The call to ministry

I don’t honestly know where God is calling me in my life at the minute. I’m just going to do a degree at university in Chemistry because I enjoy it. But I serve a lot in my church and I run bible studies for people in my youth group, and I’m often the person that my friends go to when they want advice on what to do in a certain situation with their faith. And so I sometimes wonder if God is calling me into ministry, especially youth ministry.
@Alycia_Wood @xandra @Michelle_Tepper @Jo_Vitale
You women were all called into ministry and it’s been great to watch your talks throughout REFRESH2020. But how did you know that God was calling you to ministry?
Anyone else who has any insight please do offer your input!

Karys x

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Looking forward to what anyone else has to say about this!!
I also feel like God is calling me to ministry and have taken a few steps to pursue this in my life through education and serving in several different ministries.
One question I have for some of the RZIM speakers is how did you know God was calling you to apologetics ministry?

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Thanks @Karys_Battenfield for bringing this up, I’d love to hear the testimonies as well as I feel the Lord leading me into missions wether foreign or local.

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I am so glad that someone initiated and asked this question because I have truly been thinking about this since Tuesday, whenever I heard them speak. I am truly admiring their wisdom!

I too am going through the same thing… I finished my first year of college studying Health Science, yet I have this nagging feeling for something that is more ministry related. And, yes, I am aware that the Lord can still use me even if I continue in this field–Bible college isn’t necessarily the only path to ministry.

However, unlike you, I’m not currently deeply involved in ministry at church, although, I find myself desiring to. But, lately, whenever I prayed about it, God convicted of pride.

As a pastor’s kid, I was raised in a house filled with a lot of sound biblical teaching, and so I grew up with so much bible knowledge (that led people to tell me that I am “wise beyond my age” and many other things that fueled my pride). And so, unfortunately, along knowledge, I also grew up with LOTS of self-righteousness. Like Lou shared in his testimony– I know my bible, I have the best morals… why would I need Jesus…? However, 6 years ago, by God’s abundant saving grace, I was called to repent and find my ultimate righteousness in Christ alone.

Though I am saved, lately, my old self-righteous pride led me to have So much reliance on my skills, my knowledge and on how much I was doing helping my dad at church and subtly seeking people’s praise. Being so puffed up by knowledge, I actually lost sight of the beauty of God’s Word and of His amazing grace. Through it all, I still convinced myself that I deserved to serve God because I am clearly and obviously His MVP, while the bible clearly says that it is a privilege to be co-laborers with God.

But again… God’s relentless pursuit of me led me to repentance! Praise God!

You may be on the complete opposite of the spectrum and your story is nowhere near mine. In fact, I don’t even know anymore if full-time or part-time ministry is what I am called to. But I felt like it’s important to share what God has been teaching me lately.

I don’t know whether I should drop my program or continue. Neither do I know whether His perfect plan for me includes a specific call for ministry.
But I do know this: I want to be made right with God and serve Him with the right pure intentions… Nothing of me, but All Him. I also know that, no matter what form this life will take, He is directing and, thankfully, He does it for His glory and our good!!

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Thank you @Karys_Battenfield for asking this. It is also something I’ve struggled with myself. I have a degree in Biology and all throughout my studies I felt that nagging feeling towards ministry. It’s been a few years and I still feel that. Jesus is my everything and I’m very grateful for the opportunities He has given to me. I teach and help lead the teens/youths in my church but wonder if I should be doing more especially when I’m at my regular job. I don’t know if this pull I feel towards ministry is the Holy Spirit leading me, a normal Christian feeling, or just me/my will. I would very much appreciate your advice.

Also, many thanks to the Refresh2020 team!! You all did such an incredible job. I watched all 4 days and was tremendously blessed by every single one of you. My walk with Christ has definitely been strengthened. I pray that God will continue to bless this ministry and you all more than you can think or imagine. Cheers!

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Farah
I resonate with so much that you have said here. I too want to be made right with God. I want pure intentions. I want to love God rather than his creations or gifts. I have been greatly convicted of my pride this week and I will pray for you too as you explore what it means to live in obedience to the Lord. (Also, feel free to message me anytime)
Sadie

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@Karys_Battenfield, I’m so glad you asked cos I too would love clarity on this too. However, I kind of know I’m called to the ministry like Ravi points out in his book, ‘the Grand Weaver’, connecting the patterns in my life has helped me realize part of God’s calling in my life. I may be studying engineering and will certainly come out with a Bachelor’s degree or may even further for a masters and a PhD., but that does not take primary place in my life.

