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Seven Questions with Jonathan Jarboe

Jonathan Jarboe
President and CEO of The Baptist Foundation of California
Each week, our “7 Questions” series introduces different state leaders from all of our California agencies. This week we sat down with our first agency President, Dr. Jonathan Jarboe. Jonathan serves as the elected President and CEO of The Baptist Foundation of California. He and his wife Tammy are often found anywhere from statewide events and trainings to preaching and leading worship at the local church level all across California. Jonathan is a charismatic, bike-riding, active outdoorsman, “former” studio singer of “The Jarboes” (check out his social media for some amazing throwback pics), former reserve officer, preacher, grandfather and much more. At The Foundation, he enjoys his role in connecting with partners, pastors and constituents and opening channels for the rest of the Foundation’s staff to better serve California churches.

1. What is your favorite bible verse or what is a bible verse you are currently meditating over?

Asking a pastor for their favorite verse is hard because you have different ones for different seasons but since I was a teen my favorite verse has been Psalm 27:1 (– The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?) It’s the basis for our Christian faith. Why do we serve Jesus? Because the Lord is the strength of my life. I am nothing without him.

2. In-n-Out or Chick-fil-A?

That’s an easy one… In-n-Out. I’m a Californian through and through.

3. Do you have a ministry horror story that you can share?

This one Sunday, I’m sitting on the front row getting ready to go up and preach at my church, and this guy comes up and sits right next to me...like, RIGHT next to me. He’s 6’4 and wearing a trench coat … in California. So, I look around with panic on my face and instantly a cop who was serving on our security team sits right on the other side of him. Well, I go up to preach and the guy starts jabbering to me from the floor, like in gibberish. The cop intervenes and tells him, “You’ve got to be quiet” … So, I keep preaching and then - when I say the name … “Jesus” - the guy jumps up from his seat, throws his hands in the air, turns to the congregation and yells “I am HE!” The cop immediately jumped up, put his arm around his neck…-this all went down within a matter of seconds, right? - ... The cop says, “Let’s go Jesus,” and they walk straight out the door. I said to the crowd, “I don’t know what just happened, but I am 100% confident that was not Jesus. Now, during this time, I was a reserve officer serving as a chaplain. After church I called our private line dispatch center because I know you can’t legally disrupt a house of worship. I said, “I just want to confirm you got this guy’s name.” And the girl on the other end goes, “Jarboe, you’re harsh. You’re the only one I know of who told Jesus that he’s not allowed to come back to your church.”

4. What book(s) are you currently reading?

I just finished “Don’t Hold Back,” by David Platt – and it was outstanding. Another small book I recently finished is “Winning the War on Worry” by Louis Giglio, … Phenomenal book! I’m an expert on worrying. It’s my spiritual gift. Also, “Leadership Not by the Book,” written by the President of Hobby Lobby, David Green. That was a pretty good book too. Oh! One more book… “50 People Every Christian Should Know,” by Warren Wiersbe.

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

For me it’s relational evangelism. My neighbors of 26 years are our close friends and have attended the church I pastored off and on because of relational evangelism …I use relational evangelism to build relationships and I segue that into the Roman Road. I’ve had the Roman Road memorized since I was a kid. If I have an opportunity to share the gospel, that’s the route I’m going to go.

6. What biblical character (other than Jesus) would you want to meet, and why?

This one is easy…Nehemiah because there are a lot of leadership principles found in the book of Nehemiah. Not to mention, he completed one of the most significant architectural feats in Jerusalem and he got it done in 52 days with significant opposition. I teach it and preach it often. It’s definitely one of my favorite stories.

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

My favorite name has always been Jehovah Rapha – the God who Heals. God heals sinners, right? He heals broken people. He heals leaders, marriages, and families… Jehovah Rapha is the essence of who we are because He heals us.
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