Learning about Ministry for Free at CLI: Dream Big Dreams
Hi there! I’m Hayli Brewer, and I live in Toccoa, Georgia, with my husband, Allen. I am a firm believer that we are ALL missionaries. Sharing the Gospel, being disciple-makers, and loving people like Jesus would is something that every Christian is to do. Having received my Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry Leadership, I am excited to continue learning more about ministry at CLI and serving the Lord wherever I am — whether I’m working for a local church body or in a small bookstore in a little town in the mountains.
Struggle with Peer Pressure
Growing up in a Christian home, I received baptism at the age of eight alongside my dad. I attended church with my parents and strove to follow Jesus until late middle school. I got tired of being looked at as “the Christian girl,” as all of my friends thought that religion was stupid. Giving in to peer pressure, I started turning my life away from Jesus. I felt lost and tried to find my identity in anything and everything. However, nothing would fill the void in my heart.
Rededicated to Christ
My parents sent me to youth camp during my junior year of high school. Surrounded by my peers and watching them worship brought me to an emotional breaking point. I wanted the confidence and joy that they had! I rededicated my life to Jesus, and my youth pastor encouraged me to meet with someone to help teach me more about following Jesus. He ended up introducing me to a freshman girl who went to my school, and she became (and still is) one of the most influential people in my walk with Jesus.
As I started to follow Jesus again, I was encouraged to dream big dreams, to trust Jesus with my future, and to love people actively. I prayed and prayed, asking God to show me what He had for me. I set aside my plan for His will. Long story short, I felt compelled to go to a Christian college instead of a traditional college. This plan was NOT taken well by the people around me – both Christians and non-Christians.
My family was worried that going to a college to get a degree in “Ministry Leadership” would not lead to many “real” job opportunities. My school counselors told me that I was too smart to waste my time, money, and energy on a “fake school.” Nevertheless, I persisted and attended Toccoa Falls College to pursue a degree in Ministry Leadership. It was at TFC where my identity, love of learning, and yearning for a deeper relationship with God connected.
Growing at College
While I was at TFC, I was able to be a part of and then go on to lead Atlanta Outreach. It was a ministry that went to Little Five Points every Friday night to aid and build relationships with the homeless in that area. Through that program, I was able to interact with people from all different races, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ideologies. It taught me how to be open-minded, kind, and understanding of people who have experienced life differently than I have. I also learned better how to share the Gospel and the importance of being able to defend what I believe.
At TFC, I also participated in an internship in Chicago. I lived there for three months working for an inner-city church. There, I learned how to plan and execute events effectively, walked alongside leaders as they went through the tragedy of the church burning down, and aided in the student ministry there. It was there that I was able to learn about flexibility, administration, and trial and error.
After I graduated, I eventually started working at a middle school as a Special Education Paraprofessional. As a paraprofessional, I was able to interact with many different students. I learned how to serve and teach each individual. Also, I saw firsthand how many students were affected by food insecurity, homelessness, and other crises.
Currently, I am the Manager at a local bookstore, where I can share the Gospel with people every day. Through these and other experiences, I found a deep burden to continue to serve those that society at large has pushed aside. It is never too late to offer an individual the hope found through Jesus Christ. Therefore, I want to help guide people toward the love of Christ in every encounter I have.
Dream Big Dreams: Called to Serve and Study at CLI
My husband and I are not afraid to dream big dreams. Our long-term goal is to open up a coffee shop and to use it as an avenue to employ people who are transitioning out of homelessness. We want to provide job training and career development. It will be an overall safe space for people to come with their brokenness and be met with compassion, understanding, and respect.
My life will show people that following Jesus is a beautiful adventure. I want to share the life, love, and joy that I have found with those who need it the most and with those who think that they need it the least. To love until it hurts and to fight for justice where there is injustice, and live a life that points away from me and directly to Jesus, is my desire.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to continue learning more about ministry through the Christian Leaders Institute!