Getting to Know Moody’s Assistant Dean of Multicultural Students
Edward Jones IV pioneers new student development role for Moody Bible Institute
At the start of the fall 2016 semester, Moody Bible Institute welcomed students, along with Edward Jones IV as the assistant dean of multicultural students on the Chicago campus.
Providing mentoring to students of color, as well as working with minority student-focused groups, Jones is helping Moody create and foster conversation and change on campus surrounding issues related to diversity.
“To be at Moody, a place equipping those who will shape the church moving forward, is an amazing and awesome opportunity,” said Jones.
“Being a part of something new also carries with it a certain weight and challenge,” he added, “so I’m primarily in a listening and learning mode right now. I’m also asking questions that perhaps have not been asked until now.”
In addition to his role with students, Jones is also contributing his voice and perspective as a member of Moody’s Diversity Committee, which has been chaired by Moody’s president, Dr. Paul Nyquist, since its inception nearly four years ago. This committee made the recommendation to create the position Jones now holds.
“I’m very proud of the committee’s hard work in helping set forth a vision for diversity at Moody and encouraging our staff, faculty, and students toward this effort,” Nyquist said. “While Moody has made great progress, particularly in the area of bringing in more diverse staff, faculty, students and trustees, we have been listening carefully to our minority students and have learned that there is a need for more progress to be made in creating a place where they are more comfortable. With Ed’s passion, love for the Lord and extensive experience in higher education, social service work and pastoral ministry, he will be indispensable in this effort.”
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jones grew up in the historic Greenwood neighborhood. Well known as one of the most flourishing African-American communities in the early 1900s, it was the tragic scene of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, one of the worst urban racial conflicts in U.S. history.
After his family moved to his mother’s hometown of Chicago in 1986, Jones attended junior high and high school on the South Side. While in high school, he developed a passion for issues related to diversity and justice, which carried over into college at the University of Illinois. There he helped lead a peer-based Bible study for minority students and in 1996 earned a B.A. in Political Science with a double minor in sociology and African-American studies. Jones was also licensed to preach in August 1994, right before his 21st birthday, then was later ordained in April 1999.
Ed married his wife, LaTanya, in 2003, and after serving in social service agency work in Chicago, pastoring in his hometown of Tulsa, and working in corporate America in northern California, they decided in 2009 to move back to Chicago where he attended North Park Seminary. While earning an M.Div., he pastored a church in a southwest suburb of Chicago and served with the university's dean of diversity and intercultural programs. With the Student Diversity Leadership team at North Park he helped launch a diversity conference as well as an African-American Lecture Series.
In September 2014 Jones joined the leadership of the Illinois Baptist State Association. He travelled around the country locating, training and resourcing partners for multicultural church plants.
At Moody since August 2016, Jones says he is drawing on his experiences and is focused on three things. First, he is giving students a voice by bringing their ideas and concerns to leadership. Second, he is providing space, whether that is for conversation, questions or student group activities, that collectively helps establish a healthy, vibrant, diverse culture on campus. Third, Jones is helping students of color identify financial resources for educational costs, along with resources that will help them succeed in their studies and preparation for ministry.
“When we are born again, the Lord doesn’t change our culture, heritage or traditions, so culture shock can take place on both sides when students of color come to campus,” he said. “I want to help Moody understand the perspectives of our students so they are more comfortable and their talents and gifts are being fully maximized and developed so they can successfully go into the context where the Lord leads them to serve.”
Jones and his wife, LaTanya, live in a southwest suburb of Chicago with their three daughters and two sons.
For more information about Moody Bible Institute, please visit www.moody.edu.