I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home with parents who loved the Lord and tried to honor Christ in all that they did. As I grew up they continually encouraged my faith, answered questions I had about being a Christian, and made it clear that I was a child who was loved and cared for by God. My father especially encouraged me to not only say that I was a Christian but also live out my faith through words and actions.
In high school I had a teacher who worked part time with a local youth ministry. He was enthusiastic about his faith and a great mentor to my friends and I. He was the first person to speak to me about my leadership gifts and the possibility of going into ministry. Later in high school my youth pastor, Chris, invited me to do an internship with him because he also saw me as a leader. With Chris’ help I truly started to live out my faith. He encouraged and challenged me to seek after God.
Through that relationship I learned a great deal about youth ministry and, for the first time, felt God calling me to pursue it as a career. My youth pastor affirmed that call and I decided to study youth ministry at Eastern University. There I was able to explore the call to ministry through both study and an internship. I developed strong relationships with my professors and fellow students and was further affirmed in my call to ministry.
After college I served as the youth pastor intern at Deep Run East congregation. Through this time I was able to learn more about myself as a ministering person. I have learned that I am a relational person, I am at my best when I can develop relationships with others and minister out of those relationships.
I have also found that I enjoy teaching and discovering ways to relate scriptural truth through relevant or contemporary illustrations. There is no greater feeling than working with a group of students and seeing them begin to “get” what this whole faith thing is about. Visioning for ministry is also something that excites me and I enjoy finding new and interesting ways to help others live out their faith.
There are certainly many things that I have had to learn as I seek to live out the call that God has placed on my life. Delegation is not a skill that comes naturally to me. I feel it is easier for me to take care of everything myself. However, I’ve quickly discovered shouldering every responsibility is an impossible task and that good administration also means good delegation.
As I continue to grow in my leadership abilities and explore my call, I have found that having a strong group of trusted friends and mentors is a key to my ministry. There is so much to be learned from the experiences of others and I feel my ministry is cultivated through these relationships. I have a group of friends from college that holds me accountable and helps me to remember how fun it is to serve the Lord!
I also meet regularly with a pastoral mentor who has already been through all the things I am now experiencing in my ministry. It is helpful to have someone who can point out where I might be able to improve and who can also keep me from making the mistakes they made in their own ministry. As I continue to learn what it means to be in ministry I am constantly amazed by the unfailing love of God. No matter what stresses I have faced and hiccups I have encountered along the way, God has been faithful to lift me up and keep me going. I look forward to the many new ways I will meet God in the coming years as I follow His calling on my life.