Pastor Michael L. Jones
delivers God’s Word as softly as a spoken lullaby.
The Oakland, Ca., native is the Pastor and founder of Harvest Community Church in east Birmingham/Center Point.
Jones, or "Pastor Mike," can masterfully convey a lesson about sacrificing our all for God's greater blessings by simply telling the story of a little girl reluctantly giving her father her cherished plastic pearls in a surprising exchange for real ones. Just like that father, Jones reminds, God wants the best for His children, but we've got to trust Him.
"I'm just sayin'," he says with a loving smile. " 'Amen?' or 'Oh me?' "
Pastor Mike, a humble but proud alumnus of Morehouse College, has been preaching since the 1980s beginning with the Campus Crusade For Christ ministry Here's Life, Birmingham, Inc. and serving as Associate Minister at Sardis Missionary Baptist Church under the late Rev. Samuel P. Pettagrue, Jr. Following that, Jones says he and his wife, Kimberly, "sensed the call of God" to plant a church in the mid-1990s.
"After counseling with our Pastor and receiving his blessing, we moved in faith," Jones said. "Our passion was to establish a community of worshipers, committed to Christ, commissioned to serve and called to pray without ceasing."
Harvest started in 1995 as a home Bible study in a Sun Valley residence. The church held its first worship service on Easter Sunday in 1996 at Sun Valley Elementary School. Harvest later moved to storefront space in the Queensbury Shopping Center for nine years before purchasing its current site at 4465 Pinson Valley Parkway in 2005.
Pastor Mike's sermons are life lessons often peppered with stories of his wife and daughters: Candace, Temperance, Christina, and Tiara, along with church members. He lovingly adds to his village by teaching at Birmingham Theological Seminary, coaching youth at Restoration Academy High School, and serving as Character Coach of men’s basketball at Birmingham Southern College.
Besides earning his B.A. degree from Morehouse in 1984 and Master of Religious Education in 2000 from Birmingham Theological Seminary, he is a founding member of the Birmingham Emmaus Community. He also serves on the boards of directors of Grace House Ministries in Fairfield and Blueprint Ministry in Tuscaloosa.
With all of his activities and pastoral duties, Jones admits that work-life balance for a pastor often is a myth.
"There are seasons when we live out of balance, but we must have a rhythm to our service," he said. "Just like Jesus, we must do what is required, and then when we have exhausted our personal capacity, we must pull back and rest.”