ARC Women Spotlight | Arial J. Jones
ARC Women Spotlight | Arial J. Jones
August 9 2016
At ARC we celebrate the wonderful diversity of women who stand beside their husbands and so courageously help lead their churches! Whether they stand up front as a co-pastor, help behind the scenes in the office or as a part of the Dream Team, or stay at home and manage the business of the household, ARC Women is made up of all kinds of leading ladies with different stories and backgrounds. We are all bonded by a common mission and often all have many of the same struggles, thoughts, and wins as we walk through similar seasons in our lives. We have added this ARC Women Spotlight section to highlight these beautiful ladies once a month, as a reminder that we are a part of an incredible community of incredible women. We hope you enjoy seeing the faces and hearing the stories of our very own ARC Women!
Our first ARC Woman Spotlight segment features Arial Jones, who alongside her husband, Edwin, planted The Bridge Church in Hampton, Virginia. They have a young son and daughter and are expecting their third child in February 2017.
Name: Arial J. Jones
Church and City: The Bridge Church – Hampton, VA
Launch Date: September 2014
Current Role: Administrative Director and “floater”
Family: Edwin (husband), Josiah 3, Aubrey 1, and baby #3 on the way early 2017
What were your feelings when your husband told you that God had called him to plant a church?
I was at complete peace with it, which was surprising to me. We had just gone through an extensive candidate process with a local church that ended up not being a fit. I was relieved to know that God had allowed that to not happen so The Bridge could. Planting meant that God could do a new thing in our city and for me, I didn’t have to worry about filling the shoes of the previous “first lady.” I was free to be me!
Tell us about a time that you were in complete awe of what God can do during your time as a planter’s wife:
I think I am constantly in awe of what God can do through us. I feel the most this way when I hear stories of how lives have been changed as a result of being connected to The Bridge. Marriages have happened, babies born, communities formed, all because we were faithful in following God. I know that my support of my husband’s vision plays a major role in our faith walk and I am humbled to be a part of God’s plan. One thing that freaks me out a little bit is how our obedience to God and our leaps of faith open the doors for others to leap as well. As we are transparent in sharing about the faithfulness of God in our lives, others are inspired and have hope that He can provide for them as well. Allowing God to use our story to inspire others is truly a gift.
For you personally, what was your biggest challenge or struggle during the planting process and what did you learn from it?
There have been times over these past 3 years (including pre-launch) when I’ve felt like we had no clue what we were doing. I just knew at some point along the journey someone would step in and say “you are doing this all wrong…you’re screwing this whole thing up.” I’ve also wrestled with what my role in the church should look like. I used to worry about what I should do and who I should connect with; I wanted everything to be perfect and for everyone to feel loved by our church. It was once I released myself from the weight of being the welcoming committee for The Bridge, and from the desire to be perfect, that I felt at peace at what God was doing through me. My role at our church is something that is and will always be fluid. What works for our family today may not work when the baby comes and I have to be okay with that. Our family is on a journey and I want each of us to enjoy it every step of the way and that means me too!
How has being a part of the ARC Women community been a benefit to you?
I had the pleasure of being able to connect with a group prior to launching. Each of those women were on the same page as me, walking the same road and all of us had our doubts about what we were doing. It was so refreshing to know that I was not alone in my insecurities. Each month we met online to pray, vent, cry and share practical resources that we were using in our plans. The pre-launch phase would have been a tougher road to travel without my tribe of ARC Women!
What was one thing you wish you knew before planting a church?
One thing I wish I knew is that there was no way for me to fully prepare for all that God was going to do or how amazing this all was going to be. I would tell myself that there were going to be times of disappointment. People are going to leave, volunteers are not going to show up, and things will most definitely get broken, BUT God is ALWAYS going to do GREAT things in spite of whatever happens. I was fully qualified when He called us to do the very thing He was calling us to do, and believing that in the beginning would have saved me nights of worry and doubt.
August 9 2016