My name is Joseph DeClemente and I have a ministry vision for my life. I live on Long Island, New York. Ministry here is very different than other parts of the United States. What is successful in the southern parts or western parts of our country, probably won’t work here. People here are not only very leery of change but if they do not like the direction the ministry is taking, they are not afraid to let you know.
My ministry vision story begins in 1984 while attending Northern Frontier Camp in upstate New York. Even though I had heard the Gospel over and over, I never felt the need to respond. In August of 1984, at a campfire, I responded to the call of Jesus Christ. Tears flowed down my face. Even though I was young, I could feel this sense of overwhelming joy and peace. The excitement of this new life continued even after I left the camp and returned home.
Unfortunately, this did not last as I went into my teenage years. Those years were years of anger and hatred. I was angry at God for taking my grandfather and I hated life with a passion. For three years, my life was an up and down turmoil of emotion, angry this day, hated life the next. In 1990, my father encouraged me to go on a missions trip to Haiti with our church. I fought and fought but decided to put God to the test. I prayed that evening and told God that if He wanted me to go to Haiti, He would have to provide everything. Within a few weeks of that prayer, I was notified that all was paid for. I kept to that commitment and went to Haiti. It was that trip that changed my life forever.
During my time in Haiti, God revealed to me that life isn’t what TV makes it out to be. It is much greater than any of us can understand. I watched as people who were freed from witchcraft were consumed with the love of Jesus Christ and shared that with everyone they met. It was that experience that led me to return to my ministry vision, to a life of service to Jesus Christ.
My calling to enter ministry is multilayered. I wanted to be a pastor in my early 20s but was unwilling to give up everything to get the education I needed. So, I entered the secular workforce but continued to serve in my home church, now called Living Hope Christian Church in Bellerose, New York. Over the years, many pastors and people have told me to go into full-time ministry, however, due to family circumstances (the need to support a wife and 3 kids), I have been unable to do so. In addition, I still did not have the education necessary in the United States.
Over the last number of years, I have served as a teacher, sound crew chair, Trustee and Elder in my church. Within the last year, my Pastor has encouraged me to preach not only at our home church but at churches whenever needed. He connected me with a church on Long Island that desperately needed sound doctrine. This experience allowed me to hone some very valuable skills and learn about the struggles that pastors go through on a daily basis.
It was also through this experience that I began to understand that ministry in church does not supersede ministry in the home. I stepped away from preaching at that church due to not spending enough time with my family. I continue to preach whenever possible, but my focus has been directed to those God has entrusted me with caring for, my wife and 3 sons.
This opening class at Christian Leaders Institute has solidified my understanding of the importance of home ministry before public ministry. It has renewed my desire to continue my education even if it means working and preaching for the rest of my earthly life. I was impressed with the scholarship opportunity because I cannot afford to go to college. I had been seeking various online schools, but all of them were completely out of reach. It was only the Christian Leaders Institute that was within my current financial budget, free.
My personal ministry vision is to get my degree and use the education for the benefit of others who desperately need to know about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. My desire is to one day be able to retire from full-time “secular” work and enter the ministry full-time. Please pray for my family and me as this education does take time and some minor resources. Please pray for strength for my wife and patience when dealing with me. Please pray that my children see whom I am doing this for, our God and Father in heaven. Please pray that I am given more and more opportunities to share the Gospel with others and that others may see Jesus in us.
Learn more about minister ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.