot. He had no offense. He just stood ten feet behind the table calmly returning slam after slam until I was worn out. A couple times he took me with him as he drove out to preach in revivals at small churches. Actually, I owe him even more. He preached in a gospel meeting in NE Ohio and there met Diane when she'd been out of high school a year or two. He convinced her that she should attend Harding, promising her that they'd find a way to make it work financially. My life is richer, deeper, and more gospel-formed because this older man shared his life with me.

12 Comments:

  • Jerry has impacted a LOT of lives over the years. I know Donnie would "AMEN" your post, as JJ REALLY impacted his ministry also.

    God bless,
    DU

    By Blogger David U, at 1/09/2006 07:15:00 AM  

  • That's funny -- every time I meet someone who has known Jerry, they always talk about how great he was at ping pong.

    I remember staying at Jerry and Claudette's house in Searcy for Spring Sing. Their house would be full of people spending the night there. One evening, some people walked into the house, spread out sleeping bags and went to sleep. My dad (he and Claudette were cousins) asked who they were. Jerry and Claudette looked at each other and said "We have no idea."

    I had so much fun at their house on those Spring Sing trips that I mentioned to my dad that I might like to go to Harding. My dad, an ACU grad, suddenly started taking me to ACU's Sing Song instead. So I guess Jerry almost influenced me to go to Harding, but it didn't quite take.

    He is a great guy, and we also think the world of Lynne.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 1/09/2006 07:26:00 AM  

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    By Blogger David Michael, at 1/09/2006 09:34:00 AM  

  • Jerry Jones' class on preaching was one of my favorite classes I took at Harding. It was amazing how fast time went by. He was also one of the wittiest professors, yet, he could grab your heart within seconds after saying something funny.

    He is also one of the few people I have known that can give you a zinger, yet you feel loved afterward.

    By Blogger David Michael, at 1/09/2006 09:42:00 AM  

  • I had Jerry for Acts class at Harding--it was the hardest yet most enjoyable class I had there. He and Lynn were just here at my congregation in October for their Marriage Workshop. While here, he took me aside and said, "Now I'm going to take the role of your dad here." We had a discussion that meant a lot to me. He gave me a lot of sound advice while he was here and I love him dearly.

    By Blogger drjimwhite, at 1/09/2006 09:56:00 AM  

  • Jerry and Lynn Jones are doing a Marriage seminar at Vaughn Park this week. I've enjoyed listening to their presentations.

    By Blogger Ed Harrell, at 1/09/2006 10:47:00 AM  

  • One of the classes I couldn't wait to get to was "Preaching Methods" i.e, "Jones' Goodtime Hour". Jonesy gave me the insipration to preach. When I was told by a Bible prof at Harding to change majors (because I stutter) - it was Jonesy who kept my dream of preaching alive.
    I'll always be in his debt for that.
    He once had me pick up a big name preacher for lectureship. The man was a self absorbed know it all. When I went to Jonesy's office the next week to get my check for gas, he asked what I thought of the man. When I told him what I really thought, he said, "Don't be like that." He was always "teaching".
    Thanks for helping think of Jerry today.

    By Blogger Randy, at 1/09/2006 11:13:00 AM  

  • Didn't go to Harding but managed to be impacted by Jerry Jones anyway! I went to the University of Alabama with his daughter, Angela, so Lela & I got to know him and Claudette through that route.

    I've heard him speak many times, but he gave a message at the 1989 National Campus Ministers' Seminar that was one of those pivotal moments in my spiritual development. Even though he'd been a "Christian college guy" for a long time, there are tons of campus ministers and old campus ministry students who'd share the same kinds of stories about Jerry that I have and that you and your readers have. The guy has a real heart for ministries on state university campuses.

    And he WAS great at ping-pong. I saw him actually defeat Buddy Bell in the game, and NOBODY could beat Buddy during his campus ministry years. :-)

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 1/09/2006 11:22:00 AM  

  • This was cool to come across. Thanks a lot Mike. I grew up in Oklahoma City and have seen Jerry Jones all my life. He taught one of my uncle's who was one of the first black preaching students at Harding. I later came across Jerry when I was a part of Acappella. He and Lynne have meant and continue to mean a lot to Alasha and I. I love the family of God and the people God put's in our lives. I am about to move back to the south from the great Northwest and I will be working with a church in Arlington, Tx and that is in large part to people like Jerry Jones, Dennis Lynn, and Mark Love who show us Jesus through their lives.

    By Blogger Steve Maxwell, at 1/09/2006 06:18:00 PM  

  • Nice to have a mentor like that.

    Heather

    By Blogger wondering04, at 1/09/2006 06:20:00 PM  

  • I love Jerry Jones. He and I share the same heritage of growing up in the great city called St. Louis. I first met him when a student at Harding Academy then as I majored in Bible at the University. I remember in the late 70's seeing him at his house and office studying the Word from a fresh perspective and being excited about his new insights as if he was a new believer. I have admired seeing him respond with a great faith in personal tragedies. He is a great man of God that I regret not spending more time with since we both live in the same town. Jerry, if you read this call me and I will let buy me lunch!)

    By Blogger steve awtrey, at 1/09/2006 08:15:00 PM  

  • Jerry taught me to preach with heart and passion while I was a student at Harding. One of my favorite quotes was, "study yourself full, pray yourself hot, and then let it go!"

    The man is a giant in my book. I shall forever be grateful and indebted.

    After my divorce he looked me up, insisted that I come to visit him, counseled me, invited me to a healing conference, encouraged me, gave me reading material, sent me tapes, and rescued me from the most difficult days and hours of my life. What else can I say? I love that guy!

    By Blogger Paul, at 1/12/2006 08:06:00 PM  

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