Stellar Award-winning as well as Grammy-nominated recording artist and Pastor of Free Life Church Canton ‘Cajo’ Jones spreads the word to Right On! Digital about his innovative ways of thinking.
Pastor Jones grew up attending the traditional church, but he now seeks to change the way that the Christian faith is perceived in the African-American community. He no longer accepts the old ways where individuals are turned away from the church because of how they’re dressed or how they’re seen in society. He wants his church to be the entrance of freedom of life and a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jones frequently speaks at schools and centers with at-risk youth to encourage them as well as guide them to take the right paths in life. He understand his methods are unconventional, however, he feels that the unconventional methods may be the best way to attract today’s youth. In an exclusive interview, he shares his ideas on bringing younger people into the fold.
BY CYNTHIA HORNER
Q: Can you address the fact that a lot of young people are not filling the pews and churches these days?
A: I think the situation shouldn’t be looked at by those (who attend church) in a negative way. You see, in the last 20 years, you haven’t had to go to church to get The Word. If you remember when there was no internet, computers or phones, everybody had to go to church to get The Word. But now you can go online and a mom doesn’t have to show up at church with the babies. So church attendance may have gone down, but God attendance has gone up! It depends on what your motive is for people being in church.
Also, people are streaming on Facebook, too. You could “go to” eight or nine services if you want and could you can get The Word seven days a week whereas before you could only get The Word on Sundays! I would say that The Word is more accessible now than it has ever been. You can go to church in another country if you need to. Now the 13 to 30 age group hasn’t been in church in a long time. People may start coming more after that age for instance if you get married, settle down or there’s a life-changing situation.
Q: How can we increase the numbers, especially with young men?
A: Fight fire with fire. The things that appeal to young people and men are not always in church. If you put a basketball hoop anywhere, people will come. Then in the middle of a game you can give The Word. Why not be more intentional about attracting people to church? Jesus was more intentional about giving people The Word. He was very intentional about being where he needed to be and when he needed to be there. Young people gather all the time and in some places the church can be there to mentor. But oftentimes, the church wants the young people to come to the temple (the church) instead. We’ve got to go out there. It’s not that people don’t want God, but the sometimes people are set in their ways about how they want to give you God. You have to be creative nowadays.
Q: You did a video “Repin’ My God” with Kierra Sheard, which we posted on Right On! Digital. Can you talk about that experience?
A: That’s my sister! I was delighted when they called me to do that song with her. We did it a couple of years ago; it just took awhile to get the video done. They did a great job on that video.
Q: What else are you working on?
A: I just released a project called “Ghost” which is a two-part project. Some of my heroes are going to be on the second project which comes out soon. I have John P. Kee and The Williams Brothers and it’s a mixture where quartet meets hip hop. It’s going to be a real fun record.
Q: Do you compete with yourself and try to top your success?
A: I try to create based on where I am and sometimes a project is made for a specific purpose. “Ghost” was my honoring my (late) mother. It was for me personally, not to get any awards. It was healing for me and it could be for you. I don’t look at projects and say, “I’m going to kill them with this.” I’m flexible when I write songs.
Q: What inspires you?
A: I play this Candy Crush game all the time. It’s the most addictive game you can ever play. But it relaxes me. In my quiet time, the songs come out of the time. My hobby happens to be my profession and I always have fun and don’t get burned out. I’m always ready to make new content. It always flows.
Q: Can you give us a message for our readers?
A: I think you need to be confident in what God made you. Continue to walk with Him. People sometimes try to find a way around a higher power, but there is no higher power than God. Do you. One day people will appreciate your individuality!