Children's Ministry

Children’s Ministry Training at CLI

My name is David Pistello, and I am receiving children’s ministry training at CLI. I live in the United States in the small town of Jamesville, outside of Syracuse, NY. Out of eight siblings, I am third from the youngest. I married at the age of 18 and have seven children and 17 grandchildren. Currently, I am a salesman for a car dealership. It is long hours for almost six days a week.

I attend a men’s Bible Study once a week. The Bible Study fellowship includes men from all denominations spearheaded by a Godly man that keeps us on track. I stumbled on this group over three years ago. Stopping at a local diner for morning coffee and breakfast, I saw someone heading to a back room with a Bible. I inquired, and they welcomed me to their meeting. I am bolstered by their insights into the political arena and also on holistic health. They have been my constant in a world of business, and I thank God for them and pray for them.

I grew up Catholic but not the strict version. However, I knew if I got out of line, there would be repentance time needed. One thing that always impressed me was my mom praying for her nine kids. I believe now that her prayers helped to shape my life. One experience I had was when I was 16 while walking to a friend’s home. I heard my name called out and was startled by this as I saw no one. Looking around, I sensed it was God calling for me. I don’t know how I knew that, and I didn’t understand it at that time.

God always has a plan

Fast forward to adulthood, and I was laid off from my factory job and looking desperately for work. One evening my wife and I flipped on the TV. We were drawn to the 700 ministry that was on that night. We didn’t realize we were both being touched by God at the same moment. There was a phone number on the screen, and we dialed it using our old rotary phone. We said the sinner’s prayer and gave them our names and address. The week before this, my dad and son were in a horrific car/train accident. My wife was also nine months pregnant with our second child.

Within a couple of weeks, we were visited by two men and asked if we would like to have a six week home Bible study with a couple from their church. It took us ten weeks, due to my son coming home from four weeks in the hospital, my dad coming back with severe brain trauma a few weeks later, and the same week as the accident, my wife delivered our second son.

God always has a plan

The fall of 1976, we were invited to a teen ministry evening service. God so moved us during this teen service that we dedicated our lives to Christ publicly that night. I have desired to understand God’s Word and be more like Christ as I walk daily. I also want to share His Word and our testimony.

One night after church service, I walked out into the upper parking lot and was gazing at the city of Syracuse. I heard a voice speak to my heart to teach His lost sheep.

God always has a plan

In the summer of 1977, God opened the doors for me to step into that desire to learn and minister. God provided the way for me to attend a Christian college. God also provided a job so that I was able to work for a Christian man doing whitewall tires on cars at the local dealerships. After training, the owner encouraged me to pursue my heart’s desire in children’s ministry and was willing to sell a machine from his business. I was able to take this machine and start my own company anywhere we lived.

With the blessing of our home church and pastor, in September of 1977, we packed up our family and my newly acquired machine and went to Phoenixville, PA. There I enrolled in a four-year Christian college. We had many obstacles, and our parents’ concerns were founded. I remember the first month our savings dwindled as I needed to purchase school supplies. Not yet working, we were living on old fashioned popcorn and Cheerio’s.

God always has a plan

At that point, we were walking totally by faith. We had no home, so we brought my in-law’s large army-style tent and lived at the Y.M.C.A. campground. I attended Valley Forge Christian College. We were blessed when God again had a plan, and there was an apartment that opened up on campus if we were willing to do some construction to add a bedroom.

By my second year of college, I knew children’s ministry was my call. My wife and I made most of our life-size puppets and a cloth and piping puppet stage. We also purchased sound equipment, hand-painted cloth illustration boards that were night light enhanced. My father-in-law helped to build a talking robot out of Carrier air conditioning junk. Hence his name was Carunk (Carrier junk).

God always has a plan

We had three young children and traveled in the Pennsylvania area as child evangelists doing puppet and teen ministry. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1981 but was not ordained as I wanted to be able to minister in all denominations. After graduation, we traveled up and down the East Coast, ministering to all denominations. We did week-long child evangelism. The teens dressed as clowns and did street ministry, and we also did a kid’s camp ministry at the YMCA.

We homeschooled our children at a time when homeschooling was not accessible. On Saturday, we would tear down and travel to our next location. It was hard work, yet rewarding, and God provided in every way. A year after our fourth child was born, we decided to come back to Syracuse, NY. We worked with our local church in children’s ministry.

God always has a plan

I am looking to continue in this field as I retire from work. I have a deep desire to work with churches in developing and training up ministers for children’s ministry.

The online ministry study program at Christian Leaders Institute is a great blessing. I appreciate the opportunity you offer through your web site and that your ministry is also reaching out to the lost. With this further children’s ministry training, I am excited to see what God has planned next.

Again, I know God has a plan.

Learn about minister ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.