Montana Christian College recently inaugurated Marvin Jones as its eighth president in a ceremony on the school’s campus in Kalispell, Montana.
Drawing from across Montana and states as far away as Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and California, those in attendance at the Oct. 20 ceremony included members of MCC’s Board of Directors, longtime friends of Jones, as well as Montana State Rep. Matt Regier. Inaugural speakers offered messages of encouragement and challenge for Jones as he begins his new role.
Others associated with Southern Baptist entities also attended: Emir Caner, president of Truett McConnell University, Cleveland, Georgia; Blake Thompson, president of Mississippi College, Jackson, Mississippi; and Adam Groza, Gateway Seminary, Ontario, California.
Keynote speaker Stephen Rummage, pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, shared his message from Titus 1:7–9.
Traits of Christian leadership
Rummage identified traits of a Christian leader and noted how “leadership is always stewardship.” Like a servant overseeing the master’s house, he’s not the owner of the house, but he’s been given responsibility for the house “because the master has charged him with it,” Rummage said. A Christian leader must be blameless, he noted, above reproach.
“A blameless leader is someone whom others have no reason to accuse of living inconsistently with his faith or his calling [and who] represents the Lord Jesus well,” he said.
A Christian leader “must hold fast to the trustworthy word of God,” Rummage said. Comparing biblical truth to an anchor, Rummage encouraged Jones to use that anchor to embolden God-called men and women in sound doctrine and to rebuke detractors against God’s truth.
Barrett Duke, executive director of the Montana Southern Baptist Convention, noted, “The Christian college sits at the intersection of church and culture.”
It prepares Christians to work in culture,” Duke said, noting he was pleased to introduce guest speaker Regier as one who brings biblical truth into the culture of his political role as a state representative.
Navigating challenges ahead
Regier shared how secular culture is growing increasingly antagonistic toward the biblical principles of humility and dependence on God. People in the ’90s were apathetic, he said. A decade later came mockery.
“Today, we’re moving into hatred,” said Regier, recalling that Jesus said not to marvel at the world’s hatred.
Regier pointed to the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision to remove the Bible from public schools and the 2021 Virginia 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision allowing mixed-gender locker rooms as evidence that Christians “aren’t the home team anymore.”
While lamenting the moral slide, Regier urged MCC and churches to continue teaching the “wisdom of Genesis and the wisdom of Revelation, and every book in between or we’re going to fail.”
Then Regier recited MCC’s mission statement: “Montana Christian College exists to instruct and mentor Christian students to shape the church and influence culture by reflecting the character of Christ,” he said. “Now that – that is hope. That is hope.”
Preparing to bestow the presidential medallion upon Jones, Duke said, “The Lord has clearly shown us that this is God’s man for Montana Christian College.”
Building a school to honor Jesus Christ
The medallion, Duke added, represents “the hopes, prayers and sacrifices of those who came before us, who had the vision to see that God’s people needed a biblically faithful college to train future generations.”
Jones noted during his message, “My vision has been well-stated by everyone on this platform. It is in my heart to help build, along with our good faculty, a school that will honor Jesus Christ.”
Regardless of the degrees students may earn, Jones said he wants graduates to depart from MCC “knowing that their purpose in life is to serve the Lord in their chosen vocation. That’s my goal.”