Ordained Minister

Become an ordained minister through Christian Leaders Institute. We offer free Bible classes and ordination classes. These classes are free for your unofficial ordination certificate. There is a small donation fee for official documentation. Here is how our ordination process works. First, are you a Christian? Have you professed your faith in Christ? Are you walking with God? Are you called into ministry? When you sign up for the free studies at Christian Leaders Institute, you will take a getting started class that helps you explore your walk with God and your calling into ministry. All materials for study are free. Second, are your beliefs actually Christian? Christian Leaders Institute offers you a Christian Basics class featuring the materials of Dr Edwin Roels. This Christian Basics class covers the key doctrines of Christianity. When you complete this class you graduate with your first certificate at Christian Leaders Institute and you are ready to pursue becoming an ordained minister through the Christian Leaders Alliance and the Christian Leaders Churches. Third, takes classes that focus on your speciality as an ordained minister, and you can pick from different ordination options. Currently, you can become an ordained minister in the following specialities.

  • Ordained Local Church Deacon (11 Credits)Ordained Minister
  • Ordained Officiant (20 Credits)
  • Ordained Christian Leader (37 Credits)
  • Ordained Local Church Officiant (23 Credits)
  • Ordained Local Church Pastor (36 Credits)
  • Ordained Network Planting Apostle (49 Credits plus other requirements)

Fourth, each ordination designation has a one credit ordination class included in the program. This class finalizes your local ordination. You will be asked to submit three local recommendations concerning your life and calling to be an ordained minister in your local community. Once these recommendations are submitted and all the requirements of the ordination class are complete, you will be ordained through the Christian Leaders Alliance. You can schedule a local ordination ceremony in your community. Note: All ordinations are through the Christian Leaders Alliance. Christian Leaders, NFP also offers a program for an ordained minister to have an accountability structure including the cover of the Apostolic Council. This ordination accountability requires a monthly donation commitment to support the ongoing cost of this program. Christian Leaders Institute partners with Brian DeCook the president of Peacefire.net

Warning: Stay away from ordination mills that do not give you the credible training to be ordained as a Christian minister. Check out Ordination Scams. 

Read More Ordained Minister Stories

Karen Wake – Commissioned Minister

My name is Pastor Karen Wake and I am a commissioned minister. I was born, raised and reside in Ontario, Canada. I am a widowed mother of two wonderful sons, a grandmother to three terrific grandchildren, and recently became a great-grandmother to a darling little boy.

More than 6 years ago, I enrolled as a student of Christian Leaders Institute. My personal profile is available in the Christian Leaders Alliance/Ordination directory. The scholarship I received from CLI has allowed me to get a solid Christian college education necessary. CLI trained me truthfully, spiritually and in a biblical manner, to be a minister to people and spread the gospel right here in my own community and online.

With my initial Ordination in January of 2015 and all the new courses that this amazing institution has provided for us, I gained the knowledge and confidence to plant “New Creations Christian Fellowship” here in Mount Forest.  This fellowship includes a small home based group and a much larger following worldwide on Facebook at “One Pastor’s Notes.” 

Christian Leaders Institute allows those of us who cannot afford the tuition fees of other Bible Schools and Seminaries to receive a quality Christian education from dedicated, Spirit-filled teachers who do not hesitate to respond to any questions we have along the way.

I thank Henry Reyenga and all of the staff for their vision of raising leaders around the world who will emerge and fulfill Christ’s great commission “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV) My heartfelt thanks to everybody at CLI!

To all who read this, I hope you too will be able to become a Vision Partner to help keep this great institution thriving and turning out Christian Leaders worldwide.  

May God bless you abundantly.


Ordained Pastor Call

My name is Amy Allen and I have an ordained pastor call on my life. I am a child of God foremost and a mom to three beautiful kids, and a bonus mom to twelve others. YES! We have 15 kids! I was raised in a Christian home as a pastor’s kid, and I am the oldest girl of 7 with one older brother. My family has many pastors in its lineage and a great heritage. I have always known I had the calling of God on my life, but as a young adult I started having kids and being a wife and that took the majority of my time. I am at a place in my life where I am supported by my husband, a man of God that also feels the call of God on his life. So, together we are building a life that we truly believe is ordained and blessed by God.

I found the Christian Leaders Institute after my husband and I purchased an old church, that was not being used, where we live in Tecumseh, Oklahoma. Our big family has been ministering in music for churches and ministries all over Oklahoma. We began to seek God for a facility to work out of. I knew we needed more training and that God laid a desire for ordination and pastoring on my heart. One day via the internet, CLI came up on a search. After reviewing and praying about CLI, I started the first class. I truly believe this program is something God has laid across my path for more training and for a deeper understanding of the ordained pastor call on my life. It will also help me to learn more in His Word so I can be equipped to help the hurt and broken. CLI has already become an extra resource for me to draw from. I’m excited everyday to see what God is doing in my life!

Since the age of 3, I have been singing with my family as well as by myself in ministry. At 5, I knew I wanted to become just like Naomi Judd, the singing nurse. God fulfilled that desire, and as an adult, I did receive my nursing degree as a Registered Nurse and I have sung to my patients and helped the hurting. I have had many struggles in life from a broken home, broken marriage, betrayal, abuse and even a car accident that I could have died in and that left me with chronic pain. Through it all, God has kept me. I believe He will use every piece, every lost or broken thing, every hurt and every situation through this ordained pastor call He has on my life to reach those that are in need and broken. Since we purchased the church, we have begun remodeling it. We are hopeful to open the doors soon. We hope to not just grow a congregation “inside” the church but to get out into this community and show God’s love in whatever way God directs us.

I want to continue training at CLI to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry and continue to follow the call of God in my life.

Learn about minister ordination with Christian Leaders Alliance.

Ordination Training

My name is Karey Gaston. I am receiving ordination training and ministry training at Christian Leaders Institute. I am 56 years old and currently live in Big Lake, Alaska. I have been married 35 years to my wonderful husband Ralph. We have 3 beautiful daughters, 3 awesome son-in-law’s, and 4 granddaughters. I was born in Fairbanks, Alaska and raised in the North Pole area. My husband and I met in Golden Colorado in 1980. Within a year of meeting, we moved to Alaska and have called it our home ever since.

I was raised Episcopalian but my family was never really active in the church. At 16 years of age, I became curious about God and started searching for a church. I was saved and baptized at a local Methodist/Presbyterian church at age 17, but had no one to disciple me. After being accepted into the Colorado Institute of Art at age 18, I moved to Denver. At that time, I was not walking with the Lord. It was not till 1986 when my husband was born again that I re-dedicated my life to the Lord. We were very active in church and the word of God but both were still struggling in our walk.

In June of 2002, after a spell of about 8 months of not going to church, my daughters asked me to start taking them back again. Within 2 weeks of attending church, I had a moment at the altar that I feel changed me for life. I once again re-dedicated myself to the Lord and became so desperate for His love that I truly laid my life down on that day. My husband was not at a point to come back at that time, so it was a struggle. But I just kept pressing into my relationship with God.

