Sometimes Christian teens have a clear sense of calling into ministry, so they go to Bible college or a Christian college to prepare. They intern and then begin.
But what I have noticed is that ministry is often a second career for folks. Often people start out by serving in their church, by going on a short term missions project, or by working at a summer job in which they have opportunities to minister to people. Over time, they find that God is transitioning them out of what they used to do and is leading them into ministry as a career.
I’ve had two wonderful pastors who used to make a lot more money in executive positions in secular jobs before going into the ministry. I’ve also had two great pastors who worked full time at other jobs while pastoring. I’ve also worked with full-time Christian camp staff who spent summers during their college years working at Christian camps and then ended up going into camp ministry as a career.
I know two missionary couples who each spent years in regular careers and supported many other missionaries. Eventually they left everything to go serve the Lord in missions. And I know another couple who sold almost everything they had when they were middle aged, left their jobs, and moved to serve the Lord full time at a Christian conference center. In their senior years they are living overseas and discipling Christians.
God prepares us through many means, and then when the time is right, He may call us into full-time or part-time ministry. The following is a story a reader of this blog shared with me. He tells how God led him into full-time Christian camp ministry.
How God Led Me Into Full Time Camp Ministry
by Cliff Peckford
Circle Square Ranch
I have been active in church ministry for over 20 years. During that time I have served as a deacon, Sunday school leader, Men’s Ministries president, as well as serving on a number of committees. I realized early in my walk with the Lord that there was a role for me to play in being a follower of Christ.
I have always admired people who have committed themselves to the work of the Lord. I find it very encouraging to be in their presence. I feel that as a believer and a member of the body, I have a responsibility to assist in the gospel being presented to as many as possible. As such, I became quite involved in my church and was visible in many different aspects of ministry.
My calling into camp ministry came through another member of my church, when God laid me upon her heart. She served on the Advisory Committee of Circle Square Ranch, a Christian summer camp and retreat centre. They had been prayerfully seeking a Director for their camp and my name had been suggested. After giving it some prayerful consideration, I agreed to pursue this avenue. About six weeks after making the initial contact I was flown to the Head Office of Crossroads Christian Ministries to complete my interviewing process. We attended chapel on the day I arrived and the title of the Pastors message was ‘A Divine Appointment’. I took that as a confirmation that God was leading me in this direction.
Well, I am now entering my fourth summer as a Director. Although there have been many challenges along the way, it has been the most rewarding three years of my life. I have witnessed God do so much in the lives of young staff and children that we have had the privilege to minister to. I have seen kids come to camp in the foulest of moods and go home with the biggest smile. I have prayed with kids in the middle of the night, sat and listened to their hearts breaking because of what’s happening in their lives. I have spent hours in the waiting room of the hospital while one of our campers or staff waits the results of x-rays. I have had parents write me letters expressing gratitude for giving their children so much love and attention. They want to know what our ‘secret’ is to getting through to their kids. I’m happy to share with them that it is no secret what God can do.
I could go on and on, telling of how God has ministered to me through the past three years. My desire is that I will be obedient to his calling and when doors are opened, I will have the faith to walk through them. For I have come to believe that; ‘God doesn’t always call the equipped, but He always equips the called’.
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