The call of God is primary and that’s purpose. It’ll help me determine the legitimacy and illegitimacy of every attraction and distraction in my life. So, figuring your calling in life for me begins with a relationship with God, then proceeds into seeking what God’s will is like Lou put’s it in the REFRESH2020 Session 4 during his testimony, and then when that will is revealed; like for me, it was revealed through the patterns and dreams in my life, (you will need to understand the patterns God speaks to you as well) then our duty is to obey and take that step of faith. The truth is, it won’t be easy when you begin but God will make it easy as time passes. You then will fine perfect peace and expression for the purposes of God working through you. I’m still hoping to learn more from other responses to this beautiful and timely question. God bless you for asking.

Shalom :smiley:

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Thank you @Bassey @Farah_M @Christina for sharing.

I’m with you @Farah_M I grew up as a PK as well and before I was saved was definitely that “I know everything, why do I need God” type. And like you by Gods grace 2 years ago I was saved because God showed me how I wasn’t known by him in a relational way. I really don’t want my pride to get in the way either! I want to have true intentions for what God wants me to do in my life, to be a part of His story, not mine.

@Christina I resonate with that so much. I may be doing some things within my church, but I wonder if I should be doing more you know? And yeah I don’t know if this nagging I’m getting is the spirit or if it’s just my desires. So that’s why I wanted to ask what the speakers thought here.

@Bassey thank you for your advice. I will continue to seek God with all my heart, as I know he chases me. I am praying every day that God will help me know what His will for my life is, because maybe it just is to be a chemical researcher, but maybe it isn’t. I have no idea. I’m only 18 so I don’t suppose I need to have everything figured out, but that I should just carry on moving forward, trusting in God’s plan for me

And @Sgpage yeah. I think it would be really useful to see what showed @xandra @Alycia_Wood @Michelle_Tepper @Jo_Vitale that God was calling them into apologetics

Karys x

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Hey Karys!

Firstly, beautiful Welsh name, I love it :grinning:

Secondly, I too am a PK, as is @Michelle_Tepper , so we can definitely relate to what you and Farah were sharing!

For me, I was that weird child who when everyone else wanted to be a fireman or a ballet dancer or a doctor, at age 5 I was already convinced I wanted to be a missionary (not sure how I knew what that was!). That sense of calling only intensified in my teen years, when I just couldn’t imagine doing anything else but tell people about Jesus, that just seemed the most exciting thing in the world to me, and what I was made for. That sense was confirmed when I prayed with a couple of my high school friends to become Christians and I had just never felt more alive or more of a sense of doing what I was made to do.

However, I always assumed that being called to evangelism meant a specific ‘type’ of ministry, namely being a missionary, as that was the only real example I had of other women in ‘ministry’. When I was 18 I went and spent 7 months living in Uganda and working for a Christian charity to test that out. However, although I LOVED it, I also came to the conviction that the Lord was saying to me that although there was such physical need where I was working, spiritually a lot of people were actually richer than they were in my own impoverished culture, where people may be physically rich but spiritually poor. Basically, I sensed the Lord was calling me to evangelize more within my own skeptical, apathetic culture. And I was SO disappointed, because I really wanted to be a missionary and I didn’t want to have to share with cynical westerners who just didn’t care!!

But following that call, I went that summer to a Christian camp, and I heard Michael Ramsden speak for the first time, and like in that moment when I first led a friend to faith in high school, I had a similar sense while listening to him speak that what he was doing, I too was called to do. So I went to study theology at university and that was when I really encountered Apologetics for the first time, and then I came across Amy Orr-Ewing and realised that this was something that women were doing too, and she became a real role model to me! As I studied theology at university and encountered so many questions from my skeptical friends, I increasingly saw the necessity of Apologetics as providing a skill set to help answer them.

So for me, I guess I had a general sense of a call to evangelism from a young age, but the particulars of what that was supposed to look like in my life took more time to form.

As you’re trying to discern what the Lord is calling you to, I think two important question to ask yourself to help clarify are these:

  1. Am I called to evangelism (some people love Apologetics because they just love a good argument, but that’s not the same as loving people who don’t know Jesus, feeling a strong pull to sharing Christ with them, and using Apologetics as a tool to help clear up their misconceptions and move them closer to Christ), or to a different kind of ministry? (Eg. Something more discipleship-focused, or humanitarian? Or perhaps a combination?! Ministry takes so many shapes!)
  2. Is God calling me to evangelism in full time ministry, or through a different medium? A lot of people think that if they want to share Christ that means they should go into full time ministry, but that is not typically the case. It may be that God had given you other passions or interests (like for science, or business, or academia, or healthcare, etc), and he has purposes for you in those arenas. It is just as worshipful to serve God in these areas as it is to serve in ‘full-time’ ministry, and in fact, sometimes as an evangelist that is the best place to be! Those are often the areas that are least reached, and where it can be hardest to enter into as an evangelist- whereas if you work in those spaces, you are perfectly positioned to share your faith! (for example, Silicon Valley is one of the least-reaches places in the world right now, and it would be amazing to see more Christians working in tech companies who are doing so with the intention of sharing their faith) The person who has always been the greatest example to me of what it means to live a life that is a powerful witness to Christ was my grandfather, and he did his evangelism as a businessman!

