I’m currently living in the United States, in the state of Maine. In general, doing ministry in the USA is challenging. Where there isn’t currently the threat of persecution to the same degree it is in other countries, there are many opponents to the gospel message and strong political forces that would otherwise eliminate Christian thinking if possible. With a very large “melting pot” within the borders, it is possible to affect a worldwide audience without leaving the country.
My ministry dream centers around a few things and I’m certain my focus will be more fine-tuned as I continue through my coursework with CLI. I have a strong interest in the spiritual disciplines (meditation, fasting, solitude, simplicity, etc.) that the early Church Fathers demonstrated and I’ve always been inspired by men like Francis of Assisi. I believe I will use my biblical studies and writing gift to work toward spiritual formation materials and probably leading or co-leading groups with that. I’m also a fervent lover of nature and animals and have a strong conviction that Christ-followers ought to be leading the way toward reconciling the earth and its creatures. I believe although we (rightfully) see our fellow man as fellow “image bearers” we often do it to a fault. In our fervency to “save the world”, we’re forgetting that the world is made up of more than people. Too many think Christianity is anti-enviroment, this is a sad mistake. While we believe that worshiping nature is wrong, we are instructed in the Bible to be stewards of God’s creation. So my dream is to work in helping followers in their disciplines and see real transformation and I’m also interested in creation care.
Initially, before I started looking at schooling, I thought perhaps I’d be a pastor. I took several online spiritual gift tests and rank high in discernment, teaching and giving. First I thought I would just go on a sabbatical, staying at a monastery for a weekend or taking a guided retreat. But those searches led me to feel pulled toward a deeper ministry and pursuing a college degree. I spent a lot of time contemplating and praying about my new direction and, through a set of circumstances, happened upon the Christian Leaders Institute site and was immediately attracted to their model of not charging for REAL Biblical studies training. Often the church tends to reinvent the gospel or make it a commercial enterprise, but Jesus never did that kind of thing. He didn’t charge His disciples to follow Him around and CLI is showing true Christianity with this model. CLI makes ministry training available to everyone.
I have worked many different jobs since leaving my five-month DTS, pursuing many different careers. Sometime in 2011 I started thinking about going back to school. I hadn’t gone to college at this point and was thinking I’d pursue English or better my writing as that was my strongest interest at the time. That aspiration got shelved for the time being, but in late 2014 I lost my job. I knew of a temporary assignment I could take and decided to take the time to reassess and figure things out.
Christian Leaders Institute is so very important to my ministry goals and dreams because it allows a cash and time strapped father, husband, and full-time worker to pursue what might otherwise be improbable. It allows me to do it as I can, it provides experienced and knowledgeable faculty and makes it available to the entire world.