By August of 2002, I found a local church to be my home. In 2003, my husband was arrested and went to jail for 5 ½ years. I went through the darkest time of my life but never felt alone. I sensed that God wanted me to stand by my husband, and I did. He surrendered his life over to the Lord and began walking with Him right where he was within the prison system of Alaska. In 2005, I was introduced to a ministry that was starting out up here called Blood ~N~ Fire Ministry of Alaska. I felt led to become involved but had no idea of what God wanted me to do. In faith, I stepped out.

Our mission was for the poor and broken-hearted to feed, clothe, and find shelter for them. We started out delivering food and clothing for families in need. Within the first year, I became the Secretary/Treasurer. The following year, I became President of the Board of Directors. This is a position that I held until October of 2014. At that time I stepped down to take on the Executive Director position of which I am currently serving in.

Blood ~N~ Fire Ministries serves our community with a Food Pantry helping an average of 600 families per month. A Clothing Pantry dealing strictly with new clothes serves 50 families a month. Our program, The Knik House, is a Christ-based transitional housing program currently serving 23 men, 10 women, and 5 children. We are supported mainly by churches and individuals support.

In January 2014, my Board of Directors voted to have me ordained as a pastor for this ministry. I was surprised that they could see me in such a position. Through prayer and seeking the Lord, I realized that He has called me as a pastor. I have been working within that gifting for the last 7 years. I spent some time researching online possibilities that could work with my need for on-the-job training. I soon realized that I was lacking a strong knowledge of the Word of God. That is when I found Christian Leaders Institute. At the time I started, CLI was not doing ordination training but I understood my personal need for a deeper foundation. So I decided not to concern myself with being ordained. After 3 months time, CLI began offering ordination training so I was able to begin moving in the direction necessary to properly equip my calling.

Our local church has supported us financially and spiritually for the last 11 years. The ministry started under the Crossroads Community Church umbrella in 2005. We became our own 501c3 in 2007. The outreach that we had in our community allowed us to reach out to many people that would not attend a church or had been victims of past hurts.

My mentor, Sondra Markwardt, looked up the CLI curriculum to see if she felt that it would be a good fit for me. Sondra is a recognized leader, a pastor, and the wife of Pastor Phil Markwardt, my pastor for over 11 years. Phil is now a Chaplain for our local prison system. After Sondra’s consent, I decided to move forward with the studies provided by CLI.

The ordination training and ministry training that I have received from CLI has been life-changing in how I am able to minister to clients on a daily basis. My knowledge and hunger for the Word have increased greatly. I would not have been able to accomplish this without the availability of such online training. I was able to move at my own pace while working 2 jobs at the beginning of starting this schooling. For this, I give you my gratitude.

In closing, I ask for your prayers for the purity of heart, the oneness of mind and spirit for our Board of directors, staff, and volunteers. Please pray for the wisdom of the Lord for continued expansion of this ministry and outreach. And most importantly, that we would continue to be a light within our community, and beyond.

Learn about ordained minister study programs at Christian Leaders Alliance.

Ordained Officiant Minister

My name is Martha Narvaez and I have become an ordained officiant minister. I am from Green Cove Springs, FL. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and moved to the United States as an adolescent. Here, I finished high school, went to college and later joined the military. I have three children, now grown. So it is my husband, my cats and myself at home. We are both retired military after each serving over 20 years in the US Army. These days, I have taken the time to do all the things I was not able to do due to the military life and many deployments overseas over the years. Retirement has given me the opportunity to reflect on the past, present, and future. It has given me the chance to strengthen my beliefs. It has motivated me and given me the desire to focus on helping others. I was raised in the Roman Catholic faith, and I have learned that Christ is my Savior. Throughout my life, He has been the center of my existence.

Christian Leaders Institute has prepared me with the credentials necessary to officiate in the sacraments of baptism and marriage. It also provided me with the spiritual tools necessary for success. I have a better comprehension of the scriptures which enhances my Christian values, marriage, and family life.

Now that I have the education and confidence, I can spiritually guide couples ready to commit to a life together. I can help them understand the importance of the holy matrimony, family and how God plays an important role in it all. I feel prepared to solemnize marriages thanks to these studies. Now with my Ordained Minister credentials and a high-quality education through CLI, I know I can make a difference.

I am ready to serve and make disciples. Thank you, Christian Leaders Institute!

Learn about minister ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.

Legitimate Ordained Minister – My name is Rob Fairless, and I live in Southern Illinois along with my wife of 10 years Amber and my two daughters Kennedi and Emeri. I currently host “The 25th Hour Radio Show” which airs on Monster Radio AM1150. I came from a family who has always been involved in the church, but for some reason or the other, I chose a different path.

Long story short I ended up with a felony drug conviction at the age of 28. Because of my family’s love for me, they were willing and able to arrange Pastor Joey Dunning of the Karnak Methodist Church to visit me while I was incarcerated. After talking with Pastor Dunning a while, I asked Christ to enter my life over a phone through a clear glass window while inside the McCracken County Jail in Paducah, Ky. The day I was saved Pastor Joey brought me a study bible to read.  More inmates were asking for Bibles like mine. I think I was able to get around ten brand new study Bible’s brought in to the jail donated by the Karnak Methodist Church.

In Jail, I attempted to entertain myself and the surrounding “Pods” by speaking through my cell air duct at night and conducting a nightly “radio show.” I would interview other inmates from other cells and try to make everyone forget where we were. Everyone seemed to enjoy that and so did I. The “radio show” might not seem relevant but I promise it ties in. Five years after I got out of jail I met my wife, Amber. I knew she was the one for me within just a few days of being with her.

After a few years of marriage, we were troubled by the fact that we both had issues that were keeping us from having children. We went to fertility clinics and traveled all over to get advice on what we could do to help us start a family. I was told I could have a surgery that “might” help but there were no guarantees. I had the surgery, but we still couldn’t get pregnant no matter how hard we tried. Now I do want to mention that even though I was saved in jail, I never committed to a local church after I was released. I just figured if I did my best to live right I would do alright with God. So here I was married to a wonderful woman but feeling worthless as a man because I couldn’t give her the most precious of life’s gifts, a child.

One day out of the blue my sister (who is a devout Christian) called me and invited me to her church because they had a guest pastor from Africa speaking there. So there I was in this foreign place called “Church” with my sister and her family as well as my Mom and step-dad. A few minutes into the service this pastor starts speaking about someone who had trouble having children. All the thoughts of me being a worthless husband came flooding over me like a tidal wave. I started praying to God asking if it was fair of me to remain married to my wife if by doing so would strip her of what life is all about. I can’t explain in words what happened next…I just started crying and couldn’t stop. The more I fought it, the more it overwhelmed me. To be honest, I think I freaked out my Mom a little who was sitting beside me because she NEVER saw me this way…and guess what….I was freaked out too. It was my first experience with the Holy Spirit. I was so embarrassed because I knew everyone was looking at me wondering what was up with the new guy in church. After about five minutes I was able to gain my composure.

As soon as church let out I was out the door as quick as my feet could carry me. I went home and never spoke a word about that to anyone. Well, long story short my wife sent me a photo of four pregnancy tests showing positive results a few weeks later. When we went to the doctor, the tests revealed we got pregnant the week I went to that church. God healed me and gave us a child. No doubt about it. Oh and remember that “radio show” I did back when I was in jail?