All that to say, it doesn’t have to be an either/or. The question is just how God has uniquely shaped you.

However, if you have been pursuing other paths but all the time you have a continuous sense that you’re supposed to be moving into full-time ministry, and you just can’t shake it off, and others whom you respect in your Christian community also see that gifting in you, then it may be that God had planted a seed that he is asking you to explore. If that’s the case, I would look for more opportunities to serve in ministry settings as you pursue your studies (in particular, look for creative evangelistic opportunities), and ask God to confirm that call both through the opportunities he gives you, and through making your ministry fruitful, and by speaking through others in your life. Whichever way you wind up going, doing chemistry is not a waste! God shaped you to love it for a reason, and he needs chemistry-minded Christians to reach those in the sciences!

I hope that is helpful, I’m sure others have more to share!

God bless you,

Jo

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Hi Jo!

Thank you! My grandparents on my mum’s side were welsh so we had a welsh influence in my family (mum’s name is Sian so the welsh naming thing continued)

Thank you for sharing your story. I think I am just at the position where I should just carry down on the path of science God is taking me at the minute and maybe beyond that, like you said, to then see if God is still calling me in a different direction.

And I guess that God still could be calling me into evangelism within the science side of things and being a witness to those people!

So thank you so much for your response!

Karys x

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Hi Karys,

Thanks so much for reaching out! @Jo_Vitale gave such a great response, the cool thing is that back in the day I was her student pastor, so I got a front row seat to part of her story. All I want to echo is that, we are all called to minister and to be evangelists at all times. Don’t wait until later, just ask the Lord every morning where you can be a minister of His truth and beauty. He will lead and guide you in the hidden times so that when and if he opens a door for more public ministry, you will already be ready and feel not only at ease but sharpened for increased influence. Some of the most powerful evangelists I know have a science background-so study science to the glory of God and sit back and see what He will do!

Michelle

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Thanks Michelle! I am sort of thinking along the lines of doing my chemistry degree and then seeing where the Lord is going to take me from there. Thank you for all your words of wisdom!!

Karys

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@Karys_Battenfield,

@Jo_Vitale’s response was excellent, so here is all I would add.

You mention that you are pursuing a degree in Chemistry because you enjoy it and I think there is great value to that experience. Let me tell you why… I never wanted to go into ministry. In fact, I ran from it at every turn. What I am doing now I was not interested in letting God direct me to. But even as I was working other jobs as an adult, during break times I would study Theology and Apologetics. When I was a teenager I also loved the study of Apologetics and Theology and would study the Bible in search of answers. This was always my passion, but it was not what I wanted as a career.

So how did I know that God called me to it? He made sure every other attempt I made at doing other things failed. Period. I was like Jonah running away from where God was directing me and when I finally surrendered to it, ALL the pieces fell in place for me to land where I am now at RZIM.

Why do I tell you that? Because long before I had a career in Apologetics, God was teaching me and training me as I did what I loved doing anyways- studying Theology and Apologetics. I always thought like an Apologist. When Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons came to my door I would invite them in and talk to them for weeks. I have always wanted people to see the truth of the gospel and I constantly worked on different ways of explaining it to them. Soooo, the fact that you are going into a study in Chemistry, which you enjoy, is great. Your ministry might be in the field of science which is a GREAT place to be. We need more strong Christians there. My reach is limited in the sense that I go places, speak and come home. I don’t work in a field where I am surrounded by non-Christians I can witness to and do life with regularly. THAT’S why it is so important for us to have Christians in ALL fields of work. We need people who can walk through life with non-believers demonstrating Christ daily.

Keep waiting on the Lord to direct you, and continue to do the thing you love. As His plan for you becomes clearer, don’t run like I did. Trust Him and step forward.

BTW, I LOVE what I’m doing now and wouldn’t change it at all. Maybe God knew what He was doing… :wink:

@Alycia_Wood

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Thank you @Alycia_Wood! That was actually so helpful! I guess I’m just going to see where God leads me and see where the pieces fall into place. Maybe God’s call for me is to work in the science field to witness to people there! I don’t know! I’ll just have to see!

Thank you!
Karys x

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Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your testimonies in how God led and guided you both, @Alycia_Wood and @Jo_Vitale! I’m also a PK. I really enjoy listening to both of you speak and hope to meet you both one day wether here or there. :blush:

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