Monday, February 20, 2012

My Story (Part 5) - Call to Ministry

Read Part 4

At this point in the story, events begin to get a little less organized, so I may jump around a bit.  During this time at Valley View, I was given abundant opportunities to serve the Lord.  I helped my Dad clean the church, and my brother and I started a newsletter for the youth group.

During this time at Valley View, I felt a definite call to ministry.  I can remember being in the car with my Dad, just looking out the window and praying silently.  Suddenly, like a rushing tide, I had this overwhelming sense of God "speaking" to my heart.  I was overcome with this statement, "What others have done to disciple you, spend your life doing for others."  I wasn't sure what to do with that.  The more I tried to shake it, the stronger it became.  It began to come into my prayer life.  I was not an outgoing person, how could I go into ministry? And I wasn't a big fan of school - did this mean I had to go to college now?  I began an ongoing battle with the Lord trying to talk Him out of this.

However, more and more opportunities to serve were being presented to me.  Our youth group came to a point where Joe was no longer our youth pastor.  The Lord gave me an opportunity to step in and help teach Bible studies and lead events until another youth pastor was hired.  I had also been battling with my school principle to start an after school Bible study.  It was during my junior year that this was finally realized. I still remember when my permit was given to me during school one day - I could hardly contain my excitement!  Our new youth pastor, Keith, came out every Tuesday afternoon to support and encourage this ministry.

I found myself longing to minister to others.  I wasn't trying to be a minister or develop a resume.  I just wanted to help.  If a friend was depressed, I would be on the phone with them for hours if need be.  This was nothing great about me, it was God doing a work in me.  I was being given a pastor's heart without realizing it.

After a drawn out process, I came to accept my call to ministry, which was followed by affirmation from brothers and sisters in Christ.  My brother had just gone to Malone College (now Malone University and formerly Cleveland Bible College) to study for ministry.  I found myself being drawn there, as well.  During my junior year of high school, I was already given my acceptance letter from Malone to begin in the Fall of 1992.

Sadly, the year leading up to my time at Malone would not be a pretty one.

Read Part 6

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