Community mourns death of Belding pastor


By Curtis Wildfong • Last Updated 10:31 am on Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Smyrna Bible Church Pastor Mike Jones, back left, is pictured last summer with his family, from left; back row, Telson and Blessing; middle row, Azariah, Aletheia, Talitha and wife Tina; and in front Isabella. Mike Jones died suddenly Sunday at his home at age 46. — Courtesy photo

OTISCO TOWNSHIP — The final slide of what would have been Pastor Mike Jones’ sermon Sunday morning asked his congregation one question: “What does my faith tell the world?”

Telling people about the fellowship of God was Jones’ main goal in life, said his wife of nearly 22 years Tina Jones.

Mike Jones, pastor of Smyrna Bible Church near Belding, died unexpectedly Sunday morning at home from bleeding in the brain. He was 46 years old.

“It wasn’t a job for him. Anytime of the day, if someone needed something, he would be there for them,” said Tina Jones.

And that was especially true for his six children, Telson, 18, Talitha, 16, Aletheia, 14, Blessing, 13, Azariah, 12, and Isabella, 4. Whether taking them on fishing trips, being their No. 1 fan in sports or just being a listening ear, Tina said Mike was always there for his children.

“He would stop what he was doing to be there for his children. Whatever their passion was, was his passion,” she said. “God came first, then his family and then his church family.”

Love of family and a depth of faith brought Mike Jones and his family to Montcalm County. Originally from Washington, Mike met his wife, originally from Canada, at Florida Bible College in Kissimmee, Fla. Tina said the two then bounced from state to state, following the path God laid for them. They went from Florida to Maryland, back to Florida, and to Illinois before finding a permanent home near Belding, where Mike was hired as pastor of Smyrna Bible Church.

“When he came, everybody said this was the guy,” said Gordon Parker, a board member of the church. “His personality was such he mixed well with all ages.”

Parker’s wife Sally said “Pastor Mike” was a perfect fit with the church and its members.

“He brought great youth and excitement to the church,” she said. “He’s been just a wonderful asset to the church.”

Funeral services for Mike Jones will be 1 p.m. Friday at Smyrna Bible Church, 4864 Whites Bridges Road. Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Johnson-Feuerstein Funeral Home in Belding.

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