All growing up, Jonathan wanted to be a professional baseball player. Having played sports, especially baseball, from a very young age in his hometown of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, he dreamed of one day playing in the major leagues. Then unexpectedly, while a teen at camp, God called him into ministry.
For a long time, Jonathan refused to acknowledge the call. He didn’t want to be yet another “Grimes” in ministry. So many of his family were already in full-time ministry, and the Grimes family was well-known in his denomination.
Eventually obeying the Lord’s leading, in 1999, Jonathan headed to Master’s College in Peterborough, Ontario. He focused on becoming a youth pastor, and sports became the background. He says, “I still played for fun. But I didn’t want to have people focusing on my being an athlete.”
In his third year, Jonathan did his internship at a church who then offered him a position as a youth and worship pastor. Jonathan confesses, “It was everything I wanted in a job.” However, the Lord spoke very clearly to him: “No, not yet.”
Sensing the Lord tell him to pursue further studies, in 2003, Jonathan enroled at Providence Seminary in Otterburne, Manitoba. He graduated with his M.A. in Student Development in 2006. During this time, he realized that God was calling him to work with university-aged students. He also started playing sports again and became both a varsity basketball and hockey player.
Jonathan helped with sports chaplaincy while at Providence. It was then he understood that sports and ministry could be intertwined. He didn’t have to separate the two. In 2007, he became the residence and spiritual life director at Crandall University in Moncton, New Brunswick. He helped with the baseball team and then was their interim athletics director in 2011 and again in 2015.
Jonathan has many passions including acting and worship leading. He founded the Crandall Spotlight Theatre and became its artistic director. He also was accepted into the doctoral program at the Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies and completed his doctorate this past June 2016.
Jonathan is absolutely delighted to be Kingswood’s new athletic director! He has a heart for bridging the gap between sports and ministry. He is hoping that Kingswood can be the hub for Christian sports in Atlantic Canada by becoming a hosting facility for various Christian athletic organizations.
Jonathan also wants to train and develop our students to use sports to reach others for Christ. His goal is to use intramurals to develop students’ Christian character and show them how to bring their faith to the field. He explains, “I never had that kind of mentoring growing up of how to be a Christian while playing sports.” Furthermore, Jonathan wants to focus on developing students’ physical health and fitness. He points out, “The Church does well with the spiritual aspect of developing individuals. But we don’t do so well with the physical side of things. We need to develop both.”
Jonathan has recently moved to Sussex from Moncton with his wife Jessica and his four year old son Jack. Jessica is the assistant registrar at Crandall University. Jonathan very much enjoys spending time with his family and teaching his son to play soccer and baseball. He also likes to read adventure and crime novels, perform Scripture dramas, and lead worship.