Our guest today, Jonathan Dobbs, shares about his ministry both in north India as well as here in the states. After serving in the Air Force for eleven years, Jonathan and his wife Lauren felt called into the ministry. Jonathan then attended seminary, earning his second degree, Divinity, in addition to his degree in Aeronautical Science and Safety.
From there he, his wife and children moved to India to plant churches and spread the Gospel. While in India, Jonathan learned quite a bit about the power of prayer in spiritual warfare as well as how to better minister to and disciple people. He now lives in Indianapolis as a pastor leading small groups, outreach, and other things to advance the Kingdom of God.Support Jonathan's Ministry
What we talked about
Getting to know Jonathan Dobbs
Our guest, Jonathan Dobbs, born and raised in Georgia, has a wife, Lauren, and six children, three boys and three girls. He has two master's degrees, one in Aeronautical Science and Safety, and one in Divinity. After serving in the Air Force for eleven years, Jonathan and his wife felt called into ministry. He attended seminary for some time and then served in north India in order to plant churches there. They are currently back in the States doing ministry in Indianapolis. Jonathan shares a little bit about his family and what he learned while serving in the Air Force.
Application of education
Having two masters’ degrees, Jonathan shares how each one has helped him not only in the Air Force, but also in ministry. He states that by having a degree in Aeronautic Safety and Science, he was able to do his job of recovering planes well, and with masters in divinity, he was equipped in how to answer theological questions throughout different cultures. Also, after having to move to different countries while on the Air Force, Jonathan learned how to be quick on his feet and adapt well to other cultures, which greatly helped him in ministry.
Meaningful verse and its application
“Commit your way to the Lord and trust in Him, and He will act.” Psalm 37:5.
God reminded Jonathan of this verse around 2007 after leaving the military. The verse really encouraged him and reminded him that God provides, not his job. While going to seminary and working a job that paid only ten dollars an hour, he had to learn to trust God and know that He would act on his behalf.
Season of struggle
As Jonathan served in north India, he faced quite a bit of spiritual warfare, and since he had never truly faced it before, he had to learn how to respond to it. In addition to having little knowledge on the issue, his wife and children were with him, which was hard for him to take. During that time, he had to learn the importance and power of prayer in order to fight the unseen forces.
Spiritual warfare in the States and how to fight it
Many believers tend to think that spiritual warfare only tends to occur in foreign, often third world countries where witchcraft and magic are heavily practice. Jonathan shows that spiritual warfare can occur in the States as well, and we as believers need to be equipped in how to face it. He suggests, from his personal experience, that praying Scripture, speaking testimonies, proclaiming what Christ has done, and praying for the lost are all ways in which to fight off demonic forces.
Good habits for growth
Jonathan shares that self-discipline for godliness is beneficial in spiritual development, referencing 1 Timothy 4:8. Self-discipline can be found through spending time in the Word, praying for people on the spot, and praying with your spouse, as well as other practices.
Story of God’s faithfulness
While ministering in India, Jonathan found himself overwhelmed by the cultural differences he faced. He didn’t know how God could use him since there seemed to be no connections between him and the culture surrounding him. He began to get into the Word more and, as he led others into the Bible, he began to see the transformation that he thought was impossible. Through that season of difficulty, he was able to see that God is faithful to bring about the change that we cannot bring through our own strength.
Engaging Missions Leadership MInute
Scott McClelland of FX Missions shares about facing opposition while following Christ.
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About the ministry
Reaching cities through discipleship
Jonathan informs us of how to reach those around us through discipleship. As he ministers, he devotes time to pray and ask God for laborers to be sent out into the harvest. He also serves at his local church. He suggests that sharing the Gospel to those in our communities and discipling them can be very effective for the Kingdom of God. Jonathan shares that looking for places of large congregation where people tend to meet would be a good strategy and starting point for spreading the Good News.
System for sharing the Gospel
Jonathan shares how he was trained to do ministry while serving in India. He lists five steps he uses in order to reach people. The first step is entry, or connecting with people, usually through prayer. The second step is Gospel proclamation, in which one would share his or her testimony, walk them through the Roman’s Road, or similar methods. Next, if the person is willing to listen, they would share a story of hope, and then they would list the seven commands of Christ (a format created by George Patterson). If the person were still open, then one would take them through the Word and begin long-term discipleship.
