Will Jones had the talent to become a professional NBA basketball player. But instead he felt called by God to become an evangelist. Now his ministry is having an impact in nations around the world. On today’s podcast, you will learn about the strategic process Will uses to reach a region for Jesus. Every step begins with the letter “P” so listen closely so you don’t miss any…
Awakening Ministries International exists to reach the lost, to develop leaders, and to be a catalyst for church planting in unreached places of the world.
If you believe the whole world needs to be saved, check out The Evangelism Podcast hosted by Evangelism Coach, Daniel King
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:00):
Will Jones had the talent to become a professional NBA basketball player, but instead he felt called by God to become an evangelist. Now his ministry is having an impact in nations around the world. On today’s podcast, you’ll learn about the strategic process we’ll use is to reach a region for Jesus. Every step begins with the letter P so listen closely. So you don’t miss any.
Evangelism Podcast Host (00:31):
Jesus said, go into all the world and preach the gospel. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be welcome to the evangelism podcast with Dr. Daniel King, where Daniel interviews, full-time evangelists, pastors, missionaries, and normal everyday Christians to discover how they share their faith, their powerful testimonies, and amazing stories that will inspire you to reach people with the good news. And now here’s your host, missionary and evangelist Daniel King. Welcome to the evangelism
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:09):
Podcast. I’m Daniel King, and I’m excited about telling people about Jesus today. I’m with a very special friend in snowy, Minnesota will Jones. Thank you for being on the podcast.
Will Jones (01:24):
Ju it’s a joy to be here and Daniel Love you. My friend
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:27):
Will, and Jennifer Jones have been close friends with me and my wife, Jessica, for several years, we’ve had the opportunity to do several international trips together and participated in, in crusades and different parts of the world. And will is the founder and the president of awakening ministries international, a ministry that’s dedicated to evangelism into awakening, helping the church arise and helping the church get activated in their mission. So a brother will tell me a little bit about how you got started as an evangelist.
Will Jones (02:04):
Yeah. You know wow. It’s, it’s a crazy story. I mean, in short, basically I was born and raised in an area called East St. Louis. one of nine children. Mom took us to church. You had one or two options go willingly or be rolled in. So we chose the first option to go willingly and then came to the Lord as a, as a 14 year old and really didn’t follow Jesus until post high school almost post-college. And I had a radical encounter with Jesus, my junior year of college, and just really set me on a path to, to grow and be discipled. There was a local passion, the community in my college that helped disciple me and other athletes. And after that I pursued professional basketball. I didn’t really want to go into the business world, which is what my degree was in and pursued professional basketball for a couple of years went over to Europe and was there in the country of Belgium.
Will Jones (03:03):
It was a great opportunity to play and was radically living for Jesus sharing my faith in Europe, which was, it was awesome. But there, I hit a crossroads to really figure out what God had designed me for, what was his purpose of my life. And so set out for the seven day fast. I think anytime we fast and pray, then you’re going to hear from God. And so at the end of that fast I really heard from the Lord about prayers, I’d prayed as a kid growing up in a really impoverished city growing up with a lack of things, welfare just a crazy gamut of things. And the Lord really spoke to me about his purpose and call on my life. And he said, very clearly, I want you to preach the gospel.
Will Jones (03:51):
And I had no clue what that meant. I had a backslidden preacher, that was an uncle. But at that point in time, my athletic professional career was really trajecting. And so at the end of that fast during that fast, I asked God not to let any teams call me no agent calls from my agent, and I just wanted to hear him and sure enough, he did speak at the end of that fast very clearly. And then also at the end of that fast, I got another call. That call was from my agent who informed me that two NBA teams were very interested in my profile as a player. And I was asked to get to the NBA summer camp like the next week I decided to go. I decided not to go. But I decided to go and follow the call on my life to follow Jesus. And so I gave up that lucrative career of possibly playing professional basketball to become an evangelist. And just a couple of years after that the Lord led me to start AMI, which is awakening ministries international. And since then, we’ve just been preaching the gospel in countries that God has opened up the door, particularly focused on unreached groups in this season now. But it’s been a joy.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (05:00):
So as you’re going to these different countries, you are doing evangelistic festivals, you’re also developing leaders and you’re being a catalyst for church planning. So, so talk me through some of the countries that you’ve been doing that in and, and tell me what that looks.