About the time my first daughter was born, I started an on-line talk show just as something to do. I don’t know why I did it really, I just did. I don’t have any journalism training….heck I’m a college dropout. Now here we are five years later, and I have one of the top celebrity/notable name radio shows in the five state region. I want to use that position to help spread the word about salvation. I know God is real and he has a specific purpose for me. I believe he sent his son Jesus to die for my sins and because of his ultimate sacrifice, I will live in paradise for eternity. I think it’s about time I repay the gifts he’s given me and uses those gifts to help spread The Good News.

I have so many ideas floating around in my head on how to help others who are in a similar situations like I was in. I know if God can show ME grace and help to turn MY life around HE can do that for anyone. I just feel compelled to take this training like I’m being guided by his hand. It’s that simple. I’m taking this one day at a time and letting HIS will be done.

Legitimate Ordained Minister – Join CLI and Get Your Scholarship for Ministry Training

Having the opportunity to learn from Christian Leaders Institute free of charge and become a Legitimate Ordained Minister is an amazing thing.  I’ve lived on the edge my whole life. I could have easily been spending my days behind bars or perhaps dead. There’s a reason why I’m still here being blessed with a wonderful family and being able to do the things I love to do. That reason is without question the forgiveness of God. I know the Christian Leaders Institute Deacon Minister Ordination will help to strengthen my resolve in serving God the way he has always planned for me to do. In the short term, I will continue my education with CLI, become a Vision Partner, work towards my Diploma of Ministry, and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as I can.

Watch a Powerful video put together by the CLI staff. Click here

Ordained Officiant Training

Join today and receive free ordained officiant training. 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 free Ordained Officiant Training to answer his call from God.

I am God-fearing man who loves the Lord and the word of God. My mom raised me in the church. As a matter of fact, my entire household was spiritual as I was growing up. I was saved and baptized at 12 years. My mom had received a few prophetic proclamations on my life that I would become a preacher and pastor. As I was growing up, I also received confirmations of those very proclamations but did not know how to handle it and where to begin. In 1997, I re-dedicated my life to Christ and gave up everything that would hinder my walk with God. I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, a few months after re-dedicating my life. I was on fire for God many weeks afterward. It was an awesome experience. I am married to the most beautiful woman in the world to me of almost 13 years. We have been together for 16 years. Together we have 3 handsome, smart and intelligent boys (Jontrell -15, Jordan -14, and Joshua -12), who also love the Lord with all their heart. My oldest son loves to read and study the bible almost daily for long periods of times. They have all confessed Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior and have been baptized approximately 4 years ago. I am a Civil Draftsman/Designer and Inspector. I also currently am the President of F.A.I.T.H. L.I.O.N.S. (Fathers Alliance Inspiring Tomorrows Hopefuls to be Obedient through Necessary Sacrifices) Community Outreach which is a youth organization, I started along with 3 other fathers who wanted to coach and mentor kids with the philosophy and giving them spiritual guidance, mentoring, athletic training, academic help and standardized test preparation. Those 3 guys that helped me start this organization are no longer apart of the organization, but God has to give me the charge to continue on mentoring, ministering and coaching. We reach over 150-200 kids in the Baton Rouge area, by offering sports, tutoring, study-hall, Bible study, various outreach activities, etc. I am also founder and director of my ministry that God has given me, Kingdom Advancement Center, which is in its infant stages, however, I did begin a summer program this past summer which will continue this year.

In 1997, I re-dedicated my life to Christ and gave up everything that would hinder my walk with God. I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, a few months after re-dedicating my life. I was on fire for God many weeks afterward. It was an awesome experience. I am married to the most beautiful woman in the world to me of almost 13 years. We have been together for 16 years. Together we have 3 handsome, smart and intelligent boys (Jontrell -15, Jordan -14, and Joshua -12), who also love the Lord with all their heart. My oldest son loves to read and study the bible almost daily for long periods of times. They have all confessed Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior and have been baptized approximately 4 years ago. I am a Civil Draftsman/Designer and Inspector. I also currently am the President of F.A.I.T.H. L.I.O.N.S. (Fathers Alliance Inspiring Tomorrows Hopefuls to be Obedient through Necessary Sacrifices) Community Outreach which is a youth organization, I started along with 3 other fathers who wanted to coach and mentor kids with the philosophy and giving them spiritual guidance, mentoring, athletic training, academic help and standardized test preparation. Those 3 guys that helped me start this organization are no longer a part of the organization, but God has to give me the charge to continue on mentoring, ministering and coaching. We reach over 150-200 kids in the Baton Rouge area, by offering sports, tutoring, study hall, Bible study, various outreach activities, etc. I am also founder and director of my ministry that God has given me, Kingdom Advancement Center, which is in its infant stages, however, I did begin a summer program this past summer which will continue this year.

My ministry goal is to become the Pastor God has called me to be, to live out my purpose for being. God had called me to the ministry over 10 years ago. He poured into me daily. I use to be up countless hours at night studying and reading the Bible, cross-referencing scripture with Greek and Hebrew. I had bought different translations of the bible a couple of Strong’s concordance, and other text books. I wanted to attend Seminary but just could find the time to go. I had a burning desire to fulfill my call. Preached my first sermon in 2001. I had accumulated enough sermons in the span of 6 – 8 months to probably preach for a year and a half. But, things got slow for me and I didn’t know what to do next. Well in June of this year I sincerely answered my call and God has opened up several doors for me as He had been preparing me. I have a strong desire like never before to do His will. I believe this calling is to study Ordained Officiant Training. Since September, I have ministered 3 times locally and two weeks ago, I ministered at the Hearts of Fire Conference in Atlanta to a group of youth.

This Scholarship at CLI will help me to become more astute and profound in the word of God. It will give me a great opportunity to be taught by some elite instructors through this online course study so that I may elevate my knowledge of the word of God and biblical principles that I may be able to effectively and precisely preach the gospel of Jesus Christ without compromise or doubt, that by the word of God, those who I minister to will be drawn to God by the gospel, thus helping me not only achieve my goals but most importantly achieve the goal of the gospel. I am looking forward to my journey through Ordained Officiant Training. 

On becoming an Ordained Officiant, I believe that it is a privilege and honor to be a representative of God carrying out God ordained mandates for kingdom purposes and for the glory of God. It is not just a duty, but I feel an obligation as one who is called of God to accept this specific calling of an Ordained Officiant who can carry forth kingdom principles on earth and to execute and exemplify through demonstration what God expects and commands of us to bring Him glory. I pride myself on trying to do everything decently and in order with excellence through the working and help of the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us into all truth. It is, therefore, with gratitude and appreciation to be chosen of God as a vessel whom He can use to set in order and execute the various ceremonies and services as needed. I truly believe through my humility, love for people and being faithful to the call, am able to uphold the office of an Ordained Officiant.

Check out more stories about CLI students becoming leaders in ministry the on the CLI Facebook page

Ordained House Church Minister

CLI has provided this student with the training he needs to be an ordained house church minister. He has gone from prison to becoming an ordained house church minister in his local area.

