I had a unique vantage point for today’s announcement from Stephen Jones that he would step down due to his ongoing health trials (see official word from BJU here). I was sitting on the FMA platform behind him waiting to receive my ten-year service award (a cool Seiko solar watch with the new BJU emblem on it!).
I suppose what was unique about my vantage point was mainly that I could see Dr. Jones’ back and nothing else, but I still felt closer to the action somehow. And there on that stage I could feel the genuine love Stephen Jones expressed to the Lord and to the student body. I also, sitting up close, felt I was not watching a scripted show but a genuine outpouring of a heart that wanted to please God. I can say the same for Larry Jackson, BJU board chair, and his gracious comments to Stephen.
There are unhelpful things that can be said on social media about Dr. Jones’ departure. I’m sure they’re being typed as I type. I’m going to do my best not to run across them. But may I be permitted a simple public thank you to this public figure? (Although my blog is about as public as a given drop in the ocean.) Now that he’s not going to be my boss anymore, maybe I won’t sound like a toady, but like what I am: a fellow Christian who has prayed for him for years.
Thank you, Dr. Jones, for your faithful leadership even through three years of sickness. You stayed upbeat by God’s grace, and you made as lasting an impact on the students through your response to trial as you did through your policies. I see God’s grace in you, and I believe you have done BJU a great deal of good. I will faithfully pray, as you asked, for the BJU executive board as they search for what is one sense an impossibility: a replacement for you.