Ministry Training Scholarships
My name is Jonathan Bell and I received one of the Christian Leaders Institute ministry training scholarships. I reside in North Carolina, United States. I was born in November of 1989. I am a husband to a wonderful, Godly woman and a father to a strong, independent, three-year-old girl. For employment, I work at Duke Energy as an Armed Nuclear Security Officer. It’s a job that I enjoy and do well but it’s not my calling, not where my heart is. For me to tell you where I want to be, I must first tell you where I have been, and where I am at now.
I used to think that my story was insignificant. I would always compare my testimony with someone who hit rock bottom. These people who would experience the worst of life, then gain a relationship with God and completely turn around through His love and grace. How can my story make a difference in someone’s life after hearing something like that? But can I tell you that no matter what, your story is important because without it you wouldn’t be who or where you are today? Your story can be used to reach someone else.
My parents took me to church as a child in small town Homosassa, Florida. I’ve believed in God my entire life. Around my eighth birthday, I prayed the prayer of salvation. I believed whole heartedly that there was a God in Heaven and that Jesus was the Savior of my life. But I honestly can’t say that I KNEW Him. My parents and brothers stopped attending church and I always dipped in and out like a duck diving for food. But I always seemed to come up empty and hungry. It was when I met and married my wife in 2010 that I began to feel strongly about being the spiritual head of my household. It was important to my wife and I wanted to be that for her. She was saved in a Pentecostal church and I was saved in a Baptist church. So as a married couple, we met in the middle and found a modern, conventional church. This is where I really began to learn and understand who the Holy Spirit was. Over the last couple years, I have grown exponentially in my walk with God.
My ministry dream begins in my home. I strive to be the leader of my home. I’m far from where I want to be but I am working hard to lead my family in Bible studies and prayer. Beyond my home, my dream is to minister in my work place. It’s where God has me in this chapter of my life and let me tell you, there are people there that need to know Jesus! Beyond my work place, I feel as if there is a calling on my heart to work with teenagers. There are powerful testimonies of people hitting rock bottom, true. But my dream is to be able to set teenagers on the right path, holding hands with Jesus, before they even look at the road that leads to rock bottom. A relationship with the Holy Spirit and knowledge of God’s Word will help them combat the sins and temptations of this world.
I am thankful for Christian Leaders Institute and the opportunity to be a part of it through their ministry training scholarships. Currently, the class is helping me in my home ministry. Step one of my dream. It’s giving ways to study the Bible by myself and with others. Also, the recommended verses to memorize are being written one at a time on my bathroom mirror until they are memorized and replaced by the next. My wife and I see scripture first thing in the morning, the last thing at night, and multiple times throughout the day.
At this point in time, I will say that I most identify with a “Small Group Leader.” Not only do I make every effort to lead my family and friends, but I am also beginning to work in my church’s youth ministry as a small group leader.
I can’t point out a key experience as to why I want to pursue ministry. What I can tell you is that there is a force that I can’t counter and a light that can’t be dimmed. Of all the dirt roads I can choose to travel, there is one that is lined with all arrows pointing this direction. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Who am I to tell Him no?
My pastor says often, “The more you get into the Word, the more the Word gets into you.” During a sermon titled, “Can I Trust the Bible,” we evaluated the Bible as a historical document through the Science of Textual Criticism mixed with some theological thought. This was one of my favorite messages and at the end, my pastor said something that I felt hit right in my heart. He said, “Does it matter if you believe the Bible if you don’t know what the Bible says?” I began to really get into the Word. I started seeing the text in a whole new way. I believe every single scripture, even if it seems insignificant, is far from insignificant and is written for a purpose.
My local church is fairly large. I never imagined when I first walked in the door that I would have a relationship with any of the church leaders. But they are all amazing and extremely accessible for those who try. I have recently expressed with many of them the calling I feel in my heart. My lead pastor gave me amazing advice, my youth pastor is plugging me into the youth ministry, I have found a mentor that I have grown a relationship with, and many of the church staff, volunteers, and members have been praying for me.
My family, mainly my wife, has been extremely supportive in my calling. She actually told me that she has been waiting for a long time for me to step into this role. She never pushed me because she wanted me to grow to this place on my own.
My wife and I attended Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and are currently working towards a debt free life. I didn’t think that a quality education was possible without going into further debt and reversing the commitment my wife and I made to better our financial situation. The CLI ministry training scholarships are exactly the opportunity that I needed. I felt one day that God wanted me to get an education and I searched online. When I came across CLI, I told my wife, “This is it.” So far, I absolutely love the experience that I have had and really look forward to what’s ahead. I have to thank everyone involved with CLI for the opportunity that you are providing to people who are seeking ministry training scholarships. I hope to become a vision partner in the future to contribute to other people pursuing their ministry dreams through ministry training scholarships.
I ask that you pray for me to follow God’s will. That I do nothing for my glory and everything for His glory. I want people to experience God’s love, grace, and mercy. I ask you to pray for me and my family that people see Christ in us. I ask you to pray that our lights shine brightly and that we are used by God to help people find a life in Jesus!
Learn about ordained minister study programs at Christian Leaders Alliance.