Read his testimony below:

I was born in Quezon City Philippines and migrated to Simi Valley California on May 1982. I have a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and an MBA concentrating in Project Management. I have been married (Jaylene) for almost 24 years with a 22 years old daughter (Larissa) and an 18 years old son (Ryan).

When I was 3 years old, my parents separated and I grew up mainly with my grandmother. I barely saw my father for he is a merchant marine who is always out of town so I never really know who he is. I didn’t know my mom very well either although we migrated to the US in May of 1982 both of which a regret – I should have been matured enough to find the time to get to know them and this is something that I wished I could change.

Since I never really have a father figure, I got in many trouble although not until when I was over 18 years of age. I was in and out of jail for a day or 2 and one day, there was a rumble that I was not even a part of and my sworn enemies pointed fingers at me as part of that rumble and I was sentenced to 6 months of jail time. It was then that I was first introduced to the Bible and there was one inside my cell. I read the entire bible twice although it was very confusing. I was also introduced to this person who prayed for me in tongue and that really scared me for I have no clue what he was saying. This was in 1990.

While in jail, I have all the time to evaluate my life and it was not looking good so I decided that I need to go to college and make something of myself. I also knew that I needed to leave California in order to get out of trouble and that I needed to find a woman from out of town. So after getting out, my sister took me in and I went and get my bachelor degree in DeVry University and that is where I met my wife of 24 years. I could see now that Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11 is so real as this happened to me.

It was not until July 2007 that I accepted the Lord Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and although I have many ups and down, I am so glad that He never gave up on me. I have served many positions in churches – Administrator, Bible teacher, Men’s Ministry President, a church deacon. I have the desire to continue on and advance to serve Him more and more.

I searched for a long time to find a school for free and after a year or so of searching, I found CLI and started studying daily since Dec of 2016. CLI courses are well written and very detailed. The quizzes are challenging as well that is why I found it really good and really recommend it. Being ordained by CLI will help me with church planting, house churches as well as to be a pastor if God is willing for me to do so.

I have been praying that God will allow me to plant a church but I was not certain where and during our house hunting, we made many offers to many houses all over the place and none of them went through except for where we are right now in Rahway NJ. I asked God to allow me to plant a church here and in April 2017, my church split up because of a different view of buying a building and now I have no church. This is where I need CLI to help me out.

I do have about 4 or 5 families now to plant a church. We do small group (house church) but not every week as many are on vacation but intend to make this to a weekly basis. We need all the prayer we can get. Please pray for us, ask the CLI people to pray for us.

I am deeply thankful that God allowed me to find CLI and able to study and I only have about 3 courses to get my bachelor degree in divinity but I intend to take many more classes outside the requirement to further my knowledge of Greek and so on.

May the good Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus continue to bless CLI.

Become an ordained house church minister at CLI today!

Journey to Ministry

Start your journey to ministry today! 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 used Christian Leaders Institute to continue his journey to ministry:

I was born and raised in Genesee county Michigan, USA. I still reside in Genesee county and currently, I am the outreach and evangelism pastor at my local church. I have been in ministry for a total of 15 years and have held numerous different positions. My wife Samantha Kelley and I are in ministry together.
At 13 years old, I felt the call of God on my life to preach. I come from a line of men of God who uphold the Christian walk and have taught and lived out the truth of who God is. My spiritual mentor is my father. My father’s spiritual mentor was his uncle, my great uncle, BL Kelley. It is my desire to continue this legacy to be the best pastor that I possibly can be. I am currently fully ordained as a minister of the gospel, and I hold an associates degree in biblical theology from Christian Leadership University. I am in a position where I can no longer afford to pay the fees associated with the traditional seminary. This scholarship would give me the ability to achieve a degree in Divinity, as well as give me the training necessary to be the best minister I can possibly be. Christian Leaders Institute will allow me to follow my dreams.
What I love about CLI so far is the quality information and training available. I’m not looking for the easy road for some online school to hand me the paper of completion. I look forward to learning the material so I can apply it to my local church. In my local area, we have a key demographic of low-income families, alcoholism, drug addiction, broken families, All of which who are in desperate need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so excited to learn in greater detail different ways I can engage our local community to present Christ. My father is the pastor of my local church, I have been called here for a reason. I do not want to have to leave my local church for a bigger denomination that has the ability to train within. The Holy Spirit spoke to me in January 2017 that I am to stay put and help my father pastor our local church. With that said, I am in need of further education and further training. I am excited to be a part of Christian Leaders Institute to continue my journey of ministry. 
I was born and raised in the church but like most, I went astray for a while. Because of my personal encounter with God the Savior, I have a desire to see the lost saved and to see the broken be made whole. In my testimony, God has delivered me from drugs and alcoholism, he has delivered me from depression, PTSD from combat, and saved my life when I attempted suicide. The best advice I have ever been given to be effective in my journey to ministry is that we cannot be afraid to show our own scars. Just like when Jesus resurrected from the dead and some of those who are closest to him did not recognize him. His identifier was his scars.
I identify most with being called to serving as a Pastor because I truly have a desire to see people be filled, to see people healed, and to see people step into their calling.
My local church has been more than supportive and willing to help in any way possible to see us trained and ready for ministry. My family plays a vital role in our ministry because we have gone from absolute wreckage to reconciliation. My wife is truly my other half in ministry she encourages me, loves people, and is a prayer warrior. My children help me lead worship. We are all a package deal.
If there is anything that I can say we would ask for prayer for it is that God continues to direct our path, so we can be successful in creating disciples who will bring value to their own local church.
Sincerely thank you
Pastor Matthew Kelley


Check out more stories about students on their journey to ministry on the CLI facebook page

Get Ordained for Ministry

There are many online scams. These online ordination scams sell you credentials but do not give you real training. Get ordained for ministry at Christian Leaders Institute through a process that brings you high-quality ministry training and local church endorsement.

Christian Leaders Institute is a leader in freemium ministry education. Get ordained for ministry at a school that seeks to bring you ministry classes that you will use in ministry.

When you get ordained for ministry in your community, you want the ordination to mean something. You want to be included in a directory for ordained leaders that proves you have received legitimate credentials. Chrisitan Leaders Institue brings to you over 100 hours of ministry training so that you will do well in your ministry calling. Many Christians sense the calling and want to get ordained for ministry in a real and recognized way. Take Shane from England.

My name is Shane, I’m 43 years old and I’m from England.

After much searching backwards and forthwards, down numerous dusty and solitary pathways, along many arduous spiritual ramblings, exploring the multitude of different religions and faiths the world has to offer, I finally realised that I was repeatedly returning back full circle to Jesus. That was in 2003, I was 30 years old, and that was when I finally surrendered myself to Christ.

I grew up in a typical 70’s British household, with Christianity on the decline as a staple of everyday life, and thus my belief in God didn’t stretch much further than a belief in a spiritual realm, an afterlife, a Heaven, and that of a creator God. Coming from the generation of Brits (and from a small village) where Christian hymns were still part of the primary school curriculum, I got a hint of what Christianity may be about at a young age, but certainly not in any strict regimented way of indoctrination. But it had been enough to allow myself to consider that I belonged to the Church Of England (the Anglican Church). And had been enough to allow my spiritual wanderings to always bring me back to the place of most comfort, of most joy, of most rest, of most hope, which was in the palm of Jesus Christ.

