C. Warren Jones—An Indispensable Man

Written by Stan Ingersol
From his column Past to Present

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C. Warren Jones came close to disproving the notion that no one is indispensable. He served the Church of the Nazarene in different capacities, sometimes in dual roles.

Carl Warren Jones was born in 1882 near Garfield, Washington, the second of six siblings descended from pioneer stock.[1] He made a profession of faith at 14 during revival meetings conducted in a school building.

Beginning at age 20, he attended four colleges. The State Normal School in Cheney equipped him to teach. Blair Business College in Spokane made him proficient in office skills and employed him as superintendent of its typing department, where he managed and taught for five years.

He married Neri Gartin in 1909. With a growing interest in the ministry, they moved to Tacoma, where he entered the University of Puget Sound, a Methodist school.

He helped the church to develop a global strategy for missions that would lead the Nazarenes along a path toward internationalization in the post-war era.

He joined its faculty at the same time as head of the shorthand department. The student newspaper noted that Jones “has taught every subject to be found in a Business College.”[2] He worked, too, in Methodist churches and received his A. B. degree in 1913.

Jones hoped to earn an M.A. degree in Chicago. That September, Warren and Neri both professed entire sanctification and joined Chicago First Church, led by Rev. I. G. Martin, who took them in hand. Martin placed Warren in charge of Chicago Heights, a struggling new church. Dr. E. F. Walker ordained him an elder a few weeks later.[3]

After two years, Jones moved to Pasadena, California, and taught in the English Department of Nazarene University for a year. He became pastor of Spokane First Church in 1916.

The 1919 Northwest District assembly failed to elect a superintendent after multiple ballots. Asked to appoint one, General Superintendent R. T. Williams selected Jones. Over the next busy months, Jones remained pastor of Spokane First and still cared for district affairs.

Neri and C. Warren Jones, early in their ministry.

Eight months later, the Joneses were appointed missionaries to Japan. He resigned his positions, and they arrived in Japan in February 1920. Their missionary service was short. A family member developed a serious medical issue, forcing their return to America in October.

He became pastor of Cleveland (Ohio) First Church, with 38 members, in 1921. It grew to 225 over the next 7 years. Jones nurtured the vocations of several young men who became ministers, including future general superintendent Samuel Young.

The Pittsburg District elected him superintendent in 1928, and he served in the office for nine years. There were 57 district churches when he began and 128 when he left. He was a member of the General Board and sat on other committees and boards, including the Eastern Nazarene College board.

His passion for missions had never abated, and he was elected Executive Secretary of the Department of Foreign Missions in 1937.

Jones began the assignment during an era of deep financial austerity. Earlier, the church had closed mission fields due to monetary restraints. Still, as the world lurched toward World War, he helped the church to develop a global strategy for missions that would lead the Nazarenes along a path toward internationalization in the post-war era.

He traveled in 30 foreign countries and visited 13 mission fields during his tenure. He wrote books publicizing missions and wrote frequently for Other Sheep, the church’s missions magazine, and for Herald of Holiness.

Late in life, asked about hobbies or special interests, he wrote a single word: “Missions.” Asked about his philosophy, he wrote: “To spend and be spent for the furtherance of the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth.”[4]

Financial austerity led to doubling-up of assignments. Jones also served as general secretary from 1939 to 1944. He was paid an additional $300 a month.[5]

He retired at the 1948 General Assembly, but “preached nearly 900 times” over the next three and a half years.[6]

Eventually they settled in Bethany, Oklahoma. Jones died in 1963. Neri died the next year. They are buried in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in northwest Oklahoma City.

Dr. Stan Ingersol, Ph.D., is former manager of the Nazarene Archives.

[1]One set of grandparents migrated to California during the gold rush (1849), the other grandparents left Missouri near the close of the Civil War, took the Oregon trail, and settled near Portland.
[2]The Maroon (Sept 23, 1910): 6.
[3]Jones was deemed to have sufficient ministerial experience from working in Methodist churches, and he was deemed to meet all educational requirements except knowledge of the Nazarene Manual. Jones promised to study the Manual. That promise was deemed sufficient as well.
[4]Nazarene News Service Biographical Questionnaire, signed and dated Dec . 11, 1951, C. Warren Jones Collection, Nazarene Archives.
[5]Merval Lunn, publishing house manager, also did double-duty, filling the office of general treasurer for several years.
[6]Nazarene News Service Biographical Questionnaire.