History of Cherith Ministries

Cherith Home Bible Institute was organized in 1986 by James L. Jones. Jones, a graduate of Bob Jones University, was licensed and commissioned by the Tabernacle Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina in 1979. He surrendered to full-time service in the field of Missionary Evangelism that same year and began conducting revival meetings and evangelistic campaigns throughout the Eastern states. In 1983, the Lord led Him to concentrate on reaching souls in the coalfield area of Southern West Virginia. It was during this phase of his ministry that God began to burden his heart with the need for Bible study material. The Lord used the Biblical account in I Kings Chapter 17 where Elijah was fed by the ravens at the Brook Cherith during a time of great drought. If God used ravens to deliver bread, He can use a teaching ministry to deliver the Bread of Life. In 1986, he shared the burden with his wife Sharon, and they both dedicated their lives to the production and distribution of practical Bible study material. They named the ministry after the brook, and Cherith Ministries was born. James continued his studies to earn his Masters and Doctorate in Religious Education and a degree in Graphic Arts.

Missionary Evangelism/ James and Sharon Jones

Their first Bible studies consisted of recorded lectures and student work sheets distributed through the mail. Soon, the ministry grew, and several pastors began to recognize and support Cherith. The home Bible study program finally grew to the point where the cassette tape format was no longer affordable, and the decision was made to convert the studies over to a printed format. James continued to build a library of sound, Bible based books and began to seek the help of pastors, authors, Bible teachers and missionaries to give the studies a broader degree of practical value. The contributors to this program are too numerous to mention.

Compiling, Producing , and Distributing Early Studies

As courses were developed, classes were offered in local churches to test the material. The program was tested in local churches until 1995, when property was donated at Lindside, West Virginia. A course testing building was built and classes were offered to local church members in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina. For seven more years, the Bible study material was further tested in actual classes conducted at the Cherith Center using guest professors and local church pastors as instructors. When the thirty unit program was compiled and testing was completed in 2003, the classroom building was converted into a print shop and offices in preparation for worldwide promotion and distribution.

Course Testing in Local Churches and at the Cherith Center

With the testing complete and the program launched, Cherith Bible Institute was turned over to James and Sharon Jones to operate, maintain, promote, and continually upgrade. The goal was to keep personnel and facilities to a minimum so the program could be offered at no cost or donation basis. An advisory Board comprised of local church pastors was organized to help the Joneses make the right decisions as the ministry continues to grow. Through pulpit supply, revivals, mission conferences, Bible conferences, and personal contact with pastors and missionaries throughout the world, James seeks to keep abreast concerning local church educational needs. The courses are continually being updated and revised to provide a more thorough and richer content. The goal of the Cherith program is to offer a Biblical and practical course of study that will enhance the local church service, and personal growth of the student.

Access to the Cherith plan of study comes through two programs: Cherith Bible Institute Online and Cherith Home Bible Institute.


  1. 1) Cherith Bible Institute Online- An online Bible institute campus was constructed where people could attend classes and receive training who would be otherwise geographically and economically hindered. Hundreds, including students, missionaries, and pastors from Mindanao, Nigeria, India, Italy, The Philippines, Africa, Greece, Canada, South America, throughout Europe, Japan, Australia, and many other areas are able to attend classes weekly at the Cherith site. At present 46 states in the U.S. are represented by students online.

  2. 2) Cherith Home Bible Institute- Students receive courses through the mail. Students in the United States receive printed courses while students abroad receive their studies on a CD in the PDF format.

Cherith is a Missionary Outreach

Because Cherith Ministries is a local church supported missionary outreach, we are blessed to be able to offer these quality Bible study programs at no cost to the student. However, with the ever growing number of students, the cost to maintain this ministry also continues to grow. The Joneses seek opportunities to present this missionary ministry in independent local churches. Cherith welcomes the support of doctrinally sound churches or individuals who can share the vision of this work.  James and Sharon are members of  Nimitz Baptist Church, Nimitz, West Virginia.

Cherith Bible Study Programs

James and Sharon Jones Operating the Cherith Online and Home Bible Institutes

Cherith Facilities (l to r) Cherith Office, Jones House, Mission House

Bible and Mission Conferences, Baptist Distinctive Conferences, Missionary Helps

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