My parents became Christians shortly after I was born and started going to church, so I grew up in the church. As I grew up in the church – I became very active as well. At the age of 11, I started running the youth group’s annual camping retreat. The year before my dad who ran the church’s youth group, got together with another leader and they took us camping. The other leader who had most of the camping experience, left shortly after that camping trip. I loved it so I asked my dad if we were going to do that again next year. He told me if I wanted to do it again – I had to do it. (I don’t know if he presented me with this challenge because he didn’t think I would accomplish it so he wouldn’t have to go or whether he had faith I could accomplish it.) That meant I had to reserve the campground, plan meals, buy the food, plan schedule and activities, figure cost, do registration, collect money, etc… Basically I had to plan every aspect of it, and at 11years old. And I did – well let me rephrase that – And God did, through me. By our fifth annual camping trip, it became the Men’s/Youth annual camping trip. By our 11th, it became the church retreat. All in All, God used me for 14 years. During that time, I slowly took over the youth group also. After I graduated High school, I helped my dad for a couple of years, then he retired from the youth group handing the reigns over to me. By the end of running the youth group – God created a philosophy of ministry and plan. We were training potential future leaders. But one of the most awesome things I saw God do through youth ministry was this – He started to change the church. I forgot to tell you that I grew up in a Baptist church. When I took over the youth group, I really started pushing for Sunday attendance especially for our dedicated youth. But the youth were not necessarily ready for a mono-toned service with Hymns. In youth group we did sing but we used worship songs and one of the potential future leaders would assist me in leading our worship time (don’t get to impressed we used a cd in the background). So they struggled with the hymn’s and the service was long – about an hour and forty-five mins. So they would eat, drink, get a little noisy sometimes during the service and that did not go well with the church. Well we just moved the church camping trip to the seashore at a hotel and since it was the off-season we were allowed to use their diner for a conference room. My youth, before the trip, begged that they didn’t have to attend the worship, because they hated the hymns. So I came up with a compromise. We would get to each session a half hour early and have our own worship first. I can’t believe they agreed to an extra half hour each session but they did. So we get to the first session and one non-youth person is already there but we do our thing anyway. By end of the second day of three the whole church, including the pastor was showing up a half hour earlier to join our worship and they asked us to lead the worship for the rest of the retreat. The pastor was going to Russia that following January and asked if the youth and I would lead worship for the church,the six weeks he was gone. And that started the youth choir which would be a staple in the worship service. So the same kids that were an annoyance in service, were now leading the singing time. God works in mysterious ways. At the same time I was leading our day camp which ran six/seven weeks, and there is a lot I could tell you about that, but I won’t bore you with all my stories.
Why does any of that matter? Because ever since that time in my life, my life has not felt complete. Don’t take it the wrong way. I am married with children and they do complete me. But there is a hole in my heart when it comes to doing what God has called me in my life. Every job I have had in my life and I had plenty always leave me feeling unfulfilled and empty. And I never felt more fulfilled then when I was doing His work. That is the first reason and probably the biggest reason I feel called to ministry. Because I keep chasing it or trying to run away from it but can’t. Anytime I do just the little bit of ministry – my inside go crazy. The second reason is that I feel that is where my gifts lie. I feel that my gifts are that I am a people person, I got the gift of teaching, I have a gift of planning (especially the starting or early stages). Thirdly is that people have confirmed to me without asking that ministry is where I should be. That is always the final nail in the coffin, when others see in you what you believe you are called to do. If people are giving you reservations about what you believe God wants you to do in life, you might want to reconsider or ask someone you really trust.
That is how I know God has called me to do ministry, now I wait on Him to open up the doors. He knows the time and place and I will wait patiently for His direction. When you see the power of God – nothing will ever come close to that.