Will Jones (05:19):
Yeah. So right now we are looking in to West Africa. It’s, it’s really kind of an untapped region. You know, it’s, it’s predominantly Muslim. A lot of those countries are Muslim by law. And so one of the countries we’re actually going to be focusing on is Sierra Leone. It’s a phenomenal country, great country of about 8 million people, but it’s about 60 plus percent Muslim. And the other 20 plus percent is probably animistic. And so Christianity is less than 5% there. So there’s a great opportunity. It’s open door. We’re really grateful to partner with some national organizations there, and these are going to be the really driving sustainable factor. They want to plant churches in some of the groups of people. You know, you have the mandate group you have to, Timne, you have the Kisii, you have several different major people groups that are really unreached there. And we’re partnering with these national organizations that want to plant churches and we’re coming alongside them strategically to help train believers and the contextual evangelism learning from them. What they’ve done, what they’ve done well what’s not working it. Didn’t really partnering with them with resources and training to be able to go and reach those people groups along with the national leaders. So that there’s a sustainable movement of disciples making disciples
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (06:40):
In 2017. You and I had the privilege of working together in the nation of Belize, doing a massive festival of hope for the entire nation of Belize. We did 10 crusades simultaneously in the 10 population centers across Belize. And it was just amazing what, what God did. And you participated by doing the, the Orange Walk district and one of our key coordinators to help, to organize all that was pastor manual. And I’m really excited because now pastor Manuel is on the staff of Awakening Ministries International. And it’s neat because God’s continuing the fruit of what happened there in beliefs. Tell me some of what your ministry is doing in beliefs and then what your plans are for Latin America.
Will Jones (07:34):
Yeah. You know, one of the other regions that we feel like the Lord is it’s really opening the door to as well as Latin America. It’s almost like the forgotten region. I would say. You know, there’s been a great history of revival and Argentina and Brazil and other countries, but there are still quite a bit of unreached people groups there in Latin American. So one of the countries that we’ve been entertaining as Ecuador there’s a large group of people that are called the Afro Ecuadorians that we’re privileged to learn about understanding their context and socialization there’s missionary partners during the ground through a national organization there as well. And so we’re really excited. And then what, what our goal was years ago and, and manual has been helping this he’s our Latin American director is we have an actual office in Belize, even though it’s central America.
Will Jones (08:26):
It kind of exists as a hub. And so, you know, we’re raising up some leaders that are from that central American country, but these it’s kind of almost like a melting pot because it has people from Ecuador and Honduras and other central or Latin American countries that’s in it. And our offices there we’ve got a small team that’s been built there and they’re really helping to mobilize for our evangelist mission festivals throughout Latin America. And so our goal in the future, like to really infiltrate areas and pockets of Latin America, that hasn’t been touched really just as well as some areas in Africa and eventually the middle East and continue to go where there is an unreached population that’s open and we can get into, to do the type of ministry that God’s blessed us to do through our festival model.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (09:15):
One of the things I really like about you will is that you are a very strategic thinker and you’re thinking about missions and how to impact different areas, how to really make a difference. And so talk me through your, your festival model and how that works in conjunction with some of the other elements of being really strategic about making an impact in a nation.
Will Jones (09:40):
Yeah. You know, I would just start off by saying Daniel man, I have to give honor towards do, because the late Reverend Billy Graham was like the father of this, and you can even go back to, you know, Billy Sunday and moody. And so many John Wesley, I mean, a lot of these men, great men of God paved the way for us to even think through strategy today. You know, even yourself, you know, I learned so much from you and, you know, the Palau organization and, and people that are years ahead of us. And so this model is almost it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s no point in reinventing the wheel in a sense there’s some tweaks and things that we needed to do contextually, but really we start out with, you know, I love alliterations cause I think they’re, they’re easy. So it’s a lot of P’s, but we start out with a really a prayer you know, as you can see, we’ve got this map behind us and we just kind of look for areas in the world through research and things that we can begin to pray about.
