A New Season of Ministry
On August 29, I preached a trial sermon at Calvary Baptist Church. This was an atypical trial sermon (they had already heard me preach multiple times before), but it gave me the opportunity to preach about the biblical definition of ministry. This was especially good since they would vote right after my sermon on whether to call me on as youth ministry intern. I preached on Ephesians 4:11-19. You can listen to that sermon here.
After I preached, and after the invitation, Bro. Blake sent me outside the auditorium for the congregational vote. I prayed that God’s will would be done (though I very much wanted to be called on), and I shortly heard Bro. Blake’s footsteps coming toward me. I turned around, and he told me that the congregation had voted unanimously to call me on as Calvary Baptist’s new youth ministry intern. This news, of course, overjoyed me. A unanimous affirmation was more than I had even hoped for … and the opportunity to serve as a minister of youth intern was certainly above and beyond the expectations I had entertained concerning my years prior to seminary.
In fact, when I walked back into the worship auditorium (as “Victory in Jesus” is being sung, no less), a phrase in Ephesians 3:20 kept popping into my head: “him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” As Bro. Blake prayed after “Victory in Jesus” ended, that phrase in Ephesians 3:20 brought tears of joy to my eyes. Yes, I had prayed for this door of opportunity to open, but never in my life have I thought that I would be a minister (of youth intern) before exiting high school. God certainly is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we can ask or think.” My experience now confirms the truth I had believed.
Of course, after Bro. Blake prayed, the congregation welcomed me to Calvary Baptist Church. One member said, “Welcome to our church family, because we are a family.” And they are indeed a church family. Such unity and soundness in the faith are rare—in fact, Calvary is one of perhaps a handful of churches I know that genuinely possesses these two qualities—and the heartfelt welcome of a congregation whose every member affirmed my call to be their youth ministry intern gave the whole welcoming an almost dreamlike quality. I kept thinking, “Wake up,” and kept reminding myself, “This isn’t a dream. God has done far more abundantly than all that you can ask or think.”
I stayed behind at Calvary that morning (actually it was past noon by then) for quite a few minutes to talk with Bros. Blake and Kerry. By the time I left for home, the parking lot in front of the church building was empty. I walked with my head bowed to my vehicle and continued to hear in my mind that phrase from Ephesians 3:20: “him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we can ask or think.” I thanked God because he had affirmed through Calvary’s unanimous vote and preceding events that this turn of events pleased him.
Why Youth Ministry? Why Now?
Some people may wonder why I am a youth ministry intern now, especially when I am still in high school. That is a valid question, but I counted the cost for weeks before accepting this ministerial call two Sundays ago. The youth committee assured me that they would work with me and that I would not be going at this alone. They realize that while this is a self-giving ministry, it is also a learning experience for me, as well as for the youth I will serve at Calvary. I would not have pursued and accepted this ministerial call had I not been confident in God’s faithfulness to enable (and even to cause) my own faithfulness and good stewardship of this humbling task. I also would not have pursued this and accepted it had this opportunity somehow been in conflict with my long-term goals. My greatest long-term goal is to be a full-time preaching pastor. Since the best way to learn about pastoral ministry is to engage in it and to intern (or disciple, if you prefer that term) under trusted senior pastors, this youth ministry internship at Calvary Baptist Church is truly a godsend to me. As I prepare to begin ministry at Calvary, I pray that this internship would also be a godsend to the Christians there, as well.
Ultimately, though, I am a youth ministry intern because God himself has entrusted this to me. Only God gives a 17-year-old high school senior regular involvement in youth ministry. Only God gives a church the unity to hire such a one unanimously. I praise God for opening this door of opportunity to serve the youth and others at Calvary Baptist Church, and I ask that you would join me in praising him in this. For those of you who may have further questions about why I so desired to enter youth ministry at this season in my life, I highly encourage you to listen to the trial sermon I preached at Calvary on the last Sunday in August.
What This Means for the Blog and Podcast
My position as youth ministry intern at Calvary Baptist Church means that blogs will likely become a weekly (or possibly twice-weekly) occurrence. (I will post most likely either on Thursday or Saturday in the fall months. Any additional, spontaneous posts would be posted during the week.) I also plan to continue to upload any sermons I preach to mypodcast.com.
Entering a New Season of Ministry
God works all things to his glory, and I include this internship with “all things.” But God “works all things to his glory” using means. And one of those means is his people’s prayer (Philippians 1:19). I ask that you all would pray for me, that God would be glorified in me as I serve at Calvary. I certainly appreciate those of you who already are praying for me, “for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19). I also thank the people and pastors of Eastside Baptist Church. Ya’ll have established me in the faith and affirmed my call to pastoral ministry. Ya’ll have blessed me incalculably over these past seventeen years, and I thank you for your love, nurture, and support. Know that through me you now minister to yet more others outside your own congregation, praise be to God!
To everyone whom God has placed in my life, thank you. You have all played your part in preparing me for this new season of ministry. God has used you as he will continue to use others to ensure my faithfulness to him in this ministry. God has hitherto done to me far more abundantly than all that I have asked or thought; may he do to you far more abundantly than all that you can ask or think, also.
Until next time or our Lord comes again, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.”