My name is Brett Venables and I have ministry purpose through my God-given calling. I live in the South Island of New Zealand. Although my parents weren’t Christian when I was growing up, I did have amazing Christian grandparents who occasionally took me to church. Despite this, I did my fair share of rebelling and it wasn’t until my late teens when I was invited to a Christian camp. I agreed to go for the sole purpose of finding a girlfriend and finding some great waves. It was at that camp that God arrested me for His purposes. I had a personal encounter with not just the Saviour of the world but with “my Saviour” Jesus Christ as I responded to the altar call given by the camp’s evangelist.
God began to call me into ministry purpose at 20 years of age – more than 2 decades ago. During my first year of Bible College, I was asked to preach as part of a church service run by the Bible College students. This was one of the key moments in my life where the call upon my life was recognized by church leadership, and it was also the moment that the ministry call began to awaken within me.
For a few years, I began to earnestly pursue that ministry purpose call (preaching at every opportunity I could get) until our first son was born. We came to the realization that he had very high special needs (autism/global development delay/cerebral palsy) and our family dynamics changed dramatically. For some over the years, it has seemed that this one factor alone (and not my character, ability or calling) disqualified me from ministry – at least conventionally speaking. However, two decades later and several detours along the way and that call just won’t let me go. I am now middle-aged but more determined than ever to pursue that for which Christ has taken hold of me. And, even though ministry may not look quite the same as I (or many others) had envisaged prior to having our firstborn, I cannot but preach the gospel and teach the Word of God with all that is within me.
In New Zealand, we have reasonable liberty to “have church” and there is definitely no major shortage of churches spread across our nation. So, one might conclude that “doing ministry” in NZ is easy. However, it has become increasingly unpopular and challenging to uphold timeless biblical morals and biblical truths in this nation. In fact, it seems that the one book that is worth more than all books ever written combined (the Bible) is yet again being discarded and belittled in light of supposed higher learning and the latest philosophies of men – not just in the marketplace but also in churches in some cases. Having trained as a literacy educator, I am acutely aware that Bible literacy in NZ is at an all-time-low within my lifetime.
I have a dream to start a ministry that encourages believers locally and internationally to grow in Christ, to become more Biblically literate, and to become established and grounded in the faith. I would especially like to get free Christian growth resources to those in places where they don’t have access to the internet and have very limited access to sound Biblical teaching. I also have a passion to plant churches in the future when it becomes more feasible and is God’s timing.
One of the biggest challenges facing The Church in NZ and in the West, I believe, is the current attack on the truth, the gospel, and the basic tenets of the Christian faith. I believe more than ever there is an overwhelming call for Christian leaders (in particular pastors and teachers) to boldly proclaim the gospel truth and reassert the basic tenets of the Christian faith.
The training I am receiving at Christian Leaders Institute is very important for my ministry purpose and dream. Many times I have had to walk away from financially rewarding opportunities in order to pursue the call to ministry and also to provide special care to our eldest son. Our son’s needs have meant that our family’s time and money have been stretched more than I could have ever imagined. So, at this stage in my life, it was almost impossible to see how I would be able to retrain for the ministry and study some of the specialized subjects offered by CLI, which I believe will be vital in the ministry that God’s called me to. Today, I have more passion than ever to fulfill my calling and I am so thankful to have discovered this opportunity with CLI as it’s hard to imagine that anything else would have worked for me at this stage given our circumstances. I am also very grateful to have a wife who encourages me to be the best I can be and keep the dream alive and to have friends in ministry that inspire me and believe in me.
Please pray that God will continue to open doors for me in the ministry as I pursue Him and also for God’s wisdom for me to find a way to reach my full ministry potential by fully utilizing all that God has placed in my hand. One of my greatest desires is to be used by God to raise up a generation who finish what they start, who finish well, and finish strong . . . a generation who fight the good fight of faith, upholding the truth and standing the test of time.
Learn about minister ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.