Low-Cost Ministry Degree

My name is Peter James Lhamon, and I am studying at the Christian Leaders Institute to pursue a low-cost ministry degree (Learn more about online Bible classes, Click Here). I live in Suttons Bay, Michigan, United States of America. I am married to my wife, Casey. We have three children; Tristan, Adrienne, and Nora. I am 42 years old and have been a Christian for almost 15 years.

I own a residential construction company that has two divisions. We build complete homes as general contractors from top to bottom. We also have a framing carpentry division in which we frame houses for other contractors. I employ 11 employees currently. In the past several years, I have maintained 28 -32 employees. However, in the past year, I dialed things way back with where I believe my calling is taking me next.

My Early Years and Call to Ministry

As a young elementary-age child, I felt a calling from the Lord into ministry. At that time, I attended Catholic school and Catholic church every Sunday morning. Naturally, I pictured myself as being a Catholic priest. However, I always struggled with that feeling because I really wanted to have a wife and kids. So, I ignored it and never pursued it even though I thought about it often and pictured myself serving at Mass as a priest. As an altar boy, I observed the priests and memorized how to conduct Mass.

I tried to put it out of my head completely by the time I was in Junior High. There were so many other things happening that I was more concerned with. Mostly, I tried to be cool. At that time, my parents had just divorced, too. They separated when I was in sixth grade, still attending Catholic school. When they finally divorced, my brother and I lived with my dad in a town an hour away from my mom and sister. My brother and I went with my dad because our mom who raised us, was not our birth mother. I have never met my birth mother. My dad left her when I was about a year old because she was very addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Changes and Trials

Despite the trials of adjusting to a new lifestyle, my dad remarrying, having new stepsiblings, and all that Junior High throws at any adolescent; I still felt the call. The Lord’s calling went on through Junior High, even though my dad divorced his third wife and remarried again. It went on through High School, my own alcohol and drug use, and my early adulthood. It never went away, no matter where I was or what I was involved in, or how my life was. I experienced what Francis Thompson writes about in his poem titled “The Hound of Heaven” in my life.

Sadly, I started to follow in my father’s footsteps with marriage. I, too, married and then divorced, married again, divorced again, and married again for the third time. My first marriage lasted a year. My second marriage lasted less than a year after the loss of a baby boy with premature birth. The third time, I married Casey. We have been married for 14 years now. We both were saved around the same time and have stayed together through all the good and bad by God’s grace.

Saved by Grace

I was saved in the summer when I was 27 years old. I was in my garage tinkering when I started to reflect on my life. Questions hit me like, “How did I get here from there?” and “Am I really called to be a minister?” In my reflection, out of nowhere, I felt the Presence of God. I felt His Power, His Holiness, His Perfection, and my imperfection. Terrified, I thought I was going to be put to death. The anguish I felt over my sin and ignoring His call for so long made me tremble with fear. It forced me to the concrete floor, and I remember burying my face in a spare tire on the floor. I wept and begged the Lord not to take my life. I begged for forgiveness and mercy. It all seemed so loud in my head, like chaos all around me.

Then, in an instant, I felt calm, and everything seemed to quiet. I felt the Lord say, “Get up. You are my son. I love you. Go work with your hands. Go do what you love to do.” Immediately, I jumped up with a full heart and so much joy rushing through me. I felt free and alive. I ran outside with my shovel to a set of stairs I was working on weeks prior but procrastinated finishing. Finally, I would finish them.

Called to Ministry Again

While I worked on them, I sang songs that I sang in the church that Casey and I attended recently. Then, the Lord spoke to me again. He said, “Leviticus 9.” I got my Bible that I was on my workbench in my garage. When I opened the Bible, it was to Leviticus 8. I read the entire chapter of 8. When I got to Leviticus 9, the subtitle in my NIV is, “The Priests Begin Their Ministry.” It spoke loudly to my heart. That is when I finally submitted to the Lord’s calling and told my pastor that the Lord was calling me into ministry.

My pastor mentored me and had me lead a small group of second graders for the summer. By the fall, he asked if I would lead the children’s ministry. I served there for about two years. Then, I enrolled and started classes at Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My wife and two kids moved down to Grand Rapids with me as I entered the Pastoral Ministries program.

Ministry Journey

Before college, I went on a few mission trips to Mexico. One was with a church-led group, and the second time I organized a trip with a few friends of mine. There was another opportunity to go on Thanksgiving break, and I could bring Casey, my wife, with me for her first time. After we went, we wanted to explore what it looked like as a missionary family in Mexico. So, I transferred my classes to the online program for the next semester. We took the kids with us for about a month.

Then, I received a call from a Texas church that had seen my ministry profile on a ministry hiring site. They wanted to interview me for a position. We headed out of Mexico, and it was good timing as we were running out of ministry funds. The position was not the right fit, so we returned to Northern Michigan. I went back to work building houses. I also took a few other ministry positions part-time and volunteered over the next few years. Then, I worked for a few months at a church in the Texas Hill Country.

After our Hill Country adventure, I started a construction company. I had a season of ministry proclaiming the Gospel to all the guys that worked for me. I have done this for almost 8 years now and have built a good company. The Lord worked and changed lives. I had many opportunities to be used to lead men to the Lord and mentor and coach them. In the last year, it became apparent that I made my business more important to my calling and my family sometimes. I prayed through and walked slowly, wanting to be in the Lord’s will to make the right adjustments.

A Low-Cost Ministry Degree at CLI/CLI

Our family recently went on a road trip adventure weekend and traveled through 14 different states. It was awesome! On this vacation, I was searching Google about getting your calling as a minister later in life. That is when I came across the Christian Leaders Institute. It has been an answer to prayer to find something like this! I want to pursue a low-cost ministry degree to have the credentials and proper training for what I believe the Lord is calling me into, full-time ministry.

Christian Leaders Institute offers me a blessed opportunity to work to provide for my family and pursue a low-cost ministry degree. Finding CLI was an answer to prayer. I can’t wait to see what adventure the Lord takes us on next!