Free Ministry Preparation Courses

Free Ministry Preparation Courses at CLI

My name is Dennis Cunningham, and I am taking free ministry preparation courses at CLI. I am from Central Illinois in the United States. My wife and I have been blessed with a large family; we have seven children and four grandchildren. I grew up in Central Illinois. I never went to church when I was young but did have many questions in my head all the time. My oldest brother was the first to go to church. I was a senior in High School when he gave his life to the Lord. He was always talking to me about the Lord and the Gospel. I had many questions but usually never asked them.

The Lord Entered My Life

I remember staying at his house one weekend, and I was drinking a beer. It was late, and my brother was already in bed. I flipped through the TV stations. For some reason, I stopped at the PTL club. Jim Baker was talking about Jesus dying on the cross as my brother mentioned. I remember it like it was yesterday. The preacher pointed at the camera and said,” Young man, you need to dump that beer down the drain.” I’m sure I broke a record running to the kitchen from the living room. That night I prayed for the Lord to come into my life.


However, I fell back into the world after a few months. For twenty years, I was back and forth and up and down with my Christianity. During that time, I married and had kids. Things seemed to go well for a while, but not living for the Lord finally caught up with me. My wife and I ended up separating (alcohol and drugs had a significant part in it), and she divorced me.

I lost everything: my wife, my kids, my home, everything. I went to a dark place in my life and pushed the people I loved away. Then I met a woman who was willing to stand beside me, knowing there was a better man inside of me. We started a new family, and things were okay, but not great. I knew what was missing. I began to think more and more about God. Once again, my oldest brother was talking to me about God and the church. However, I was very stubborn.

Turning Point

Then something changed my life, and it changed forever. On Christmas Eve, one of my sons was diagnosed with leukemia. I was devastated. Everything I knew at that time took a backseat to him. In the middle of the night, I got up and went downstairs to get a drink. I went to the back door and stepped out on the patio. It was a crisp January evening, and the sky was clear. I saw millions of stars. It was like God shouting, “You see it! I’m here!” I broke and cried like a one-year-old. I begged God for healing for my son.

However, as I sat there, something inside me started to ache. I suddenly stood up and looked to the sky and told God, “Whether my son lives or dies, I will serve you the rest of my life!” Three years later, my son went to be with the Lord.

Called and Taking Free Ministry Preparation Courses at CLI

Ever since that night, I have served and lived for the Lord. I’m getting ready to retire, and I want to serve Him fulltime now. I’m an elder at my church, and I help in the children’s church and fill in for my Pastor and preach when he is gone.

But, there is so much more I need to learn and so much more to do. Therefore, God brought me to the Christian Leaders Institute so I could receive free ministry preparation courses. I am on the road that God has prepared for me to lead others to the Kingdom of God. Here I am, Lord, use me!

Learn about ordination with the Christian Leaders Alliance. Interested in getting a degree? Check out CLI’s Leadership Excellence School.

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