NEW LEXINGTON — Pastor Brad Jones started his work at the Church of Christ in Christian Union in December of 2018. His story has led to him attempting to implement a new faith-based recovery program to help the people of Perry County and beyond.

Jones grew up in the Village of Adelphi in Ross County. He spent his childhood days having fun riding bikes and playing ball. When he was in sixth grade, he was on his way home from a youth softball game when he said that he heard “The Lord” speak to him about becoming a pastor.

“I remember pausing and looking because it felt so real that I thought someone was behind me,” Pastor Jones said.

Jones continued walking when he heard the voice again call him by name. At that point, Jones became confused.

“I thought at that point, ‘I can’t be a pastor — you have to be good to be a pastor and I can’t behave’,” Pastor Jones told The Perry County Tribune.

He said that as a child he was a loud and talkative, which got him into trouble sometimes. He kept going to church until he graduated high school, and going off into the world, Jones married at the age of 27.

“I was leading a normal life,” he commented.

Jones worked at the Chillicothe VA Hospital for 18 years. He divorced his wife during that time leaving him in, what he described as, “a mess.”

He later reconnected with his youth leaders from his old church from when he was a kid. Jones was 33 when he decided to go back to church

“Over a several month period of inviting me, I finally went back,” he continued.

After getting back to the church, Jones decided to rededicate his life. He met his now wife in church and they married in 2005. He stated that he heard God calling his name again and decided to answer the call. He left his job at the VA hospital to pursue a career as a pastor.

Jones went to college at Ohio Christian University in Circleville for his undergraduate and graduate degrees. His main focus of study was in Christian Ministries and was the salutatorian of his class for his undergraduate degree.

His journey has landed him in New Lexington at the Church of Christ in Christian Union where he has been the pastor since December of 2018. Jones stated that he understands some of the issues that are in Perry County when it comes to poverty and drug addiction. He plans to partner with Celebrate Recovery Ministry, which offers a Christ-centered 12-step program to help those that need help.

Celebrate Recovery started in 1991 at a church in Lake Forest, California called Saddleback Church, according to celebraterecovery.com. There are currently 35,000 Celebrate Recovery churches around the world. The program was named California’s state-approved substance abuse program in August of 2004.

“We are in the process of doing the training and seeking information to try and get that started up,” he added. He also noted that he hopes to get the program started at the church in the late fall of this year.

“I just felt that there is such a need for this type of recovery program in this area,” Jones said.

The church plans on working with health agencies that assist people with addiction. The 12-step faith-based program is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous but with a focus on faith and religion. Jones has not reached out to other health and recovery agencies at this time.

“My heart’s desire is for people in Perry County to find our church. It’s a county filled with beautiful people,” he concluded.

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