Pursuing Ministry Training
Join today and receive a scholarship towards pursuing ministry training and becoming a leader in Christian ministry. Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) offers free high-quality online ministry training. CLI accepts any individual anywhere in their life to learn about Christianity. Read a student’s testimony below who found CLI and is using the scholarship for pursuing ministry training to spread the word of God.
Hello, my name is Christopher Nickell. I am 24 years old and am currently living in West Palm Beach, Florida in the United States. I consider myself to have been in ministry for roughly 6 years, as this is when I truly began to take seriously the mantle of living like Christ.
I come from quite a broken family – an alcoholic, drug-addicted father who was almost never around; a young, mother who had not grown up; and two younger brothers, 3 and 5 years my younger. The most recent starting from the age of 15. But, I now have a family through my wife, Abigail. We met at University and her family has accepted me as one of their own.
Further, I was homeless twice, from the ages of 7-11 and from 15 until I started University at age 18. I have sold and done drugs, engaged in gang-related activity, and been the victim of alcoholic abuse for many, many years. My family is comprised of mostly alcoholics who had not completed school, had kids really young, and never truly grew up. Their views of the world are contained in the same cycle which they attempted to escape but inadvertently perpetuated.
These aren’t strung together as accolades for myself, but accolades for Christ and his grace and unending love, that He would reach down and be with me during and despite these things. It was these experiences that showed me the true nature and devastation of the human soul – the desire for connection, acceptance, and love but also the desire to survive at all costs, a common detriment to the former desires. These desires help for an easy target from the Enemy. It is these desires which instill in me a passion for providing the ultimate source of connection, acceptance, and love to all people through Christ, the living water.
A bit more about me. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communication & Media and a Master’s degree in Church History (more a practical, factual degree than a theological degree). This is why I am here at CLI – to learn and establish basic and foundational biblical and theological training. I am very much interested and have always primarily focused on, establishing an attitude and life that reflects the grace of Christ – utilizing these two facets of Christianity to provide meaningful relationships with the people around me. Through these relationships, I believe that Christ can use me to share his love.
Speaking of sharing his love, West Palm Beach, South Florida in general, has one of the highest rates of drug addiction, rehabilitation, relapse, and drug-related crimes in the United States. Many states throughout the US send people to South Florida to enter rehabilitation programs. Many South and Central American and Caribbean countries traffic drugs through South Florida. Both of these facts combined to aid in establishing quite a poverty, homelessness, and crime ridden area.
Much of the demographic in South Florida is comprised of individuals struggling with the difficulties mentioned above, as well as there is a high population of English as second-language speakers, many being Spanish or Creole. This is the area within which I mostly interact.
I have recently moved back to the United States after living in Hong Kong with my wife and in-laws. My time there resulted in much training in ministry through the church that my in-laws planted, called The Little Church World. My time there was oriented in me a vision for how to reach people, albeit not as direct a manner as traditional evangelism, but rather a relationship-centered evangelism which focuses primarily on providing and emphasizing the humanity and dignity found in all human beings – which I believe truly shares the love and concern God has for each of us and the welcoming heart he has, calling each of us to Himself.
For me, this all started as the direct result of a punishment. At age 15, I had a step-father who was abusive. I would instigate him, in order to steer him away from my younger brothers. I finally had enough and told a teacher at school about it. The next day I met with police officers and representatives from the Department of Children and Families. They determined that there was not sufficient evidence for abuse, and dropped our case. As a result, I was charged with attempting to dismantle the family by my mother. The punishment, to spend 6 months attending church with my grandmother.
This was a punishment primarily because my mother and grandmother did not quite get along. The punishment emphasized more the time spent with my grandmother. Going to church was simply what she did. Throughout those 6 months, I met the most genuine and alive people I’ve ever met. Through their interest in who I was and for my well-being, their concern for my soul, I met with an inquisitive spirit and began asking many questions of the pastor and youth pastor, eventually accepting the truth of who Christ was and what he did for us.
This is the foundation of my ministry dream, which is shaped heavily by my wife. Her passion for people and her love for the Lord have greatly influenced my own walk. Further, she is British but was born and spent the majority of her life in Hong Kong. We just spent the better part of a year there with her family and I have developed a love for Chinese culture. She and I see ourselves pursuing ministry training within Hong Kong and Mainland China – whether that is by literally being in those places, or in the States/England ministering to Chinese expats. Specifically, I desire to help establish communities. If this manifests in church-planting, growth, groups leadership, or even simply housing international students frequently, providing a home away from home to which they can experience the warmth and love of God.
By providing a clear context and ministry training outline, this course as reminded me of the significance and impact that engaging in a daily walk with God has on both your own life and the lives of the people around you. Therefore, by utilizing the material and experience of the leaders of CLI, I expect and intend to grow in both my understanding of Christ and my personal role in developing, maintaining, and sharing my relationship with Him.
What prompted me into pursuing ministry training is an easy question to answer, but a difficult question to articulate. What I mean is, the difficulties and challenges I faced growing up both prepared me and my heart for ministry but also are most of the stumbling blocks and temptations in this same ministry.
Prayers are always desired! Prayers for the stirring of the Spirit; for increased desire to know God more deeply and to share His love more excitedly; prayers for steadfastness in maintaining the attitude necessary to reflect Christ; prayers for a love and purity towards my wife and family; prayers for devotion to learning, learning about God, the Church, and about people and how to best serve them; and prayers for the community with which I interact, that their hearts would be softened to see what Christ has down in my life and what He can do in theirs. I am so blessed and excited for this opportunity CLI has given me in pursuing ministry training.
Check out more stories about CLI students pursuing ministry training and becoming leaders in Christian ministry and much more on the CLI Facebook page