This isn’t a devotional or a poem or a lesson. Rather, it’s just some thoughts penned by a guy who has been active in ministry since 1994. I was licensed as a minister in the late 90s, but before that I served as a TeamKID coach and as a 5th grade Sunday School teacher. Normally when you think of folks being licensed in the ministry you think of preaching and a senior pastor billet. That’s not me. I’ve pursued that and had God close that door every time.
I have come to understand my calling to be working with and teaching children and youth. Some would call this a Minister to Students, some would call it a Children’s or Youth Pastor, depending on how they classify the age. The title doesn’t really matter. I’ve been working with the younger ages most of my life. Ever since I volunteered as a 3rd grader to help 1st graders how to read I’ve been involved. It’s where God has placed me, God has granted me the ability to gain experience, and God has opened doors and given me opportunities. Opportunities like being a member of the short-lived C.A.D.R.E (Citadel Alcohol / Drug Resource Educators). I often have remarked that I spent about a third of my class time second semester my sophomore year doing drug and alcohol prevention. Most of that time was in the public schools in and around Charleston. That was before I was a Christian.
After surrendering to Jesus Christ, the opportunities just kept coming. TeamKID, Sunday School, helping in youth choir, teaching youth missions, Children’s Church, Awana T&T director, Children’s Minister, Junior High Youth Minister, Awana Trek Director, Awana Commander, etc. I’ve been a part of some other areas including traditional adult and senior adult ministries, but ultimately I always find the doors opened back up for children and youth. When I’ve pursued another track, such as a pastoral leadership curriculum in seminary, the doors closed. Unfortunately, very few Bible colleges/seminaries have solid children or youth programs at the graduate level. Therefore, I’ve never opened that door. Hopefully one day I can. It’s not a big deal. The children and youth are.
If you are a Christian, a bonafide believer, you have a calling. There is somewhere for you to serve, something for you to do for the Kingdom. It may or may not be at the church where you worship. It may or may not be in a field you think you’re good at or necessarily desire. I can tell you that when I first felt a calling to the ministry, I envisioned preaching from the pulpit every Sunday. While I can do that, in that I’ve got the skills to do it, that’s not my calling. It took me a long time to come to peace with that.
Working with children and youth isn’t glamorous. It’s behind-the-scenes work most of the time, while the adults have “big church.” I don’t care. I used to, but I don’t any longer. I have come to understand this is where God wants me. This is where I should be. When I’m in the midst of it, I don’t want to do anything else. It’s only when I listen to others saying I should be doing this or that when I contemplate any uncertainty. I’ve learned to tune those folks out. They mean well, but they aren’t seriously considering what God has called me to do. They are thinking from their positions and not God’s. I’m not interested in their positions. I am infinitely interested in God’s. So should you for your own life.
Find your calling. Embrace it. Love it. Give it everything God tells you to put into it. Don’t doubt your calling. What you don’t have God will provide. What you will struggle with God will strengthen. What you are timid about God can and will give you courage, if you ask Him. Live your calling. Let it be your personal gift back to God. Let it be for His glory. Don’t let others dissuade you. Yes, listen to sound advice. Yes, take heed of what those you trust say. However, trust in the Scriptures. Be listening for and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. And answer that call. Remember Isaiah’s words,” Here am I.” In other words, present yourself to the Lord to be used in whatever way He chooses. It won’t be a mistake. It will be worth every second. And it will mean results that last for eternity.