Born in Weatherford, Texas, he lived in several West Texas towns as a kid. Jones fell in love with Shelly Harris at Loop, Texas high school but when he headed to South Plains College, she went to Texas Tech. After Shelly headed out to Oceanside, Calif. to operate a beauty supply shop, Jones followed her and asked for her hand.
They married and settled in Lincoln County, assisting in several local business ventures with Shelly’s parents, Eldon and Lois Harris. Two daughters, Paige and Danielle were added to their family.
Eldon and Lois Harris, Shelly’s parents, opened Bent Tree Jamboree on Airport Road, and hired musical performers from South Plains College to provide entertainment for the dinner show. Jones began to teach himself how to play guitar and eventually became the entertainment anchor for the Jamboree, saying, “They were having so much fun up there I decided to be up there with them.” Phil and Shelly also managed another Harris business venture, The Branding Iron restaurant in Upper Canyon from 1994-97. Shelly’s still famous for her dinner rolls, which are featured frequently at Angus Church gatherings.
Jones’ love for music became the avenue for his soul to be expressed. At the time, Jones relates Shelly was the “spiritual head” of their family, bringing their two daughters to Angus Church on her own. Jones says God began to communicate with him through music. “I saw God could use my music and that’s how my heart was changed. God will use the gifts He’s given us and He won’t waste anything.”
“I know what it is to live without and with Christ and how miserable I made others around me when I wasn’t living with Him.” Jones committed his life to Christ and began attending church with his family.
From ’97 to ’05, Jones earned a living carving chain saw bears. Another self-taught skill, Jones watched chain saw artists and decided to follow in their steps. Those who own one of his bears comment the faces he carves are distinctive and “the best around.”
In 2005, Pastor Rick Hutchison of Angus Church was making a change in staff, and met Phil and Shelly at Taco Bell to discuss the possibility of joining forces. The Jones had been involved with the youth as volunteers. Their heart for youth was evident and Hutchison asked Jones and his wife to consider becoming part of the Angus Church staff. Jones recalls at the time, both of them were beginning to sense they were being called into full time ministry of some sort. Youth ministry was a good fit.
They make a formidable team at Angus Church. Beginning around 3 p.m. each Wednesday Jones will make sure Angus Church’s vans are fueled and ready to make multiple trips to pick up Capitan students. Back and forth he goes, along with Shelly and several volunteers who assist in the program. From 75-150 students between elementary – high school aged students attend the program. A full dinner, open time for homework or fun with outdoor and indoor activities, music and a lesson are all a part of Wednesday evenings at Angus.
Capitan High School assistant football coach James Hightower contacted Jones a few years ago and asked what time he needed to release his football players from practice each Wednesday. Hightower knew most of his team attended the Wednesday program at Angus Church and in a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” effort decided to work with Jones’ schedule.
Rhonica (Angus Church’s Director of Children) and Tucker Toler manage the children’s program on Wednesdays and provide transportation as well, utilizing volunteers Christal Christensen and several others. Rose Gomez, Sharron Gray and her food service team are all background checked and ready to assist each Wednesday, many times showing up at 1 p.m. to prepare. Claude and Ilene Marsh faithfully provide valuable kitchen clean-up assistance. There are many adults who provide supervision in the unified goal of showing youth love and compassion.
“Our goal at Angus is to be a blessing to our community. We don’t just want to maintain ourselves, we want to be ready to focus on the needs all around us.” Phil and Shelly Jones are a vital part of the ministry team at Angus Church.