So it was that in 2003 I told Christ that I was His. I finally accepted that my spiritual stumbling always led me back to Him, often internally weakened and confused from the journey, to fall in His ever open and accepting arms. I had become tired of the constant seeking for something to sooth my soul, and I realised through those times of falling down, that in Jesus, I had found a soul soother; a place of rest; a place of solitude; where the swimming of a raging mind would always still; and where the song playing to the soul always sung of peace and joy and angelic glory. I found in Jesus a stiller of all storms and a calmer of all chaos.

Discovering Christian Leaders Institute is certainly a blessing for me, and a scholarship with CLI will allow me to obtain a good solid foundation for ministry work and a better understanding of the direction I need to take for a more productive future walk with God. I’m not in a position where I could attend seminary school or the like to gain similar education, financially it would be impossible for me, so the teaching from CLI is a great help and the only possible path for me to get a sound grounding in theology and faith to take me forward. I have entertained the thought of ‘instant online ordination’ in the past, but feel that it doesn’t offer true validation for a genuine calling, as it doesn’t provide any pathways to education and thus gives no understanding nor knowledge of the role and work which ministry entails. To get ordained for ministry means that I really want to be ready! After learning about CLI, I believe that I can gain that validation through their training which typical ‘instant online ordination’ cannot provide me. From the work so far completed I can see that CLI provide a genuine high quality learning program, which I pray will be ideal for my needs to serve God in the role He calls me to.

Certain events of my life where I have suffered hardship, I believe have strengthened my character. I like to equate our lives to a book where the story is still being written. And to consider that, although hardship and mistakes may not be something to be proud about, nor brag about having had to succumb to or endure, but that they do have worth in hindsight. I like to think that they add great elaborate paintings in the pages of our book of life by defining and painting true grit of character. And that they give the pages more colour and it’s passages and leading characters (us) more depth and more humanity (including compassion and understanding). I myself have had quite a few life changing events, some of which were self-inflicted, some of which were not, but all of which I feel have only given me a greater depth of character, and a more colourful personality, so as to serve not only God in a greater capacity, but also His people. I believe that it more sharply defines understanding of suffering if one has known suffered.

I have gained a greater understanding of humanities frailties and failings through my own such failings. I believe that from great hardship one can gain great strength. Certainly within me has become engrained a deep desire to help other people who are approaching, entering, or going through such dark places where I have been. If, through my understanding, I can give to others even a pinprick of a glimpse of the glorious light of God, then it is a great thing. I have a long way to go on my journey with God, and there are many pages yet to fill in my own personal book of life, but from where I have been in the past, I have come a long way, praise Christ our Lord.

I will conclude by kindly asking that you may please pray that my truth may continue unfolding so that I may ever more steadfastly approach my Lord Jesus Christ in servitude. All glory to God.

Join Shane and begin your training to get ordained for ministry in a way that you will feel great about.

Ordained for Ministry in Germany

My name is Bernd Armbruster, and I come from Germany. In my teenage years, I thought of Christianity as an outdated concept and decided to turn my back against the church. I couldn’t understand how church rituals could have any positive effect on my life. Consequently, I not only stopped attending church, but I also started hating Christians in my heart.

After graduating from University in 2004, I went to China for what I thought would be an extended holiday. Little did I know that God was waiting for me there. In Shanghai, I met people who were madly in love with Jesus. They attended Shanghai Community Fellowship (SCF). They made Jesus so attractive to me that I became a Christian and ended up staying in SCF and Shanghai for 12 years.

Also in 2004, my wife Ryoko from Japan, and I met at SCF. In 2006, we got engaged and married. Now we have three amazing children: Anna (8), Noah (6) and Abigail (2).

In 2006, I also accepted the role of Outreach Director at SCF as a volunteer. At the time, I had already known that God wanted me to move towards full-time ministry. One major step in that direction was when my role as an Outreach Director was elevated from volunteer to full-time position in 2011. For the next five years, I was able to work full-time at SCF. Those were five fantastic years. We saw dozens of people accepting Christ every single year through this outreach ministry and joining our church community long-term. Many Christians who joined our team were completely changed. Some of them have now become ministers or missionaries in other parts of the world. Our favorite story is that of a man near retirement age whose complete Christian life at the time consisted of reading a daily prayer from a Christian calendar. He joined us to help others find Jesus. But during those months, his life was completely transformed. To quote his words: “I had the time of my life!” After spending one year on our team, he was a completely different person. His marriage was also revived. Once he reached his retirement, he decided to work for a Christian organization, and his passion for Christ has grown ever since.

The years at SCF were wonderful and fruitful years. But I always knew that this was still training ground, preparation for God’s long-term calling.

I knew that God wanted me to preach, teach and lead. That’s what I loved doing; that’s what I was good at. Theologically, I always had two big passions: one was for outreach. The other one was for relationships, marriage and family (My wife and I even wrote a book on this topic: www.simplesecrets.info). However, God had to do a lot of work in me before releasing me in my calling. He had to rid me of my immaturity, impatience, self-righteousness, judgmental attitudes, gossip, covetousness and lust. On the flipside, He had to develop gifts of compassion, teaching, sensitivity, care, love and forgiveness. I still fall terribly short of God’s standards. But the Holy Spirit has changed me over the years. And I can see God’s hand in all my past life: every major life experience was about getting me ready for being a Pastor.

The years at SCF were instrumental in preparing us for this. SCF has invested a lot of time, money and energy in developing us as leaders. They encouraged us to explore and develop our gifts. They mentored us and allowed us to learn from failures. Without SCF’s investment and encouragement, we would not be ready today for God’s call on our lives.

Around 2 years ago, God gave me a heart to pursue ministry education. I was excited, but finances did not allow me to pursue Seminary. Then I stumbled on CLI’s website. “Free ministry training and ordination” sounded too good to be true. But I gave it a try. And I quickly knew that this was how God was answering our prayer. What a great decision it was to study here.

In 2015, God started bringing it all together: He called us to Germany, to start and pastor a new church. (Aletheia International Church Munich (AIC), www.aicmunich.org). When we told SCF that we felt this call, we received even more support and encouragement than before, both from the leadership and the wider congregation. Many people there still pray for us. While we are not officially affiliated with SCF any longer, we do see AIC as an overflow of SCF’s great work.

So being obedient to His calling, we left SCF and moved to Germany in June 2016. Now we have just started our first small group with currently eight people. We are excited about what God will do from here.

Now about Germany: In my country, the church faces the challenge of religion. Many people think they know Christianity. But actually, they don’t. It is hard to break through those misconceptions, since many already made up their minds with wrong conclusions about Jesus and don’t see the need to reconsider their opinion.

Due to these common misconceptions, it is our desire that people hear the full, true gospel through AIC. Not just a feel-good-gospel, but the full gospel. We know that many people will not respond favorably. But we will proclaim the truth to as many people as we can, and disciple those who respond to Jesus’ invitation. That’s why we are here. That’s God’s calling on our lives.

