From Prisoner to Preacher

by LBC Marketing

December 13, 2017

Reverend Jonathan Queen (’11) is the president and founder of successful ministry, serves as the youth pastor and associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover, Maryland. He’s working towards his doctorate, holds a master’s degree, is a published author and frequently works the speaking circuit. From all outside appearances, Queen’s life is going well.

But life wasn’t always like this for Queen. “I spent my teen and young adult years running from God and the calling on my life,” he said. “I was the oldest of five children to a single mother. We were poor and I was angry at God for my lot in life. I was involved with drugs as a teen and eventually landed in prison for my criminal activities.  At the age of 23 years old, I was sentenced as a career criminal to 10 years in a federal prison.”

His time in prison proved to be a catalyst for his faith – though perhaps not in the way he expected. “While in prison, I spent years studying the bible with the intentions of refuting its credibility,” Queen explained. “I debated with Christians and knew a lot of scriptures that I used to argue with them. In December of 2001, while in the ‘hole’ (the segregated housing unit of the prison), I spoke with my youngest daughter on the phone and she sang, “Joy to the World’ to me. I realized in that moment that I had no joy. I was immediately convicted. I surrendered my life to Christ that night and have never regretted it.”

After Queen was released from prison, he got connected with a local church. It was then, Queen said, “It became clear to me that I was supposed to be serving God full-time, with no compromise.” So, he started researching his options, knowing he would need more education.

That’s how he discovered Lancaster Bible College. “I was blessed by LBC’s accelerated undergraduate degrees program because it allowed me to learn from a classroom as well as online,” explained Queen. “I was also intrigued and excited about the life credits that were offered by LBC. The experience was great while also challenging. I enjoyed the professors and the classroom experience, but I was also in full-time ministry, working two part-time jobs while being a husband and a father. LBC showed me a lot of grace and prepared me for the ministry life that was waiting for me.”

Today, as he reflects on his past, Queen says he’s grateful for the role that LBC played in shaping his faith and ministry. “I can truly say that my season at LBC helped me fall in love with education and living out the mandate to study to show thyself approved,” said Queen of his education at LBC. “I am grateful to live out God’s calling on my life to serve and assist in the spiritual development of students, as well as the many leaders and volunteers that serve with me. Lancaster Bible College played a major part in equipping me to live out the gospel.”

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