By Robert Dilday
Virginia Baptists’ global missions strategy will mark a milestone April 30 with the retirement of Jerry Jones, who has overseen a 12-year expansion of the program.
Jones, a mission strategist for the past 40 years, has directed the Virginia Baptist Mission Board’s glocal missions team since 2002. Since then, Virginia Baptists have expanded an already developed program with additional partnerships and initiatives, working closely with the Baptist World Alliance, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Southern Baptist Convention, as well as other Baptist conventions and unions in the United States and around the world.
Among the initiatives is a highly-regarded disaster response ministry, which has trained and deployed thousands of volunteers to provide relief in crisis situations. The leader of that effort — Dean Miller, the Mission Board’s disaster relief and Virginia missions coordinator — will succeed Jones on May 1.
“Virginia Baptists are known around the world as a favored people with whom to partner because they take seriously their relationships with their partners,” Jones said. “It has been my joy to represent people who truly understand missions as relationship and continue to invest their lives as well as their resources in God’s Kingdom on earth.”
For nearly three decades before joining the Mission Board staff, Jones worked in various roles with the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board — as director of its student missions department, as a music missionary in Austria and eventually as administrator of its Austria-Italy mission.
“For the last 12 years, Jerry has been an incredible ambassador for Virginia Baptist partnerships and missions,” said John V. Upton, executive director of the Mission Board and the Baptist General Association of Virginia. “We have been extremely blessed to have him represent us around the globe.”
Miller joined the Mission Board staff in 1999, taking on his current role in 2005. He holds degrees from both Averett University in Danville, Va., and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.