The classes at CLI have greatly helped me prepare for this calling. The studies have put the different aspects of our Faith together in my mind. Some classes were pretty basic for me, having already worked in the church for years. However, other classes taught me things I had never heard before (esp. the New Testament and Church History classes). The greatest difference now is that I can see the big picture of the Christian Faith more clearly. As a result, I can better understand and communicate our Faith. I am very much looking forward to taking further classes after this ordination and learning even more.

God grew and prepared me through CLI, but this ordination will also give our church more credibility. Ordained for ministry in Germany is better received when it come from a place like CLI.  It will help people be more open towards our new Community with a Pastor who has an external approval as an Ordained Minister.

One of my favorite Bible stories is the parable commonly referred to as the Prodigal Son. In 2004, I was that younger brother: Coming home to God full of guilt, shame and embarrassment. But God showed me how much He loved me and rejoiced over my decision to return to Him. More than 12 years later, He calls me to be a Pastor. I’m not worthy of or ready for this calling. I can’t do it by myself. But I do know that God equips those He calls. I know He is trustworthy and a perfect Father. And that’s why my family and I continue to pursue this calling. Not because of us, but because of God’s love and faithfulness.

Our prayer is that God will use AIC to bring the full truth about Jesus to as many people as possible. We would be grateful for your prayer support towards this goal.

Thank you CLI for giving called leaders like me the opportunity to fulfill their calling.

In Christ’s love,

Bernd Armbruster

A Woman Ordained for Ministry

My name is Robin Hood, and I live in the United States of America. In the United States, often, ministry is not done anywhere, in schools, some buildings, and offices, God isn’t allowed. There is a lot of debate, arguments, and hatred towards Christians. To me, ministry should be done everywhere. Everywhere, can consist of at work, at home, in your school, or even where there are no four walls. Being a Christian isn’t the most popular choice here in the United States, though there is freedom of speech, some are still persecuted, and bullied even for being a Christian. Some are willing to be a Christian when they hear of the love of God found in His Son Jesus who died for our sins, while others aren’t.

I came to know the Lord as my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when I was 14 years old. It was a moment in my life I will never forget. This took place within the four walls of Cherith Baptist Church in Carson, Ms.

My ministry dream is to carry the gospel, and the love of Christ to all that are broken, hurting or lost. To live as Christ outside of these four walls, so that others will see Him, and want to know Him. I have a passion to help others, to see their lives changed, and for them to experience this wonderful life Jesus gives us, without fear or loneliness plaguing them, or causing them to hurt themselves or others. I long to be everything He wants me to be for someone else. I am truly just a servant for Christ, I want to be His hands and feet, and whatever that looks like, that is what my dream looks like.

I currently help at the Life-House here in Winfield, Alabama, founded by Bro. Jeff Norris. My husband, Dale is the Men’s house director, and side by side with him, I help in whatever I can. Sometimes this just looks like me standing in agreement with one of our brothers or sisters in Christ, or being an ear to listen to them, or even to pray with them, especially to pray for and with them.
I don’t know exactly when the moment I wanted to pursue ministry. I do know that all my life I have longed to be something. I didn’t think it would ever be a public speaker or a women’s leader. I never thought it would involve other people. I believe when I was younger it was to be either a teacher or a veterinarian. I believe all of us have a calling to ministry, it all depends on whether we are attentive to the voice of God or not.

In 2013, I messed my life up a good bit, and I had felt for once in my life like I would never be able to go back to the person I once was. It seemed as if everyone hated me, and I was all alone. But, I knew Jesus was there, and I knew that He would help me. He sent me new friends, a new church family, another chance, and a new life. I remember talking to these broken women, who had spent so much of their lives in drug addictions, and no my testimony wasn’t the same as theirs, but I realized they needed the same love that set me free.

I remember working one day, and talking to my boss about this dream God had placed in my heart for women, broken, and abused, to help them. I didn’t realize that God had just given me a dream, and I was living it. No, I’m not the “director”, but I get to partner with her, and all these other amazing people and help the ones that God so graciously puts in our lives. So, I believe in a way, all of this was God’s dream for me. I want Him to dream for me. God knew my heart from the beginning, and He knew how quiet and closed in I am, and He knew that if He directly spoke this to me, that I probably would run for the hills!

The unique challenges of this area that come to mind are the church experiences. These church experiences that many of us hear about aren’t good experiences. Some have felt judged when they enter a church, maybe not by people that know them, but just by their appearance they don’t feel like they fit in. Also, there are a lot of addictions here, and I know this isn’t just here but everywhere, and a lot of the ones that come here find it hard to stay on the right path. This leads into what they would call “so-called church members” turn their backs on them, instead of reaching out and helping them. I understand that most don’t want the help, but Jesus wouldn’t give up so how can we?

My local church is amazing. I am surrounded by a group of men and women that have been in this so long, but still, they are forever learning something new. They long to see me succeed and to grow in the Lord more and more. There are times when they won’t let me stay in my shell. They have truly been my backbone through all of this. They are constantly reminding me to rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance and not to lean on my understanding.

My family has been another backbone for me. They are very supportive and believe in me. My husband is constantly telling me not to give up to keep pushing forward to be a woman ordained for ministry in our community. He believes in the calling and in the dream that God has placed in my heart. On November 30, 2016, my father went to be with the Lord. In so many ways he and my mom have played a crucial part in my walk. I can always remember my mother, who is still living, reading the Bible and praying to God. My daddy went to college and received an Associate’s Degree in Ministry, and when I asked him why he did it, his response was because he wanted to help people. It was told at his funeral, that even in the condition he was in, when in the nursing home, that he would always have a smile on his face. The ones he left behind, were so touched by his friendship and life, they mourned him so when he was gone. But there’s one thing they could all say, and that was that he lived each day trusting in the Lord.
This mantle has fallen to me, and I have picked it up. I want to help people. Often, God does things in mysterious and unpredictable ways.

I remember reading the story of Elijah and Elisha and crying my eyes out because this was the story of my dad and I. God doesn’t look at the outer appearance or gender of a person, but He focuses on the heart of a person. I have a brother, who yes, he could get into ministry and I pray someday he will, but believing in Jesus and standing for truth is what God has been working on him with for a long time now. God chose me for such a time as this…. And He is constantly using my dad’s life to remind me that I have to continue. Daddy had a sweet entrance into heaven, and he fought such a hard fight, but if you asked him right now if he was alone, he would tell you, no. He has finally entered Beulah Land, the land in which he has longed for as long as I have known him.
God has used the distance between my family and me for such good things (1) showing me how faithful He is and how He keeps His promise (2) helping me to depend on Him through everything as a family that we have faced.

I have accomplished so much during my seeking ordination through CLI, and though there have been so many trials and struggles, God has just been so much bigger.

Pray for more of God, and continuing lessening of self. I long for more, and I know there must be so much more that we have yet to see in our lives, as well as our ministry. Wherever this ordination takes me, and to whomever I meet, pray for this journey to be everything God wants it to be. I know this is truly one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. I am so appreciative to CLI, for all the professors, and teachers, and for everything this college has put forth to help those like me to pursue the dream God has for them. Whatever this becomes, to God alone be the glory.

