In addition to being a marathon runner, Cottonwood Shores resident Rebekah Jones is also a children’s pastor at RockPile Church, an advocacy coordinator for the Highland Lakes Crisis Network, and a coach at Verus Strength and Fitness. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley
Cottonwood Shores resident Rebekah Jones began training for her first half-marathon in 2020, hoping to find a sense of normalcy and a goal to work toward during the early days of the pandemic. Now, with both a half- and a full marathon on the books, Jones dreams of taking her newfound hobby all the way to the Boston Marathon.
“I’m just in love with how (running) has changed me holistically, how it encompasses my mental, emotional, and physical health, and how I’m growing in those things,” she said.
A passionate person by nature, Jones has shared her love of fitness with the Marble Falls community as a coach at Verus Strength and Fitness for the past 2½ years. She tries to keep her running practice for herself, however, using it as a tool to navigate her daily life.
“(Running) is almost meditative for me,” she explained. “Especially in 2020 and 2021, so much in the world seemed like it was shifting in the community. (Running) was just a place where I could spend 30 minutes, an hour, two hours, three hours in my own space processing life.”
Jones ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Antonio in December of last year and is currently training for her second and third full marathons.
In addition to being a runner and coach, Jones holds a number of titles within the Highland Lakes community. She currently serves as advocacy coordinator for the Highland Lakes Crisis Network and children’s pastor at the nondenominational RockPile Church in Marble Falls.
Although a lifelong Christian, Jones never envisioned herself in the latter role, but when her church’s children’s pastor relinquished the position in 2018, she felt called to fill it.
“I grew up in a family that was always involved in ministry, but I can’t say that kids’ ministry was on my list of things I was going to do,” she said. “I was thinking more like worship or, specifically, women’s ministry. But I’m a ‘see a need, fill a need’ kind of person.”
Through her pastoral role, Jones primarily works with children from prekindergarten through the fifth grade, organizing lessons to teach during Sunday service. To do this, she spends a lot of time studying the Bible and coming up with ways to make its lessons understandable. She also engages one on one with parents in the congregation to better meet the needs of their children.
One of her favorite things about her job is the spontaneity children bring into her life.
“Kids will ask the strangest questions, and they will throw you off,” she laughed. “(Working with them) has really freed me up to embrace the inner child in me and to relax a little bit. I enjoy their directness and that they see the world very clearly. That’s something I feed off of, and it encourages me in my daily life.”
Jones also has a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with Christ. She co-hosts a Christian lifestyle podcast called “Redefined,” which is available on the HUB Radio Network and everywhere podcasts are streamed. The podcast focuses on themes such as purity in everyday life, how to live authentically, and different ways to worship.
However, she believes the best way she can pass the Christian faith on to the people she serves is by constantly working on her own relationship with God.
“The greatest gift I can give is to truly walk in humility, grace, and love, be honest about who I am and how I’m growing in the Lord, and then inviting (people) along that journey as well,” she explained.
Even with her many professional commitments, Jones always carves out time to lace up her running shoes five evenings a week and embark on long-distance runs, which can span five to 20 miles. She views this time as an opportunity to grow stronger in her relationship with herself and with God.
“(Running) is a physical reminder that I’m a work in progress, and that’s the beauty of being a human being,” she said. “I’m still growing, and this investment is leading towards my ultimate goals and teaching me to give myself grace in that process.”