The Rev. Tom Jones is the president and chief executive officer of City Rescue Mission, a faith-based homeless shelter dedicated to aiding indigent and homeless people in the Oklahoma City metro area.
Q. What will the biggest change be in the Oklahoma City metro area, in terms of the religious community?
A. The faith community is one of Oklahoma City’s greatest assets. Oklahoma City is known around the country as a faith-filled active community. Our churches are actively involved in the life and function of the people. When there is a special need that arises, the faith community rises up to meet the need. Oklahoma City is a diverse faith community and we recognize the benefit of that. Though there are thousands of different churches in the metro, most of them rally together to realize our strength is in the unity of our efforts. Over the next 20 years this will only become stronger. The denominational lines will never go away but the unity of the followers of all the churches will become stronger. As we see the unity operating today, it will only increase as time goes by.
Q. How do you define progress, and what would you like to see in the Oklahoma City faith community in order to see progress made?
A. Progress in the faith community is the ability to see the needs of the people over the structure of the cultural church systems. This is difficult sometimes because of the way people have been taught. But Christ’s mission was to touch the people right where they are and guide them to wholeness. We are seeing great progress in this area even today and I hope to see much more of it over the next 20 years.
Q. Where is the most potential?
A. The openness of the hearts of our citizens is where the greatest potential lies. Our youth of today are dedicated to touching ministry not just hearing about it. They want to experience the joy of helping a hurting, lost and hopeless individual. They understand meeting them right where they are, not judging them but embracing them with hope. Our future as a community of faith looks very bright. We still have the foundation of faith being taught to our families through thousands of active churches. This is our potential and it will be good.