-Robin Hood

Check out Facebook

Local Officiant Ordination

Christian Leaders Institute offers Local Officiant Ordination training so you can do weddings. Erik Leopard tells his story.

I was born and raised in Richardson Texas, a suburb of Dallas. I served in the United States Navy and saw the world while figuring what I wanted to do with my life and returned to college receiving my Bachelors Degree from the University of North Texas. I am currently working as an HR Manager at a surgical hospital in Addison Texas. I have been married to my wife Jessica since 2007 and I have two step children, Danielle (24) and Isaac (22) and another daughter Erika (2) who we adopted at birth. I was raised in the United Methodist Church through high school but never truly understood the Gospel and Salvation. I fell away from the religious life I grew up in early on in my adult years and lived an ungodly, unsaved life for most of my adult life. In 2009 my wife and I were about to divorce when Jesus Christ entered my life and we started attending a non-denominational bible church and attended their ReEngage marriage class where I learned for the first time what a Godly husband and father looks like. I was saved during this time and my wife and I reconciled our marriage.

I intended to use this training to become ordained as my step daughter and her fiancé have asked me to marry them in February 2017. After reading more about the program I am interested in continuing past the ordination certification as I lead my family in bible study and also have a passion for evangelism and have been called by the Lord to do more in this area. We recently moved and have changed churches (Community Life in Forney, Texas) we were quite active in our last church but are not plugged in other than attending worship at the moment.

A scholarship would help me with all of the work the Lord has and will call me to do. As stated before, at the present time that area is evangelism and leading bible study. Please pray for me to lead my family better as the spiritual leader in our home as well as where the Lord wants me to serve as an Evangelist.

Like us on Facebook

Online Ordination Training

My name is Tony Wetmore. I’m a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. I live in a small resort town in the mountains of Southern California, in the United States of America. Yet, within a two-hour commute from this small community by car is a harvest field of about 22.68 million people!

I came to the Lord at YMCA camp when I was 12, and participated in youth groups during my high school years. I fell away from the Lord shortly after graduation, and spent a decade in the “world,” before returning to Him and becoming born again.

I’m married to a wonderful wife. We’ve been happily married nearly 30 years and have three children. My youngest, Joshua, is a youth leader and worship team leader at our church.

For the past 25 years, I’ve served as a ministry leader in programs ranging from youth and men’s ministry to those aimed at serving the homeless and those in prison. Throughout it all, music and worship leading have been an integral part of my service. I currently serve as the worship leader for my church, Selah Christian Fellowship, in Crestline, Calif. I’m also blessed to preach the message periodically at Selah as well as preaching and sharing the gospel on the street and in a local prison.

I work as a first responder/emergency medical technician for a 9-1-1 emergency ambulance service in Riverside County, where I am able to pray over, and with, my patients in times of crisis and need.

Here in the United States, in every city, in every small town, I have to ask the question: Are we becoming a post-Christian nation like much of Europe? Will my church one day be turned into a museum, where tours of people come through to see how the 21st century Christians in my town used to worship the Lord? Will there be dusty sheet music on rusty music stands with Chris Tomlin and Michael Tait music on it, with song titles such as “God’s Not Dead, He’s Truly Alive” yellowing and decaying?

We are in a spiritual decline here in America. Many Christian denominations are diluting the true Word of God, and making changes to the very Word itself. I am praying that there will be a Great Awakening in the early 21st century to revive the awakenings and enlightenment of the past, here in America, and around the world. But what will that look like? How will it come about? Who or what will be the catalyst? I pray that Christian Leaders Institute will have a great hand in God’s will and work for the future, and help to fulfill the Great Commission written in Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”

My ministry dreams have begun to be realized, as our nonprofit, Domestic Missionaries, Inc., is now officially a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. I am the pastor and executive director, and my wife is assistant director. Under Domestic Missionaries, we are able to minister to the homeless, needy, and low-income people on the streets of San Bernardino. We set up “church service” on the street, and play worship music, read scripture, take prayer requests, pray for, and with people, give them a relevant message of hope, and distribute food cards, hygiene kits, first aid kits, clothes, jackets, shoes, socks, blankets and Gideon Bibles. We also share with them the love of Jesus Christ and His gift of salvation. We remind them that the material gifts we give—water, food cards, hygiene kits, etc.—are only temporary. That the real food—the eternal Bread of Life, the very Word of God—is what lasts forever.

At Pilot Rock Prison Camp, we do the same: worship, Word, prayer, fellowship, message, and love, plus the gift of bibles, devotionals and snacks.

Christian Leaders Institute has given me not only the knowledge, and a deeper understanding, of what it means to be a follower of Christ in the modern world, but also has taught me to become a true pastor and shepherd to people in need of salvation, in need of Jesus. Matthew 25:31-40 tells us to tell ALL people—those who are lost, hurting, abused, hungry, imprisoned and even those who think they don’t need Him —about the love and saving grace that can only come through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We need to help them turn from the earthly bread, water and empty promises of this world to the Bread of Life, Living Water and eternal promises of the One who loves them so much that He died to save them.

People ask me: Is revival coming? I say, “Hold on to your bootstraps. His kingdom will come, His will shall be done, on earth as it is in heaven!” (Matthew 6:10)

Christian Leaders Institute has given me the depth and education to move forward in ministry. It has been a blessing to me and many others around the world. I would never have had the time or money to complete seminary if it had not been for CLI! I can trust that my monthly donations will go forward to help train others seeking a higher Godly education, accredited and recognized locally and around the world.

My ordination ceremony was on Saturday, October 15, 2016, with my mentors, pastors and peers, at my side. As reverent and joyous as my wedding vows taken years before, it represented my deepening commitment to our Savior and a conscious step into a new level of service and ministry as I humbly take on the duties and title of “pastor.” My life will never be the same. Praise the Lord!

Seeking Ordination For Ministry

Brent is seeking ordination for ministry at Christian Institutestititue. Seeking ordination at CLI means that you get your training at CLI and your local leaders sign off on your local ordination.

Who are the Leaders that are seeking ordination for ministry  at CLI?

My name is Brent Wilmarth, I am 39, a husband and father of 3 and 1 stepson. I live in the Denver/Aurora area of Colorado and currently studying both Divinity and Animal Sciences, with a hope to support my church and help the local community with the knowledge I am gaining through Christian Leaders Institute and working on Ordination.

I grew up in two households both physically and spiritually, during a time when divorce was seen as “taboo” and hardly talked about. In my Mother’s household, we were raised with the freedom to view religion on our own and develop our own desire to seek out the Lord. We attended a Methodist Church in New Hampshire that was more traditional and non-denominational than anything, very relaxed for a community of less than a thousand residents and a congregation of about 100 in a small town New England church. In my Dad’s house it was slightly different, he was more of a non-believer and my stepmother was a Catholic. So Sunday’s were interesting in that household, as well as Wednesday Mass.

I lost my faith through the years along the path of life, mostly after I had joined the military in 1999. It just felt easier to lead my life as I saw fit, instead of allowing the good Lord to lead me as He is meant to. I had seen faith as a luxury that I had no time for, and that God would not listen to a sinner such as myself. My life spiraled out of control quickly, and mostly without me even noticing. It wasn’t until I was reconnected with an old friend I had known growing up many year before that my faith began to be rekindled, and it happened in the most obscure of locations and timelines in my life.

