Moments with Mercy - Jon Leighton

Hey everybody, 
We first met Jon Leighton a few years ago on the Singing At Sea cruise when he was the pianist for Soul'd Out Quartet.  We've run into him a few times since then and really appreciate his ministry.  So, without further ado here's my interview with Jon.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
"Well, I was born at a very early age…that’s why I look so young. (I have a dry sense of humor.) My family is deeply rooted in ministry; in fact, I’m a fourth generation preacher! I grew up traveling quite a bit because of our family’s evangelistic work around the country, so travel is in my blood. I’m the proud owner of an awesome bus that I helped covert. Leighton is my middle name, but since my dad and I have the same name “Jon Leighton Groves” and the same job, I’ve always gone by my first and middle name to avoid confusing pastors. Nashville Tennessee is my home, and orange is my favorite color. I have a hard time answering these types of questions, so let me just throw a few things at ya real quick: The Office, White Collar, Krispy Kreme donuts, Dunkin coffee, wings, sushi, sarcasm, hiking, the beach, and most importantly: sweet tea. "


2. When did you get saved?
"I was four years old, sitting on the front row of our home church as my dad brought a simple message on relationship with the Father. I knew I needed that, so I knelt down at the altar next to the organ my grandma played and the rest is history. The deacon’s kids kept me from acting saved, but I’m still positive that I got it."

3. What encouraged / inspired you to begin your preaching ministry?
"I was that weird kid in kindergarten that said I wanted to be a pastor. But I did not truly surrender to a call to ministry until I was 8 years old. Being a PK and part of a traveling ministry team in high-school enabled me to preach quite a bit in my growing up years. But after high school was over, I knew what God was calling me to do, so I set out on the road in “full-time ministry.” That vocational calling has involved music, pastoral, and evangelistic work, but I can honestly say I can’t see myself doing anything else. The eminent return of Christ and the desperate hunger for truth in our generation drives me to keep a crazy schedule and preach as best I can. Two things make me want to preach: listening to a preacher who CAN and listening to a preacher who can’t. I think it’s a sin to make the Bible boring."

4. How long have you been playing piano?
"My grandmother, God bless her heart and give her many special rewards in heaven, made me start taking lessons [from her] when I was 3 years old. I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t forced to sit on a piano bench and practice nearly every day. So, as it stands right now, I’ve been playing for 22 years."

5. What is your most memorable experience playing piano?
"Well, I have two that are tied for first place, and they both happened on the same platform. It was a morning service at the camp I served at, where I sat at the piano playing and singing a special. As I played, the staff guys had been recruited to move an extremely large water tank from on top the mountain to down behind the gym. They decided rolling it was the best way to move it, and somehow it got away from them. All I saw was a massive rolling tank move right by the side of the open-air tabernacle and 8 frantic staffers chasing after it! I about lost it mid song!

But from that same platform, I’ll never forget singing a song “Were It Not For Grace.” It had nothing to do with me and everything to do with God, but the Holy Spirit stepped in and nearly every person in that 350 seat room came to the altar. The preacher never even preached, but the service lasted for hours. I pray for that type of Holy Ghost anointing every time I take the platform."




6. Other than salvation, what do you feel is the most important message for young people today?
"See what God can do through you!
I grew up in a world where the teens and young adults were called “the church of tomorrow.” I don’t believe that even a little bit. They are an equal part of the body of the church of TODAY! Revival can happen. Souls can be reached. The world can be changed. So, if Jesus could use 12 teenage/young adult disciples to change the WORLD, he could use a generation of “millennials” to point our churches back to God. THIS IS YOUR TIME! Redeem it. Don’t let a

naysayer despise your youth. We’re not waiting on a move of God. We ARE a move of God."

7. On average, how many days a year are you on the road.
"My brain hurts just thinking about this. I’m going to say a ball-park average would be 208 days a year."

8. What is your favorite Bible verse?
"John 1:6 – There was a man sent from God, whose name was Jon. [pointless ‘h’ removed for emphasis] JLV

But for real: 2 Timothy 3:14 – But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou has learned them;"

9. What do you like to do in your free time?
"Piano is more of a hobby for me these days, so I do enjoy messing around with it on occasion and playing a few concerts with some groups you might know a year.

I love to explore downtown’s of cool cities. Or for a change of pace, I’ll hike to one of those hidden waterfalls, throw up a hammock, and read for a while. Then, a couple times a week, I do my best to put out a devo blog or video. I’ve started exercising too, but I don’t like doing that…it doesn’t feel like “free” time."

10. What is your funniest or most embarrassing moment while speaking or playing piano?
"For piano, I was on stage with Lynda Randle, I think… (the details are a little fuzzy for obvious reasons.) I’m a pretty “active” player, and unbeknownst to me the piano bench was inching slowly toward the 9-10 high steps of the corner stage. It was that powerful moment in the song where I was about to cut loose, when I did just that. I fell backward down the steps and cut my face and pride instead. With laughter from the crowd as if it was a gimmick, I toted my bench back up on stage and kept playing.

With preaching… all I can say is, if you happen to blow a snot bubble that is visible to the back row….shut ‘er down. Pray and dismiss. You just don’t recover from that."


Jon, Thank you so much for doing this! Readers, I hope you enjoyed. If you'd like to see if Jon is ever speaking around you, go check out his website.
Thanks for reading!
~Mercy

Comments