Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 23, 2016


Jones leading local congregation

Their hands are empty and their arms are open.

That’s what Andalusia native and new Central Church pastor Trip Jones said this week.

The son of John and Amy Jones, Trip grew up in Andalusia, graduating from AHS in 2006 and earning a degree from the University of Alabama in 2010.

He spent two years at law school, but he said God had a different plan.

“It’s not my plan. God’s


ways are higher than ours,” he said. “I grew up here and you never say when you get married that you want to be in Andalusia, but you have your eyes opened when you leave. My wife, Lori and I are close to our families.”

He is currently in seminary school to earn his master’s degree in divinity.

Trip said he grew up going to Central Church and was the youth minister until going to Lewisburg, Tenn.

“I felt the calling to come back here and be the pulpit minister,” he said. “There’s something special about Andalusia, and you really recognize that after you leave here. There’s also something special about this congregation. They are an extension of my family. I’m lucky to be here.”

Trip said his goals as the new pastor are to help Central Church become a church that when you enter the door you see a reflection of the reality of the life and teaching of Jesus and his grace and mercy.

“We are not content keeping house for the Lord,” he said. “We want to transform members to ministers and spectators to priests. We want people to say when they see us that the have seen Christ in us.”

Trip said youth are a focus of the church.

“It is my opinion that they are the now of the church,” he said.

Next month, vacation Bible school will be held each Wednesday night and there will be a youth Sunday, where youth will conduct the service.

“We are a grace-filled, spirit-led congregation and we may not traditionally reflect the Church of Christ,” he said. “We are more of a progressive church. When it comes down to it – it’s all about Jesus. We can debate theology and dogma, but I don’t believe there will be a Baptist circle, Methodist circle, Church of Christ circle when we get to heaven. We will all be together in perfect peace and harmony.”

Trip said they aren’t actively recruiting people from other churches.

“Everybody here is welcome,” he said. “We have empty hands and open arms. Come worship with us so we can have this shared experience. We are all saved by the grace of God and are here to serve others and share that grace. We are a church of all races, genders and socio economic backgrounds all bound together by the love of Christ.”

On Wednesday nights they are currently doing a book study by Phillip Yancey, “Jesus I Never Knew,” and on Sunday night, “Love Does” by Bob Goff.

Service times are 9:30 a.m., for Sunday School; 10:30 a.m. morning worship and 5 p.m., evening gathering. Wednesday evening gathering at 6:30 p.m.

The church is located on South Three Notch Street near the Christian Service Center.