I was deployed overseas, in a country I was certain God had forgotten. One day I was tasked with supervising a detail to clean out an old tent and to take it down, another in a long line of thankless jobs I saw that was meant to just keep me out of the way. During this detail one Soldier approached me with a chain asking if it was mine, not paying attention to it I said no and asked the others if it belonged to any of them, again no one claimed it. I took a closer look at the chain and noticed it to be a a thick-chained rosary, an item not widely seen in that part of the country, and no one remotely close to us claiming it. So I stuck it in my pocket and continued with the task at hand. Late that afternoon (morning here in the U.S.) I had received a random email from an old acquaintance, someone I had not spoken with in almost 10 years. It was the girl I had loved as a young teenager, but was far too shy to ever talk to. I spent the next few months conversing with her about life and looking forward to coming home, I even told her of the rosary that was found on the same day that we started talking again (it now hangs in our house from a cross).

We wasted very little time in reconnecting, we saw life as too precious and time too short as we had already wasted most of our younger years being apart. We were engaged within months of my return, and were recently married. Through our trials and tribulations of life together, we have grown together emotionally as well as spiritually. Our faith in each other is eclipsed only by our love for God, and that is a love we hope to share with our community. I truly believe in the words “I once was lost, but now I am found”, and the Lord was the one who lit the way. I have given my life to Him to do as He wills, and hope that I can help others to see His love.

Check out the CLI campus 

Ordained for Women’s Ministry

Charmaine Coetzee is a woman with a purpose she is focused in and didn’t let anyone or anything stop her from being ordained for women’s ministry in South Africa.

“I was brought up in a Christian home, and my mother was my role model of leading a Christ-like life,” Coetzee said. “However, my personal journey with Jesus truly began when I was a student at the North-West University, where I graduated as a Law Student. I joined and served in one of the student churches, His People (Every Nation Ministries). My eyes were opened for the first time about what it is to walk with God. I began to live for Jesus! I did not think of entering into ministry at that time, nor did I realize my calling to ministry.”

After coming to know Christ, Coetzee was a new woman, but it wasn’t until a couple of years later she started to feel a call to be ordained for women’s ministry in her community.

“After my graduation, I relocated to Pretoria and married my varsity sweetheart shortly after,” Coetzee said. “Unfortunately, after relocating, it took quite a while to get the “right” church again. We finally found our church family, Christ Generation Church Centurion, in 2014 and our whole lives changed. We started walking a path with our Pastor, who trained my husband and I to be the head ushers (deacons and elders) in the church. He laid a firm foundation for us out of the Word and understanding Grace. My hunger for knowing Christ was ignited again. This was the first time I realized my calling into ministry and my passion for it.”

Once Coetzee started to feel the desire to be a minister the Lord used death as a prompter for her to take action.

“The pivotal experience that prompted me to pursue ministry was the bereavement of our pastor,” Coetzee said. “He passed away at a very young age in April 2016, leaving behind his wife and two babies. His wife, our Senior Pastor, asked us to take over the church since she was left in a tough position and not able to proceed in the ministry although she still serves as a guide and supervisor to us.”

With the loss of her pastor, Coetzee and her husband have been made the main leaders in their church, and CLI has significantly help Coetzee with this leadership.

“My ministry dream is, therefore, to officially become a Pastor, alongside my husband,” Coetzee said. “Although I am already serving in this position, CLI assists equip me for ministry and make it official.”

Coetzee is now ordained for women’s ministry, but she still is a lawyer.

“It is probably two of the most contrasting occupations…A lawyer and a Pastor,” Coetzee said. “I would be my dream to enter into ministry full time, but until that is possible, I will use my passion for ministry in my law occupation to help people.”

Coetzee passion for ministry has lead to her starting her own ministry based in her church.

“I have recently started a women’s ministry in our church called Women of G.R.A.C.E. I want to use this forum to minister to women and to support my husband in the church,” Coetzee said. “I am trusting that the women in our church will grow spiritually, not only in themselves but also to lead their husbands and families and even the community to a mature relationship with God.”

CLI’s classes that are targeted for women’s ministry have been a blessing to Coetzee to achieve her dream to be ordained for women’s ministry in her church.

“The CLI Women’s Ministry course and Women’s Ministry Ordination course is truly helpful to reach this goal,” Coetzee said. “I have noted a lot of practical guidance on how to manage the ministry and things to be aware of. The teaching about women’s roles in the Bible also gave great insight.”

Coetzee is ordained for women’s ministry because she often feels women are the one that brings the family to church.

“Unique challenges in my geographic area are that there are a lot of churches and denominations,” Coetzee said. “Getting new members to visit and stay in the church is a challenge. It also appears that women are the forcing drive in bringing their families to church. A women’s ministry is ideal to introduce the women to our church and hopefully to bring her family here as well.”

Coetzee couldn’t be more thankfully that CLI has allowed her to be ordained for women’s ministry and give her the chance to marry couples.

“As an ordained minister, I will be able to assist people in my Women’s ministry to get married,” Coetzee said. “This provides the opportunity to work close with a couple and minister to them about the Godly institution of marriage.”

Due to the poor economic situation Coetzee wants to help more people get CLI training.

“Contrary to popular belief, South Africa is not a place where lions and wild animals roam the street,” Coetzee said. “However, we do face an economic crisis and poverty is a reality here and can prevent a person to obtain tertiary education. Sometimes, it is a challenge for people who do not have a computer or internet to complete CLI online courses. We have therefore decided to set up a space for interested students to use the church facilities to do the courses online on a weekly basis.”

Financially Coetzee couldn’t go to some fancy seminary. Thus, CLI has provided her with the ability to further her ministry education.

“I am a small business owner without a stable income, and furthermore, our church needs a lot of finances to sustain it,” Coetzee said. “Therefore, finances for further studies are not readily available. CLI made it possible to reach this dream.”

Supporting each other is key in Coetzee’s opinion.

“My family’s role in ministry training will be to be supportive,” Coetzee said. “My husband has been a pillar for the church after our Pastor’s passing as well as me. We all need to support each other, learn together and pray together for the ministry. It is also challenging for me to speak publicly in front of a crowd. My team of women have supported me every time I preach to become more confident.”

CLI gave Coetzee the confidence and credibility to be a minister.

“People do not always understand how you can be a Pastor without having any theological training,” Coetzee said. “I also had trouble referring to myself as a Pastor, since I did not have any training. Completing the CLI ministry training and receiving certificates, which is handed out in our church, also gives credibility to our ministry training. I will feel more at ease to call myself a pastor now, after completing this ordination program.”

Coetzee is equipped for the ministry she now only asks for pray.

“Completing the CLI courses assisted me to achieve my ministry goals and provided me with the tools required for ministry,” Coetzee said. “Thank you, CLI for making this possible. You can pray for my journey in ministry to become more confident in preaching and growing our women’s ministry and our church.”

Check out other inspiring CLI stories on the Facebook page