LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Pastor Melvin T. Jones held his final Sunday service in Lansing after serving the community for nearly 4 decades.

Pastor Jones isn’t a Lansing native. He actually isn’t even a Michigan native. He moved here from Ohio, and made Lansing his home.

“55 years of pastoral ministry beginning with the city of Cleveland going to Cincinnati,” Pastor Jones said.

Pastor Jones said coming to Mid-Michigan was unexpected. He said a young man who was a member of his church in Cincinnati attended Michigan State University.

“He asked on a number of occasions when he would come if I would come visit the church in Lansing,” Pastor Jones said.

Pastor Jones said he was apprehensive at first, but the young man stayed persistent. Then one day, the pastor got a formal invitation from the church in Lansing to come preach at a men’s day celebration.

Little did Pastor Jones know, the church’s pastor was retiring. They had him in mind to take over.

“The chairman of their deacon board saying that we’ve called you to be our pastor. Well, I almost fell off the side of the bed,” said Pastor Jones.

Like many things in his life, Pastor Jones said he prayed on it. He said God answered.

“The Lord just convicted in my heart that this is where he wanted me to serve,” the Pastor said.

Now, 37 years later his impact has expanded outside the church and into the capital city.

“I have been able to raise my voice on social and political issues in the community,” Pastor Jones said.

He said while he’ll miss the church he built, the pastor said what he’ll miss the most are the people in it.

“For me, it’s just the relationship that I’ve had with the congregates over the years. Baptizing their children, to marry them and really to see these kids grow up and have children also,” Pastor Jones said.

Pastor Jones and his wife, Minister Sallie Jones, plan to move to Alabama to be closer to family.