- Entry (connecting)
- Gospel Proclamation
- Story of Hope
- Commands of Christ
Current role as pastor
As a pastor at a church in Indianapolis, Jonathan currently orchestrates small group as well as outreach and leadership development. He primarily seeks to invest in people and encourage them. He also leads outreach nights and missions trips with his church. He shares about one of the church’s trips to New York where they had a two-day prayer sessions and then went out door to door ministering to and praying for people. These forms of service remind him that practicing ministry continually is important for believers.
Vision for ministry
Jonathan reflects on the goals he has for his ministry and what he longs to see from the seeds he’s been sowing. He hopes to see faithfulness in this generation, and would love to hear that they can no longer minister because every city has been reached and the Gospel has spread to the darkest places.
As for a small-scale vision, he desires to get people involved in Bible studies and have them hear the truths of God. By doing so, people would be able to hear the Good News and begin to be discipled by other believers.
From military to ministry
While Jonathan was in the Air Force seeking to become colonel, his wife took him to dinner one night and wanted to share something with him. She told him that she had been feeling that God was calling them into ministry. That statement rocked him to the core, because he had never considered it or planned on doing so. As he sought the Lord about it, he knew that his wife was right and that God was calling him to leave the Air Force and fight for the Kingdom of God.
Challenges and God’s hand through it
During his first week in seminary, Jonathan found out that his wife was pregnant with their fourth child. He also was failing his third or fourth class and felt extremely inadequate and questioned if God really wanted him there. As he wrestled with classes and faced another addition to his family, he began to see God’s faithfulness through it all. He eventually got his degree, and now has six wonderful children. Through God’s strength he was able to get through the difficult season.
Things you would’ve changed
Jonathan says that if he could change one thing in his past, it would be that he wishes he had been in prayer more. He believes that being in continual prayer would have better prepared him for God’s calling on his life.
What fuels your passion?
As he walks in ministry, Jonathan is greatly motivated by seeing those around him come to know and love King Jesus. His heart fills with joy when he hears people declaring what God has done for them. Seeing people walk in Truth and life pushes him on to continue proclaiming the Good News to those around him.
Focus on YOU, the listener
- “The army of God needs to mobilize. I think we need to bloom where we’re planted. I think we need to be intentional in that place. Everybody has relationships…there’s people you can touch that I can’t touch, and there’s people they can touch that you can’t touch. God has used relationships in that way; He’s a relational God.”
- “Learn how to do this with your personality and learn how to do it with your gift-set that God’s given by the Spirit.”
- “Wherever you happen to be, get equipped.”
- “God is going to use you to mobilize His Kingdom and magnify His glory among the nations.”
Where to get equipped
Jonathan shares some organizations and websites that believers can go to if they desire to learn how to better minister in their communities. He also suggests making connections with local ministries and watch how they work.
Surrounded by nations
- “We speak the language of love internationally…and a lot of these guys are just looking for friends.”
- “Finding a way to get involved in their life and to have a real relationship with them is a starter.”
- “It’s really just laying a foundation of who God is.”
Internet and book resources
- The Jesus Paradigm
- A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God's Love
- Handbook to Prayer: Praying Scripture Back to God
Parting advice and contact information
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- “Look to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
- “We’re all called to be ministers, and we’re all going to have hard days, and we need to look to Jesus, who saved us, right? And on the cross He has paid the sin debt of the world and me, and He despised going to on the cross, but He had joy, because He knew it was going to make us in right relationship.”
- “Encourage ourselves with the Gospel.”
Questions, Topics, and Times
- [00:26] – Introduction
- [02:42] – Application of education
- [04:05] – Meaningful verse and its usefulness
- [05:46] – Facing a season of struggle
- [07:21] – Confronting spiritual warfare in the States
- [07:58] – Jonathan’s strategies for spiritual warfare
- [09:33] – Good habits for growth
- [10:22] – A story of God’s faithfulness
- [12:04] – Engaging Missions leadership minute
- [15:07] – Reaching cities through discipleship
- [18:16] – A system for sharing the Gospel
- [20:13] – Jonathan’s current form of ministry
- [21:34] – What is your vision for your ministry?
- [23:35] – Transitioning from military to ministry
- [25:45] – Facing challenges and finding strength in God
- [27:38] – Things Jonathan would have done differently
- [28:08] – What fuels your passion for ministry?
- [31:47] – Marketplace ministry
- [34:12] – Where to get equipped
- [35:19] – Surrounded by nations
- [38:13] – Internet and book resources
- [39:44] – Parting advice and contact info
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