|ALUMNUS: Jon Blair (2000)|
|MINISTRY: Grace Reformed Church (RCUS)|
|LOCATION: Greeley, CO|
|FAMILY: Wife – Wendy; four married children – Jesse (Kristy), Carson (Hannah), Jonathan (Chelsea), Anna (Garrett); three grandchildren – Taran, Rylee, Scout|
|When Jon Blair graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2000, he never imagined that he would come back to serve the Seminary one day as a member of its Board of Trustees. But that is just what happened when he was elected to the Board in 2008. He was recently re-elected and began serving his second three-year term in October.|
Rev. Blair, how does having been a student contribute to or enhance your service on Mid-America's Board of Trustees?
As a former student, it is has been very different coming back as a Board member. I think that my time in the classroom gives me a personal perspective for Board discussions and decisions that I hope is helpful to my fellow Board members who haven't had that experience.
You had another career for some years prior to attending seminary. Can you please share what you did before you came to Mid-America?
Prior to attending seminary I was a Certified Public Accountant, working in every sector: first in public accounting, then in governmental accounting, and then in private industry. I was a corporate controller just before entering seminary at the age of 40.
What led to your decision to attend Mid-America Reformed Seminary?
That is a story that began many years before actually attending Mid-America. I grew up in a conservative Baptist church in Oregon. My wife and I met in a Baptist church in Portland, and were married in 1983. I was active in the church, including serving as an officer, teaching Sunday school and Bible studies. This eventually led to attending a Baptist seminary in Portland as a part-time student in 1992. While there, I took an elective correspondence course on the theology of Jonathan Edwards, by John Gertsner. This is when I was first exposed to Reformed theology, and God began to shake my doctrinal and personal world.
Coupled with this class, God brought into my life a good friend with whom He had also been dealing in matters of doctrine. By the grace of God, through interaction with this friend, much reading and prayer, I embraced the Reformed (biblical) faith—first the doctrines of grace, and in time, covenant theology. It was not long before I knew I could no longer continue in the Baptist seminary, and that my family and I needed to be in a Reformed church. In 1994 we moved by faith—leaving family, friends, and job—from Northwest Oregon to Eastern Washington to be part of a Dutch Reformed Church.
What was the name of that church and how did that experience continue to lead you toward ministry?
It was the Orthodox Christian Reformed Church of Sunnyside, Washington. We enjoyed three wonderful years growing in the doctrine and life of the Reformed faith, coming to appreciate the rich confessional heritage and faithful summary of Scripture as expressed in the Three Forms of Unity. The Lord blessed me with a good job as a corporate controller, but in time I became restless as thoughts of the ministry rekindled once again.
There were other providential events that God used to further define my heart, but it all came down to an undeniable desire to preach and teach God's word that just would not go away. This was affirmed by my pastor, elders, and others (including my wife, who told me in January 1997 on my 40th birthday, "It's now or never!"). This led to attending Mid-America nine months later through God's perfect timing in making that decision, and His amazing provision of all the details that fell into place in making the transition with my wife and family. By God's grace, all doubts were removed, and we never looked back.
What made you chose Mid-America Reformed Seminary?
I chose Mid-America Reformed Seminary because of the primary focus of training men to preach the Word of God.
What churches have you served since your graduation from Mid-America?
I have served Providence Reformed Church in Rock Springs, Wyoming, from July 2000 to June 2006; and Grace Reformed Church in Greeley, Colorado, since July 2006. Both are congregations of the Reformed Churches in the United States (RCUS).
How would you describe your congregation and your church's location?
Greeley is located on the front range plains of northern Colorado, about 50 miles north of Denver. The city enjoys a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains to the west, and Rocky Mountain National Park is only about 45 miles away. Greeley is an agricultural-based city with a population of about 85,000. It is also home to the University of Northern Colorado.
Grace Reformed Church began in 2000 as a home mission church plant of the RCUS, with members and regular attenders now numbering 80-90. This includes a range of ages; several college students, newly married couples, younger and older families, empty-nesters (like me!), and some retired seasoned saints. Among other things, vocational fields include construction, teaching, information technology, plumbing, nursing, food service, trucking, engineering, oil and gas drilling, accounting and finance.
What are the particular challenges and joys of your ministry?
The joys center on preaching and teaching God's Word. This is always attended with many challenges in seeking to be focused and faithful to my calling in light of my own sins and weaknesses, and as well as those within a congregation. I hope I am learning to preach for God's glory and pleasure, and not so much man's response, although it is wonderful to see growth in the various dimensions of the church (e.g. maturity, purity, numerically, etc.).
It is notable that in the context of broader evangelicalism and the decline in pulpit ministry, newcomers to our congregation are very teachable in that they have come seeking the Word of God. Also, recently I had the great joy of baptizing my granddaughter, Scout!
How did Mid-America help prepare you for your calling?
Of the many ways Mid-America prepared me for my calling, what stands out in my mind (and of which I am often reminded and pause to thank the Lord), is teaching me to focus on the text using the tools and methodology for the proper and thorough exegesis of Scripture. This has served me, and I trust God's people, well.