Go Where He Calls You to Go

Acts 17: 6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Have you ever thought what ministry in the church you have been called to serve in? Which ministry do you enjoy working with the most? Which ministry is best suited for your gifts?

If you were to ask me six years ago when I was hired to go into the full-time ministry, I would have easily said the Campus Ministry. At that time, being a disciple for six years, my passion and my dreams were almost all wrapped into working with college students. This mainly came from witnessing a host of spiritual miracles as a college disciple. In the fall of 2001, as a freshmen at the University of Washington, my Bible talk was used by God and grew more than double its size in one school year—one of those converts was a man named Terri Brown, who later married my sister—and this was one of my most enjoyable years of my life. My spiritual life only got better during the next three years when en route to getting my undergraduate degree, I got a chance to help start the Spokane Christian Church and see their Campus Ministry grow from 7 to 37 disciples. If this was not enough, I moved back to the University of Washington during the summer of 2006 to start my Ph. D in History and during the fall of that year, we saw 11 students baptized in one quarter (10 of them freshmen). I truly felt that the Campus Ministry was the only place I wanted to be.

However, when I was hired as an intern for the South Sound Church of Christ, a part of job was not only to lead the Campus and Singles Ministry, but to also serve in the Teen Ministry. This was something that honestly didn’t appeal to me too much at the time. In some ways, I saw the Teen Ministry as glorified babysitting. I knew it was important ministry, but I just didn’t feel called by God to serve in this way. Nevertheless, I felt I could serve the teens and their families as long as the majority of my time in the ministry was spent on campus.

Over the past six years, I can honestly say that as far as I can tell, the Teen Ministry (and not just the Campus Ministry) is the ministry that God has called me to serve at this time in my life. In many ways I feel like Paul in Acts 16. I thought my calling was the campus as he thought his was the province of Asia. However, the same way God made it clear to Paul to go to Macedonia instead of Asia, God has also made it clear to me that for the time being, I need to spend more time with the teenagers in the church as opposed to the college students. As a servant of God, he has made it clear that the greatest need in our church is in the Youth Ministry. In the city of Tacoma, there is no large state school like I was accustomed to in Seattle and Spokane. There are three universities and two community colleges, but no one school that a majority of students attended. Yes, there still is a need to help those on campus (a ministry my wife and I still lead), but the need for those on campus is different. Most students in Tacoma are commuter students that balance their classes with their work schedule. Thus, a different approach to evangelism is needed to do the work here.

In addition to having a smaller number of college students, within the last two years, the church has had fifteen students (not including their friends) recently join the Teen Ministry and in the next year, we are expecting seven more girls to join as well as a few boys in addition to the existing teens, none of whom will be graduating. The group continues to get larger and larger.

As I have been working with the Teens and their families, I have now realized how amazing the Teen Ministry really is. Yes, it is hard to have patience with high school students from time to time, but as a worker in the Teen Ministry, I have the opportunity to not only help a young person become a Christian, but I also can work to help them reconcile and improve their relationships with those in their immediate families. This is work that I thoroughly enjoy. This is something that makes the Teen Ministry unique. The group itself literally connects all ministries of the church together. Marrieds with families to the Teens, the Teens will eventually go to college, become single professionals, or join the Marrieds ministry and so on. It is a family-based ministry meaning not only does the ministry serve the student involved, but their family as well.

In the past five months, God has blessed our Teen Ministry by growing from 0 Teen Disciples to 3 Teen Disciples. One of the three is my dear friend and pseudo little brother Ben Martin. Ben grew up in the church and by God’s grace became a Christian despite his parents leaving the church and getting a divorce almost three years ago. Ben is a young man who is extremely zealous for God.

Will I always serve in the Teen Ministry during my ministry career? I have no idea. If you know, please let me know. As I mentioned before, my wife and I still work with the Campus ministry and there are plenty of lost souls to help on Tacoma’s universities no matter how many students exist on each campus. Only God knows what lies ahead for my family and I. However, there is one thing I know now that didn’t understand six years ago. The ministry where God places us to do our life’s work to help others know Christ might not be the ministry we think we should be in. He has a plan that is beyond my understanding and in my life and in job, I “go where he sends me to go.” This is something we all must understand and pray about concerning our respective futures. We need to remember that we need to live by his will and not our own. Thank you and God bless.

 

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