Warning: Long post ahead
When I enrolled at Bethel College in the spring of 1995 I did not know what my major would be. That summer after I graduated from high school I was temporarily given the reins of the youth group at my church. I led a group of about 15 junior and senior high students that entire summer and became convinced that youth ministry was in my future.
I declared Christian Ministries as my major before my freshman year began in the fall of 1995. Things didn't go so well once school started. I quickly realized that my lack of study skills was going to hurt me in this new level of education. Plus I took Greek my first semester - a bad decision, in hindsight.
There were some spiritual highs that first semester, but things quickly took a turn for the worse over Christmas Break and the start of the second semester. I lost my academic scholarship at the end of my freshman year and decided to switch my major from Ministry to Communication.
I had been involved in my school newspaper and yearbook during high school and really enjoyed that type of thing. It quickly became apparent that my talents were more suited to a communication major than a ministry major - at least that's what I've always told myself and others.
It's true that my new set of classes came easier to me and I enjoyed them more, but I'm not sure it was completely because I was talented in those areas. I think there might have been a slight sense of relief not to be carrying around the "future pastor" tag. I was able to let myself just be a student and not worry about my spiritual health.
Obviously, that was not a good state for me to be in, but I didn't realize it until later. I flourished in my new major and I'm still glad I made the switch, although I don't believe my sense of being called to ministry was false. It has always been in the back of my mind and, at times, at the front of my spirit.
I am happy to be in the position I am in. I love being a graphic designer and I've loved all the jobs I've had since graduating from college. I loved the newspaper industry and I thoroughly enjoy working in a church now. Getting to use my creativity every day is a true blessing.
What's all this got to do with Summer Camp?
Well, something happened at Senior High Camp that I never expected. I felt that call to get involved in ministry again. As students and leaders wrestled with being willing to accept the full gospel of grace, repent of any known sin and hear God's voice I was agonizing over what was happening to me.
There was plenty of sin, past and present, that I needed to repent of. There was the reality that God loves me with a ridiculous, unconditional love. That was a hard one to accept, believe it or not. There was also this voice telling me that I was supposed to help others accept His grace, forgiveness and love. That's a lot to process, all at once. Plus, I was supposed to be ready for students to come to me for prayer and counseling.
Well, like He always has, God got me through it. I had the privilege of talking to and praying with several students. I also had plenty of time to pour out my soul to Jesus and ask Him to take control of my life ... again.
So, this is where I now find myself:
Seeking specific direction on how I am supposed to minister to others. I know for sure that I am going to work with Senior High Small Groups this coming school year. And, maybe that's the extent of my involvement, but I feel like there's more in God's plan for me.
I've come face to face with my own shortcomings and struggles with sin. I've also come face to face with God's incredible, senseless love for me and the forgiveness that only He can give. And I want to share all of it with anyone who needs it.
If you think of it, please pray for me as I continue to search for God's will and how He wants me to pursue this calling. It's not going to be an easy road. I'm going to be under attack. But, it's worth it.
God has called me to something bigger than myself and ...
I WANT IT!