Harvest Table

Getting to Know the Bride of Christ at Metro Life Church - Melodye Jones

melodyeWhat would be a sign of a strong friendship to you? For me it is being able to tell my next interviewee that she is part of a series aimed at getting to know the ladies in our church. I told her that I wanted to emphasize that we are The Bride of Christ and add the twist of the old wedding tradition of a bride having Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue for her wedding.

That is how I framed my time with Melodye Jones, my friend of nearly forty years.

She then looked me square in the eye and said, “I’m the something old, aren’t I?”

Yes, my discerning friend, you are; and I’m right there with you.

As those of you at Metro Life Church know, Melodye is married to our founding pastor, Danny Jones. Danny is “retiring,” so they are embarking on a new season. Melodye is a treasure trove of wisdom and has walked by Danny’s side through the entire history of our church. The questions that I asked her are geared toward how she values relationships, as well as giving you an opportunity to get to know her.

Me: Everyone doesn’t go off and start a church with their husband. There are lots of new beginnings for people, but this is unique. Tell us about the early days at Metro Life. What was it like to start a new work?

Melodye: Terrifying! Danny had been doing a 6 am Bible study for a year or so at our former church, Calvary Assembly. His desire for New Testament reality was growing as they studied Acts. As newlyweds we had struggled financially but always saw God meet our needs, sometimes to the penny. Calvary had been a place of healing for us, as well as a job that paid our bills. As we began to realize what God was leading us to do, I told Danny that I was willing to leave. There was no fear of provision because God had met our needs in crazy ways in the past. We had faith and three months of income. We asked ourselves – then what? We wanted to start small and were a little disappointed the response was so large, but we had faith and excitement and a community of people. That was 1985.

Me: What about being part of Metro has been the biggest blessing to you?

Melodye: The relational part – coming from such a big church, we were now forced to build our own community, raise kids, learn, fail and grow together. It felt like a safe place where we were able to live honestly and closely with others.

Me: Any tips for balancing serving the church and family?

Melodye: This is a constant issue, and one that we didn’t always do a great job with. Working on communication with and support of our kids was important. We were immersed in their lives whether they liked it or not, but there was constant tension between who would be coming first. With Danny being sick for the last five years and not being able to go to church like we always had (which never was an option before), we both understood what it was like to come on Sunday and the sacrifice it is to make that a priority when you don’t have to. You can be a Christian and not go to church, but it is clear that the Lord wants you part of a body. We’ve seen a whole different perspective now, though still there is the tension. Family is very important. God is very important. Balancing your relationship with the Lord and family and blending those two – it doesn’t just happen. It takes work to make sure it does. Listen to the Lord. For instance, the Sunday that God told Danny to stay home from the service. Rom 5:3 - suffering does produce endurance and endurance character. Scripture is true. Embrace what God is saying. Resist and you don’t learn as much.

Me: How did you build friendships with other women?

Melodye: When the kids were young it was practical needs that brought friendships. We all had kids and were home schooling – trying to figure out what we were doing. Make a decision that you are going to open up and purposely be transparent with people you make a connection with (not to everyone, of course). Ask for help. Ask for observations. Come together with a mutual desire to build something deeper. Talk about what is going on in your heart. Ask for prayer. That will build deep relationships.

Me: Are there any women who mentored you?

Melodye: Elaine Polino. Back in our Calvary days Elaine was the wife of the church administrator. She seemed to lead a very normal life, and she was very approachable. She was a good mom and homemaker, and she cooked for us. She was truly a Proverbs 31 woman, not trying to fill a role. Before I knew what a mentor was I looked to Elaine. Being a part of a mega-church, normal was important to me. I did not have older women in my life when building Metro Life Church (other than my mom). Thinking back though, we were young and maybe would not have listened to them anyway. Now we are those people and have come to realize that the younger ones are not asking us questions and they are learning the hard way when sometimes they don’t have to. Now I listen more. Back then we didn’t think about what it is like to be in the next place in life. Now we think about it.

Me: Nowadays if anyone has a question about anything from getting a baby to sleep at night to helping with elderly parents, you don’t have to leave a computer screen to get an answer. Google it. Pinterest. Put it out there on facebook and probably other things that I haven’t heard of. While these are great tools, sometimes they can make you fearful or open to more opinions than you know what to do with. If you could create an app or website to help younger women in their daily lives, what would you post as an introduction to that sight?

Melodye: “Do not just get others’ opinions. Pray and ask God to lead you to discover what he would have you do in this situation.” Or, “How to go about finding relationships to talk about life (not on-line hidden behind a screen).” Answering questions about heart issues in your own life is important. The mom culture is about hot topics instead of what’s going on in the heart. No one wants to open up anymore. People are too busy knocking things off to-do lists, with the hope that maybe they can breathe.

Me: You had four kids who you stayed home with full-time. Being a stay at home mom can be lonely. Combine that with your husband’s busy and varied work schedule. What can you share to help women in that place?

Melodye: Be intentional. It is hard to have a lot of close relationships. Pray and ask God who he wants you to focus on to be mutually good for each other. Be intentional to make those happen. They are a life line.

Me: What are you reading lately?

Melodye: I have been reading books by Shauna Niequist. In Bittersweet, she expounds on how God gives you both bitter and sweet through life. Bitter helps you to appreciate the sweet. I have also enjoyed Bread and Wine. It focuses on hospitality, community and relationships.

Thank you, Melodye, for being an example of what it is like to open up with the ladies at Metro Life Church. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you and Danny next, and everyone is so thankful that you will continue to be part of our church family. 

Until we meet again,

Bonnie Anderson

 

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