I think it’s so interesting how God has created each one of us unique, and how important it is that we don’t just try to be like someone else just because we feel like we have several similar likes or dislikes, talents or spiritual gifts. Let me give you some examples of what I am talking about.
Working in Full-Time Ministry
I have known for a long time that I wanted to be involved in full-time ministry, even before I graduated from college. While on one hand there are some aspects of the marketplace that I enjoy, I knew that as a person, there was a longing inside of me to be in ministry. The problem with being in full-time ministry is that I knew I wasn’t cut out for working in a church. The idea of being a pastor or working in a traditional church was just not appealing to me in any way. It was for this very reason that once Autumn and I were married, we applied for and were accepted to go on staff full-time with Campus Crusade for Christ. I don’t know exactly what happened, but we never really found a great fit for us, so we didn’t end up doing ministry with them. So, I got a job in the wireless industry and spent nearly the next five years of my life there. However, this brought a lot of inner turmoil into my life knowing that I wasn’t being satisfied with what I was doing.
Finally, I had an opportunity to go into full-time ministry at Doulos Ministries in Branson, Missouri working with at-risk teens at a residential care facility. While I wasn’t sure this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I knew it was a transitional time, something that could change the direction of my life.
Going on Staff at OHOP
Going on staff seems to be a bit of a discrepancy of what I wanted to do. After all, isn’t OHOP a church? That’s an interesting question. The first Sunday we attended OHOP they had a church wide meeting discussing both structural changes that were taking place, as well as legal changes. These legal changes included the refiling with the state of Florida from a church to a different non-profit structure! Not that this matters much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s just the sort of thing that God does!
A Call to Missions
Growing up I never wanted to be a missionary; I had everything I ever wanted or needed right here in America. However, during my time at Doulos we had several missionaries come visit our classes. Each time we had someone visit our class I could feel the tug inside of me saying ‘You could do that if God called you to.’ This was a total change inside of me that was bringing me closer and closer to accepting the idea that God may have me be a missionary. Where we are at now, OHOP, is called the OHOP missions base, a place where people work full-time as intercessory missionaries, and we are living a missionary lifestyle.
Discipling and Working with Youth
While many times in life I have felt like I wanted to work with youth, I have never wanted to be a youth pastor. It just doesn’t fit me. But recently, I have been asked to take a role spiritually fathering the youth at OHOP. I won’t be working as a pastor, I won’t be leading youth group, or anything else like that. What I will get to do is mentor/disciple/father young men, without being a youth pastor.
The Moral of the Story…
God has created each one of us unique. Just because you have a passion to teach youth doesn’t mean you need to become a youth pastor. Just because you feel called to be a missionary doesn’t mean you’re going to end up overseas. I really want to encourage you to find out how God has created you unique. This doesn’t just apply for your calling, but how you minister. If you have a teaching gift, this doesn’t mean you have to be a teacher or pastor; you may be a small group leader or a mentor. You could also become an author and write books on topics in a way people understand, or you may become a conference speaker. It’s important to allow God to lead you in the ways He has created you to be. Don’t look around to see how you are supposed to do something. Do what comes natural to you or ask God to show you how you are supposed to do it. The Body of Christ is diverse. We need all the parts functioning how they are supposed to. What unique gifts do you have that you can bring to the table?