Will Jones (10:35):
And once we feel like God lays something on our heart there, we, we kind of moved toward organizing what we would call a pre-trip or an advanced trip in the, in that in that whole process, man, we’re looking for persons of peace. And so I was taught to do ministry best through relationships. And so a lot of times it’s not who, you know, is not what you know, but it’s who, you know. And so, and I know people that know people, but I also don’t know people that know people. And so once we can find what we would call a person of peace we, we usually try to land a pre-trip in that country and they’re not pre-trip we just try to figure out meeting with key leaders, key fathers and mothers of the city, spiritual fathers, governmental leaders, civic leaders that are Christian and even non-Christian and look at the spiritual state of that community.
Will Jones (11:26):
Look and see if they’re a good people groups there that are considered still unreached and, and see how we can partner with the heart of the nationals. I think that’s always the key, you know, our friends at Palau talks about, you know, and I, I’m probably going to Badger this quote, but it talks about how we work with the church in the church and through the church to some extent that quote was, and I would say that’s really our heart. If isn’t an established church there, then we try to partner with other organizations, which partnership is one of our values here at AMI to find if they’re planting, if they’re looking to plant new churches. And so we work with the locals, we work with them, we work through them. And with that, we lead from this pre-trip to really deciding, is this a place where we can be invited to partner with our, our brothers and sisters, once that partnership phases established, we then really move into the planning.
Will Jones (12:24):
And that’s when we began to plan established like committees and things like that. And you’re familiar with that as seasoned evangelists and look at really the socialization of that group, of people in that community, how are they functioning? What do they believe? Why do they believe it? What are the things that, that they worship is that animism? Is it, you know Islam, is it whatever, and, and look at what are the bridges to the gospel. And then we kind of find the barriers to it. And then we figure out, you know, prayerfully partnering with locals. What’s some of the best ways that we can contextually reach this group of people through a festival model. And so we began to plan that festival, that planning usually leads into what we would call the proclamation phase. And so based on that proclamation phase, that’s when we blitzed the region there we, we sent outreach teams out.
Will Jones (13:14):
We do conferences for pastors and leaders. We’ll do you know, if it’s conducive to that area, we’ll do business conferences whatever we need to do to blitz that community with the gospel and, and partner with those nationals. And then finally based on our festival happening within that week we move into what we would call the preserve phase where we really be getting, try to follow up with the churches, with the evangelism efforts discipleship to really begin to sustain the harvest. And then those organizations that we’ve partnered with we’ll plant they’ll plant churches or new or existing churches will be strengthened with new disciples. And so that’s, that’s pretty much what we’ve been doing,
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (13:57):
Do it all with the power of the Holy spirit. So you gotta bring some, some power from, from the Holy spirit, in every single phase of the strategic planning. That’s so tremendous. Will I, I’m just so excited about what God is doing through your ministry and how God has been promoting you. And, and when we first met, you really hadn’t done anything international. I remember we, we went together to, to Honduras and, and just had a did a an event there. And you were asking questions, how do you do this? How do you do that, that? And so it’s just so exciting to see what God has been been doing through your ministry. And I believe that the best is yet to come. If some of the, the, my listeners would be interested in supporting you and helping you out, what is your website that people can go to and find out more about you?
Will Jones (14:54):
Yeah. it’s, it’s awakening the word awakening. M as in Mary, I N T l.org, again, awakening M as in Mary, I N T l.org. All of our information is on there. You know, we love to send teams we love to equip churches and partners to go on mission with us. And so we love to have people that may be your audience and listening to come along and be, you know, a part of some of our missions teams and some of the countries that we’re going to be going in. And we’ve got opportunities for volunteerism, all of that. And so we’d love to have people we love to develop and grow people here at AMR.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (15:30):
Wonderful. Thank you for being with me on the evangelism podcast.
Will Jones (15:34):
Awesome. Thanks my brother. It’s just awesome. Keep up the great work, man. Love you.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (15:37):
Wow. It was so good to have will Jones on the evangelism podcast today. What a tremendous ministry he has. If you’re listening, I’d like to ask you to subscribe to our podcast. And also if you could go to iTunes and find the evangelism podcast and leave us a review, those reviews help other people who are excited about evangelism. Find this podcast. God bless
Evangelism Podcast Host (16:05):
For more information about how to share your faith or to financially support our worldwide evangelistic outreaches. Visit King ministries.com. Again, that’s King ministries.com.