Countless talented and scholarly individuals quietly reside in the University City area. One of them is the Rev. Dr. Clifford A. Jones Sr.
His published works can be found in several books. His newest book is titled "Becoming and Practicing What It Means to Be A Christian." And he has another book coming out in the spring.
"Becoming and Practicing What it Means To Be A Christian" is an easy read for anyone. The book is small, and the print is large. It has 60 pages of thought-provoking information to absorb.
"As a pastor, I wanted to define very clearly what it means to be a Christian in a very pluralistic society," said Jones. "There is a need and necessity of practicing one's faith in the community."
Jones has been a minister for 40 years. For about 30 of those years he has been the senior minister of the 8,000-member Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 3400 Beatties Ford Road. The church does mission and ministry work at home and abroad. With more than 60 ministries, it also houses a shelter for battered women.
Although Jones is a highly regarded Baptist preacher, one of his true loves is being a teacher.
Before his call to the ministry, Jones taught industrial arts at a high school in Rochester, N.Y. His bachelor of science degree is in education. He holds several other degrees, including a master of divinity, a master of theology and a doctorate from the Boston School of Theology. His excitement about education is apparent.
"For me, everything I do is from a teaching perspective," said Jones. "Our faith is one about teaching. ... Our Lord taught."
He truly believes that all aspects of life are lessons to be learned or taught.
The new book offers insight about the life-changing commitment of becoming a Christian. It requires using a Bible to help emphasize several points.
One quote in the book says, "Through a voluntaristic 'yes' to Jesus Christ, one's conversion begins." Jones explained, "A basic understanding of Christian faith requires an individual to accept and embrace Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and savior."
Jones has clear goals with this book.
"I hope people will come away with two things: a better understanding of being a Christian and (recognition) that, as a Christian, there is a responsibility to the community."
Although he knows it's important that individuals attend a church and that churches win souls, he thinks there is much more.
"I tried to push real hard the importance of practicing our faith," Jones said. "It is a religion to be practiced."
Copies of the book are available for $9 at the church bookstore, called The Gallery. Call Chandra Pretty at 704-391-3858 for more information. You can also order the book online at firstname.lastname@example.org.