Seven Questions with John Montgomery – California Southern Baptist Convention
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7 Questions with John Montgomery

John Montgomery
Associate Vice President for Student Services, CBU
If you have been around California Baptist University, you know the name John Montgomery. John is in his 17th year as the impressive, and well-respected Dean of Spiritual Life; committing his career to the community experience and spiritual development for the thousands of students who matriculate through. A worship leader and minister in a former life provided John experience, personality, and insight for such a weighty role. In the last year, CBU promoted John to Associate Vice President for Student Services where he oversees all of the care and ministry offices including: spiritual life, mental health, student care, and the counseling center. John is a gifted leader, adaptable to be preacher, counselor, friend, disciplinarian, jokester, worshipper and much more.

What book(s) are you currently reading?

I’m finishing “The Four Loves” by C.S. Lewis. And I’m also going through, “A Year with C.S. Lewis.” It’s really cool. It’s 365 daily readings and I love it because it’s bite-sized chunks from all of his books. I’m also reading “A Tale of Two Cities,” …I’m a Dicken’s fan. And I am reading “Henry V,” by William Shakespeare. I take my time reading through several books.

Toilet paper, under or over?

The answer is over, but Post-Covid – I’m just like, “YES!” you know?

What has been an evangelistic tactic that has worked best for you?

I have two go-to’s. The first I stole from Brian Zunigha (Director of Discipleship Ministries at Cal Baptist). I ask, “if you were to die right now, what percentage of a chance do you think you have of getting into heaven?:…Their answer signals where they are spiritually. Second, I really love the Navigator’s Bridge because, it’s a great visual outline of the gospel. I can use it as an outline to talk about the gospel. AND when I draw it out and I write the scripture passages on it, I can hand it back to the person to take with them. I had someone come to Christ from my church and he told me he carried that around in his wallet for a year and a half. It was a part of his process. It’s not a tract but it brings back the conversation. If I couple the bridge with that first question, I can ask, “where are you on the bridge?” Then and I’ll draw a line in the middle with 0 on one side and 100 and say, based on what you told me, if you die today, you actually have a 0 percent chance of eternity in heaven. I like the visual. I like the outline. It’s flexible. It’s conversational.

If you could start over with a completely different job from the one you have right now, what would it be?

I don’ think I would start over with a different job. I can’t think that way. When I was in high school, I still didn’t know what I was going to do. Eventually, I got interested in TV production so I thought that was what I was going to do but in the midst of it, God called me to something else. At the time I imaged it would play out as some sort of musical career.

In & Out or Chick-fil-A?

Oh man. That’s a hard one. I’m probably more of a Chick-fil-A person but, you know, we have a Chick-fil-A here on campus and I almost never eat there. That tells you how little I eat at either of those places

Tell us something that most people wouldn’t know about you?

I worked in a mortuary during my freshman year in college. For a little while I lived in Albuquerque with the director of the largest mortuary around... Truthfully, it prepared me for ministry in a significant way. Then, when I went to OBU, I was looking for work and there was a job opening the mortuary! So, I went in to interview and the guy hired me on the spot.

When you think through all the names of Christ, what name resonates with you right now, and why?

Philippians 2 says: “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” That part: that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow. So, I’d just have to say “Jesus.” That passage always resonates with me ... that “at the name of Jesus….”