Reverend Cassandra Aline Jones, PhD, is indeed a citizen of the world. Her heart was opened to learning about global missions in her early childhood and youth while an actively involved member of the Historic Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, California. She knew global missions was something important, because whenever missionaries visited in the main sanctuary, the Children’s Church and the Youth Church did not meet. Everyone had to gather in the main sanctuary to hear from missionaries “who looked like us”, and learn about where God was working in nations we had never visited. Hearing from these men and women was always fascinating for Dr Jones and at that time, she had no idea God would send her to those very places in due time.
Global Missions principles became more concrete when Dr Jones experienced her first global missions experience as a youth (teaching VBS in Manilla Philippines, Tokyo, Japan, and Hong Kong, China). Since that incredible experience of sharing the ministry with youth from across America to children and youth in Asia, her life has evolved and developed in ways she never could have imagined. The importance of effective training was taught in her first preparation / training experience.
Training for serving cross-culturally should be energetic, relevant, participative and specific for the culture. That first cross-cultural, global experience in ministry deepened her appetite to learn more and be a participant in the transformation of lives for global missions – especially in the African American church.
In most of Dr Jones’ mission experiences, she was the only African American on the team – even when she went to the African continent for the first time in 1991. This was deeply concerning for her. Through her local statewide, and national denominational affiliations, she began focusing on the need for relevant missions education, the knowledge of missions realities at home and abroad, and the requirement of re-imagining our work as it pertains to the commission Christ has already given to the church universal.
Since 1978, Dr Jones has experienced ministry in global missions in over 60 nations around the world. She has mentored guided those answering the call as full-time missionaries. Although God clearly did not call her to living and serving abroad permanently, he did call her to a lifetime of missions in a unique form:
Missions’ motivator throughout the African American Community
Training churches and teams to serve in other nation’s through teaching, the arts, sports, and leadership development
Teaching in seminaries through Visiting Professorships (China, South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia)
Being ready to GO when called
“Dr J” brings all of her life’s experience to her ministry in missions. Prior to 1994, her life was all about music. Since the age of four she has been student of the piano and voice and since the age of 10, the violin. She earned her Bachelors of Arts degree (Spelman College) in Music Performance and her Masters degree (Southern Methodist University) in Music Education before teaching for 13 years in the Dallas I.S.D. (choral music, musical theater and public speaking). Her gifts have always been teaching, leadership and the arts. After responding to the call to the Gospel Ministry Dr J earned the Masters of Educational Ministry and Doctor of Philosophy degree (Administration) at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr J was the first African American female to earn the PhD in the history of SWBTS. Her post doctoral work includes Princeton Theological Seminary.
After a few years of serving in executive positions on church staffs, Dr Jones began professorship in the academy of higher education. As a professor of Educational Ministry she has had opportunities to design courses in missions, develop degree programs for accreditation agencies, and develop integral learning experiences for leaders of 21st century congregations. Currently, she serves on faculty of three theological seminaries and one undergraduate college. Her missions background has prepared her to have an integral role in preparing students and faculty in the cultural awareness as one of the institutions will greet international students from Kenya, Fall 2022.
A former SIMUSA board member, Dr Jones served for 10 years. Her passion for missions, while being a spiritual presence, is very evident as she serves as one of the chaplains at the Charlotte International Airport. Other board memberships include: MeckMIN (Mecklenburg Interfaith Network), Women In Ministry (mentoring African American women as they pursue their doctoral degrees), while contemplating additional board requests. International Ministries (American Baptist Churches, USA) selected Dr Jones to serve the churches in the southeast region as the Special Assistant – Short Term Missions.
Dr J is also a faculty member for PERSPECTIVES On The World Christian Movement, where she focuses on Class #12 Christian Community Development.
Above all, the heart of ministry for Dr. Jones is evangelism and global missions. “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” (Romans 15:20-21.)