Ministry and Coaching

Sorrow into Joy in Christ

I am Bethany Looyenga from the USA. I am studying ministry and coaching at the Christian Leaders Institute.

My Story

My story begins as a young child living in a home with a single mother and three brothers. I am the youngest in my family. We grew up in a legalistic church that never mentioned words such as “Grace” or “Holy Spirit.” Constantly plagued with the fear that God would erase my name from the Book of Life, I struggled to be good. I learned to shut up and do as I was told, which included sexual abuse from my brother and being “loaned” out to other men by my mother. I learned to live in a world inside my own mind to cope with the life I lived.

At the age of 15, I went to a private academy and lived in a dorm. I was a fish out of water and had no idea how to live in a world with other kids my age. God brought an older woman into my life that mentored me, loved me, and showed me how a mother loves. She listened to me, fed me, and was very patient with me.

My Journey to Ministry and Coaching

I married at the young age of 19 and started a family at 21. Because of my past, life was a struggle. I lived in victimhood and didn’t realize God wanted more for me. After my third son was born, I sought help from a therapist, only to discover, after several years, that even therapy was not a safe place for me.

My family and I did find a church that fed our desperate need for God. Both my husband and I discovered a God we had no idea existed. As I learned to trust more people in the church and began to volunteer in leadership, I finally told my story to the pastor. She, in turn, told the church, and eventually, they took me out of leadership due to “my past.”

However, by this time, I had discovered the Holy Spirit and the gift of grace. My relationship with Him only strengthened. I began a ministry for women and became a life coach. It was a surprise to me to discover that many women suffer abuse in churches and need a trustworthy mentor to guide them through. God sent many women my way.

Ministry and Coaching Classes at CLI

Several years later, I wrote my story in a memoir. I Am Real is my story of vulnerability and severe pain and the way God has rescued me and turned my sorrow into joy. The title of the book represents the beauty of God’s reality and what REAL means to me: R-rooted, E-Empowered, A-authentic, L-loved. When I am rooted in Christ Jesus, I am empowered to live an authentic life and live totally loved by Him.

Wanting to learn more about ministry and coaching, I became a student at the Christian Leaders Institute. The ministry and coaching courses at CLI are further equipping me for my calling from God.

Register a Study Account

Register for a free study account, automatically enrolling you in the Getting Started Class at the Christian Leaders Learning Platform. The Getting Started class will take you less than an hour to complete.

When you log in to the Learning Platform, you will notice that the Getting Started Class automatically appears on your dashboard.    

The Getting Started Class will orientate you to the Christian Leaders Learning Platform and the Programs offered, including:

  1. Ministry Awards, Certificates, and Diplomas with the Christian Leaders Institute.
  2. College Degrees with the CLI’s Leadership Excellence School.
  3. Minister Credentialling (Ordination) with the Christian Leaders Alliance, including local Soul Center registration possibilities. 

Note: You can enroll in tuition-free courses or mini-courses immediately without finishing the getting started class.  

Find out more about women in ministry here.