Welcome Pastor Jon!
The search is over. After much prayer and a thorough process, we are excited to welcome Jon Morales as the next Lead Pastor of Oak Pointe Church Novi.
Jon will begin his ministry at Oak Pointe in January 2022. Please join us in praying for the Morales family as they search for a home in the area and make preparations to join our congregation.
To learn more about Jon’s background and his fit at Oak Pointe Novi, read on.
Meet Jon Morales
Our finalist for the position of Lead Pastor of Oak Pointe Novi is Jon Morales.
Jon Morales (45) was born and raised in Colombia, South America. His parents divorced when he was young. Along with five siblings, including a younger brother adopted from African descent, he was raised by his mom. He came to America in April 1994 to live with his dad and go to college. By God’s grace, he came to faith in Jesus two months later, which changed the trajectory of his whole life. His call to ministry came about six months after his salvation.
My desire to go into full-time ministry came almost parallel to my conversion, set apart by about six months. I expressed this desire to my pastor, who kindly showed me 1 Timothy 3 and encouraged me to keep growing. I kept serving in the church and memorizing Scripture, then enrolled at New York University. In my sophomore year, my church invited me to do an internship working with college students. From there, my leadership began to develop, working with college students and young professionals; we baptized hundreds of them. My senior year was a thrill: I was ordained to gospel ministry, finished college, and got married! Anna and I worked together in ministry since my junior year. That’s how we fell in love, pursuing our shared mission in Christ.
Family: Jon and Anna have been married since 1999. Anna loves walking with others as they encounter Jesus. She had worked in full-time ministry for ten years prior to deciding to stay home with their four children: daughter Rayne (college), son Jett (high school), daughter Piper (middle school), and daughter Saylor (elementary school).
Work: Jon spent about 12 years in Associate and Campus Pastor roles at churches in New York and Florida. He stepped away from ministry for five years and co-founded an engineering company (2004–2009). This was a refining season for Jon, culminating in the economic recession of 2008. Eventually the company was bought by a bigger firm and Jon received a refreshed vision and passion for vocational ministry.
We were now in Florida, our family was growing, and I joined a friend in starting a company. It was an engineering firm that grew rapidly. We opened offices in Shanghai and New Delhi. At our peak we had over 100 employees. God brought me high to bring me low.
A bigger engineering firm bought our firm, so our debt was taken care of, and I could walk away, without money but also without leaving my partner stranded. We began to live on almost a fourth of what we made before while the children kept coming. Financially, we were poorer that we’d ever been. Spiritually, we never dreamed we could be so rich.
Education: Jon received a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University, NY (1999), a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary, FL (2013) and a Doctor of Philosophy, concentration: New Testament from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, NC (2016).
It was the summer of 2008, when my family and I were in India, that he put on my heart Ezra 7:10—the Scripture that would set my trajectory for the next seven years and, really, for the rest of my life. “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.”
After my master’s degree, the Lord opened the door to do the PhD full-time. His provision was incredible! One family alone, who wasn’t even on my list of people to ask for support, gave us over $40,000. In those years I did feel like Ezra, studying at the highest level, reading and writing eight hours a day, six days a week, three years straight. I knew how demanding ministry life is. I was relishing the focused time of intense study as our Lord poured into me, expanded my well, and impressed on me that the time to pour out was coming. I was a child in a candy store! Many times in those years Psalm 81:10 strengthened and encouraged me. “I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, open your mouth wide and I will fill it.”
Woodside Royal Oak: Since 2016, Jon has served as the Royal Oak Campus Pastor, a campus of about 900 attendees that is part of Woodside Bible Church, a multi-site congregation of 10,000. Jon also serves as a Hub Pastor, in which he works with the campus pastors of four other campuses (Plymouth, Dearborn, Farmington Hills and Warren) with combined attendance of 2,200.
