Faculty Highlight | Dr. Milton Jones
One of MBU’s more recent additions, Maranatha Baptist Bible Institute (MBBI), arose from the mind of Dr. Milton Jones. Founded under his leadership, MBBI has grown exponentially throughout the last few years as students enroll with a desire to know God more and learn how to better serve Him in the local church and other forms of ministry. Many of them move on to pursue further degrees in Bible and ministry, and they attribute their success to the teachings of Dr. Jones.
A Humble Beginning
Dr. Jones was saved at the age of nine through the direct ministry of an “old-fashioned revival meeting” preached by Evangelist Bill Johnson, in addition to the indirect ministry of Pastor Howard Guinn, both of whom are now with the Lord. Pastor Guinn felt a special burden for the children in his church and taught the junior Sunday School class himself, of which Dr. Jones was a member.
Dr. Jones’s parents were born in the Great Depression, and neither of them had the opportunity to attend school past the sixth grade. As a result, education for the family proved difficult. Dr. Jones attended public school, which he testifies wasn’t the best environment even back then: “The teachers were deeply imbibed into a worldview that was different than mine.” He remembers spending most of his high school years in the lab, where he was a lab technician for four years; during his senior year, he would spend up to half the day there. His primary interests were science and math, and, after high school graduation, the head of the science department at his school endeavored to obtain a scholarship for him to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. However, God had other plans.
His brother was a student at Bob Jones University and, unbeknownst to Dr. Jones, his father had already made the decision to send him there as well. “He [Dr. Jones’s father] desperately wanted to get us an education because he didn’t have one, but money was an issue.” Dr. Jones worked his way through college, and his parents helped when they could. His education, as time went on, would prove to be extensive; his list of degrees includes a BA in Bible and a Master’s in Ministry from Bob Jones University, a Doctorate in Ministry from Northland Baptist Bible College, and “a couple of donated dignities,” one being from Maranatha Baptist University. Even so, Dr. Jones isn’t finished learning; he took a course in Hebrew last semester, even as a full-time college professor!
He states that what kept him going through those difficult years was a simple love of learning: “I tell people I could very easily be a Renaissance man because I’m interested in almost everything.” However, it seemed that God was interested in the one prospect that Dr. Jones was not.
A Life Direction
When God called him into full-time ministry, Dr. Jones had other plans in mind: “I was called and came into ministry kicking and screaming; I tried very hard not to do it. I entered college as a chemistry major.” Over a period of about six months, as Dr. Jones avoided confronting the Holy Spirit’s conviction, he watched as “all of that [chemistry] aptitude went away,” and the Lord enacted small changes in his life to bring him to the point of surrender.
When asked about his desire to teach, specifically, Dr. Jones answered, “I’ve always taught.” Even through his high school years, he taught Sunday School at his church, as one of the only members of it that knew how to read. As he describes it, “I’ve been teaching a lot longer than I’ve been preaching.”
Before God called him and his wife to MBU, Dr. Jones pastored three churches: Emmanuel Baptist Church in Decatur, AL, Gateway Baptist Church in Macon, GA, and Heritage Baptist Church in Frankfort, IL. Since living in Watertown, he served for a short time as interim pastor at Waupun Baptist Church, which has since called a full-time pastor to fill the position. With every step, the Lord has led the Joneses and they’ve responded, stepping out in faith each time the Lord called them to a new ministry. Dr. Jones testifies of the incredible influence of the Lord’s leading in their latest move, from Frankfort, IL to Watertown, WI: “When I resigned [from Heritage Baptist Church], I didn’t know where we were going; I just knew it was time, with the Lord’s leading, to step out in faith, and an important time for the church, too. I was getting older; my energy and my vision were getting old, too, and we were not what the church needed any longer. I was talking to a couple of other colleges, both in the South, that did not materialize. We basically came to MBU by faith.”
A Program Born
That faith would be the spark that started Maranatha Baptist Bible Institute. “Dr. Marriott and I talked about a Bible institute for years,” Dr. Jones recalls. “He was still in Michigan when we first started talking about it, and he wanted to do one here for a long time.” The Lord had specific plans in mind for MBBI, and He allowed it to come into fruition at a time when Dr. Jones knew it was time to move forward from the pastorate.
When asked the value of teaching at Maranatha, Dr. Jones replied that it gives him “an opportunity to impact the next generation.” He desires to communicate a passion for the Word of God to students who may not necessarily become pastors, and he testifies that this is what gets him up in the morning: “[Teaching at Maranatha] allows me to continue to be active in ministry and gives me a level of interaction with believers that I would miss greatly if I did not have it. And, hopefully, it gives me some vision for the future through these young people.”
These people, the students, are Dr. Jones’s favorite thing about Maranatha: “There is an atmosphere here that is better than most institutions,” he asserts. His advice to prospective students is this: “Get past the fun of being here and truly get to know us, the faculty. Find our heart, and maybe you’ll catch some of our vision.”
The vision of Maranatha is to prepare students to serve “to the praise of His glory,” and Dr. Jones agrees that the Bible Institute fits this mission well: “The mission is to prepare young adults for life and ministry concurrently. It [MBBI] is intensely Bible.” The MBBI students are fed a significant amount of Bible content, even more than the core courses in the university. Additionally, a number of hands-on, practical application courses teach the students about the practices of ministry itself, and the students are required to become involved in local churches while they’re at MBU.
As Dr. Jones has seen his vision grow and flourish, he agrees that God’s influence in his own life has prepared him to serve in this capacity, and he is grateful for the opportunity to pass on that influence to others. His prayer for Maranatha Baptist Bible Institute is this: “The goal is to send them back to their home churches significantly more prepared to serve there, or wherever the Lord leads them, and hopefully [the Bible Institute] motivates them to do just that.”
Learn more about Maranatha Baptist Bible Institute.