In 1991 I was nationally known as the boy who literally screamed his ABCs while at a school program, on America’s Funniest Home Videos. I was five years old when we became the first African American family to ever win America’s Funniest Home Videos grand prize, and we instantly became celebrities.
I had the pleasure of growing up in church. My family and I attended Community Fellowship Baptist Church of Missouri City, Texas, where my father was the pastor. Although I am technically a third generation pastor (my great grandfather on my mother’s side was a pastor) you could say it was destined for me as well. However, my journey was different.
The most pivotal time in my spiritual journey was during my senior year in college. I was introduced to a professor, Dr. Michael Brown, who gave a lecture about religion and creation. During his lecture, the more I listened, the more I realized that he was answering many of the questions I had for some time about religion and God. I was so intrigued that after the lecture that I approached him and told him that I wanted to learn more. He advised me to apply to divinity school, and if I got accepted that he would take care of everything else.
That night when I returned to my apartment, I decided to make a promise to God. I promised him if I got into divinity school, I would not go to the NFL combine. The combine is a chance for college students to participate in physical and mental tests with hope of being scouted by the NFL. It was only a couple of months away. The combine was everything I had been working towards for so long, so I kept preparing not thinking that I would ever get into divinity school, I was extremely shocked when I was accepted into Candler School of Divinity at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. I pride myself in being a man of my word so I didn’t go to the NFL combine, which was only two weeks away at the time of my acceptance. I enrolled at Candler, and shortly thereafter my eyes were opened up to the different ways people saw God, and the many ways theologians and philosophers interpreted and researched God.
I went to Emory University for my Divinity degree from 2007 to 2010, where I gained experiences preaching at churches and venues throughout the United States and Carribean. It was in those moments that I believe I completely submerged myself in the pursuit of my purpose. This is very different from identifying it. After you come to learn what’s expected of you, you either choose to accept or walk away from that expectation. For me, I realized that when my hunger and my drive to further understand God and share his word were primary concerns for my life, I knew I found great joy in being able to explain things to people that may not have had a spiritual background or upbringing. It’s only when I took pleasure in that purpose, that I was completely activated.
After that opportunity, I believe more than ever that I had been specifically tasked with reaching those in my generation, millennials. And I’ve found that we are one of the most difficult generations to reach because financial and material gain play a large role in the motivation for growth. So I asked myself, what can I do to set my message apart? What would it take for me to align the word of God with everyday issues? I quickly decided that all I needed to do was to be real and relatable. The scripture says that our people perish for lack of knowledge. Although I see our generation as heavily intelligent, I continue to watch us perish from lack of understanding and guidance. I believe that we need someone to motivate and encourage us to navigate the world God’s way. Therefore, I accepted God’s calling on my life to be the one to do so.
Presently I am regarded as a husband to Sparkle Jones, father of two beautiful children (Summer and Carlos III) and a non-traditional pastor, formally known as Pastor Carlos Jones II; as a man, I try every day to counter that lack of faith I had in people as a child, with motivating and encouraging people to be the best version of themselves.