Jon is also part of the Lead Team of Woodside that works together to give leadership to the church as a whole. He meets weekly with the Executive Pastor of Campusing and the three other Hub Pastors to contribute leadership, ideas and to be personally vulnerable with one another. As a Teaching Team member, Jon preaches regularly and is part of sermon writing and series development. He also enjoys teaching and training others who serve the church through teaching and preaching (currently about 50 men) including training them in biblical interpretation, homiletics and related topics.
I came to Woodside, in part, because I wanted to be part of a larger team. I am grateful for my strengths and gifts, but they are limited, utterly so. As I got to know the other pastors on the team, I was struck by their humility and passion, their collaborative spirit, and their priority on relationship. Pastors often work alone, to the detriment of both the congregation and their own person. I’ve loved that every week we do this hard and holy thing we call ministry together. It is difficult to point to a mistake pastors make that was not made in isolation. Our brotherhood has protected us and empowered us for greater gospel impact. I have to say these five years have been a rare gift in true community and collaboration.
These are the core values Jon has articulated:
- Hunger and thirst for the Word (in Scripture and in Christ)
- Rejoice in human weakness and divine strength
- Treasure the family of God on mission
How Jon Fits at Oak Pointe
Jon was the top candidate in our lead pastor search due to his experience as a successful lead pastor, his love for and excellence in handling God’s Word, and a strengths and experience mix that is a great fit for Oak Pointe Novi. He brings an authentic spirituality to his candidacy. He loves to pray, preach and pour into people. He wants to drive clarity through preaching God’s Word and building healthy teams.
Here are several items about Oak Pointe Jon has cited as motivation for pursuing the Lead Pastor position:
- Doug Schmidt and Chris Brooks speak so highly of Bob and Shirley and the church. I value their insight.
- The primacy of God’s Word runs deep at Oak Pointe.
- The long-tenured staff speaks to stability and trust.
- The concern for minorities resonates with my scriptural belief that we must identify the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, and the poor in our communities and serve them.
- The desire to reach and disciple young people.
- The fact that Oak Pointe feels like a sister church to Woodside and I would not be starting from scratch.
Jon’s Top 5 Strengths:
Jon is an exceptional fit for the role of Lead Pastor at Oak Pointe Church. All of his top five strengths align with our ideal strengths for this opportunity. Jon is a high capacity leader represented across all four leadership themes, bringing breadth of understanding and an ability to relate to many kinds of people.
- Learner — have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
- Maximizer — focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something especially talented into something superb.
- Connectedness — have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.
- Arranger — can organize, but they also have a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.
- Input — have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
From the Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0 instrument created by Gallup Inc.
In Jon’s Words…
My three top strengths are related to the three things God has called me to do. These three things I must do, in order to be faithful to God as a follower of Jesus. I must pray, preach, and pour into people. To put it another way, my strengths are driving clarity, preaching God’s Word, and building teams.
Ideal Candidate Ranking
This is how Jon scored in the individual benchmarks in the Candidate Profile (developed from the congregational survey and interviews with the staff). These observations are based on the assessment data and the interactions of the NL Moore & Associates team with the candidate.
- Exceptional: Exceptional evidence of fit, greater than anticipated
- Strong: Above average evidence of fit to ideal
- Good: Solid, expected evidence of fit to ideal
- Moderate: Some evidence, but less than ideal
- Low: Minimal evidence of fit
- Love Jesus and be led by the Spirit: Exceptional
- Lead with humility: Strong
- Relational shepherd: Exceptional
- Excellent Teacher: Exceptional
- Visionary: Strong
- Builder and developer: Exceptional
- Global perspective: Exceptional
- Innovate: Exceptional
- Unify: Exceptional
- Community Partner: Exceptional
- Reproducing disciple maker: Strong
Sermons from Woodside Bible Church:
The Parable of the Soils – starting at 28:06 (YouTube)
Giving and the Gospel – 2 Corinthians 8:1–6 – starting at 24:48 (Facebook)
Are You Ready – Matthew 24:36–51 – starting at 20:20 (Facebook)
The Old New Commandment – 1 John 2:3–11 – starting at 24:10 (Facebook)
Being Ready Means Being Diligent – Matthew 25:14–30 – starting at 26:22 (Facebook)