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I have a question for those of you that had to search long and hard for your true calling in life. I believe I am stuck in what I call a 'dream rut.' I became a Christian when I was in high school at a basketball camp of all places and soon became connected to the greater Christian community through Young Life ministries. I became very involved in the youth group and in Young Life and, over the years, became a leader in several capacities. I led Bible studies, I led worship (I play guitar), I was involved in reaching out to high school students and, eventually, took this volunteer work overseas for a short period of time. During this phase in my life I would have unequivocally stated that my desire, my purpose for existence on this earth was to 'do ministry.'

However, life happened. I graduated from college (with dreams of seminary nonetheless) yet faced the challenges of real, responsible life--rent, bills, car maintenance, etc, etc. I had spent 1 semester on student staff in Young Life and it was a meager financial situation--$500 per month before taxes. I do not have the personality for fundraising and the worry about money overshadowed any enjoyment in the ministry process. My first 'real' job at an online university taught me disgust for life in a cubicle and it made me depressed to face each day when I would think of the unethical business practices and the high pressure I faced just to keep my salary at the level I was hired at.

That's been a few years now and I have long since left that job. My deepest desire is to find the work that God has called me to because I have been shown that 'ministry' happens wherever I interact with others. Yet, when I try to formulate a plan for my future, my mind seems to keep returning to the same options as before: go to seminary, do ministry. There are specific areas that interest me more than others but I realize that traditional forms of ministry are not for everybody and truly are a calling. My mind seems to have been trained in a particular way and I don't know how to change it. I would have called traditional ministry my dream in the past but I'm just not sure of that anymore. I think my dream is stuck in a rut and I don't know how to dislodge it. Has anyone experienced this before? I welcome any and all advice. Thank you!!!

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Hi Cody,

I have heard Dr. Charles Stanley tell a story about a young man who struggled with his dream of going to seminary school. He said a young man had the option to use loans to pay for it or trust God to pay for it without the loans. The young man chose the latter and God did provide the means for him to pay for seminary school. I'm pretty sure the young man was Stanley, but I can't say that for sure.

My point is you can not put your trust in your worldly income to survive in this world. We have to put our trust in God. If you feel led to enter in to the Ministry, God will provide for you the entire way. You may not be able to afford fancy cars or vacations (although, I do believe God will provide such means if that is His calling for your life); however, God will provide for your needs.

Blessings,

Michelle
Good Morning!
I agree with Michelle, but I would change one word: feel.
It's not if you feel, or that you think you are being led, but that you know you are being led. That means you need to know you are hearing His voice.
How do you do that?
I'm afraid I'm still learning that, myself.
The good news is, God will honor your desire to follow His leading, however imperfectly, as long as you are seeking first His kingdom.

One last thing: if we have traveled down a different road than the one we should have taken (it might not even been a "bad" road, per se) we are at a different spot than where we should have been. Having taken the detour, we need to travel back to the place where we can get on the right road, and that in itself can take time, and the path He is guiding us through may not be the most obvious one. Rest assured, though, you will get there if you keep listening for and acting on His leading.

I pray for wisdom for you to make Kingly decisions.

God Speed,

Dana
I guess I have a different take on being called to ministry. That call is what we all have simply because we are followers of Christ.

You should know that I pastored for 30 years. But looking back, I see now my entrepreneurial spirit often ran counter to the churches I served. To me at that time, called to ministry meant to a local parish.

I see things so much differently now. In my opinion, our concept of going to seminary in order to fulfill a calling to ministry is not what Jesus had in mind in His concept of ministry.

You may end up going to seminary and you may end up in local church employment. But effective ministry to this lost world is so much wider and we do a disservice to reduce ministry to local churches.

For example, through my ministry focus websites, I reach thousands each week with a message of encouragement and spiritual challenge.

On one of my webpages, http://change-career-with-purpose.com/careerchangeforpastors.html I make this statement:


I have often seen career change for pastors viewed negatively, with a underlying suspicion that it involves pastors leaving ministry.

Yet what I have experienced and many others have discovered is that a pastor's career change often leads to expanded ministry.

You see, what is often interpreted as leaving the ministry is in actuality a pastor pursuing ministry opportunities outside a parish assignment or local church pastorate.


Onward with purpose,

Chaplain Paul Slater
------------------
Helping you plan a purposeful future. . .
http://www.change-career-with-purpose.com

Pastor Appreciation Ideas and Resources:
http://www.pastor-appreciation.net

Create A Website To Fund A Ministry,
Start A Business, or Share Your Life Passion:
http://www.change-career-with-purpose.com/world-changing-websites
Cody I am definitely not in a position to give out advice in this one but I felt compelled to say this. God knows your heart and your capabilities because he made. He gives us choice so that we can explore and experience but he knows Cody. As long as you place your trust in him and ask him to guide your path I am sure he will honor that request.

I have gotten stuck so many times but God always finds an avenue to get me "unstuck". (By the way, your story would make a great book). I am stuck right now and I know that God is listening to me and he is going to move these obstacles along with my faith and obedience. I also agree with Paul, ministry resides in us. We can find so many ways to minister to people. I am starting a furniture company and I already know that one thing that I will be doing to minister to those in need is to supply beds to the needy and unfortunate. So hang in there and be encouraged.

I will praying that God guides you along your journey.
Hi Paul,

Thank you for your response! I believe you are touching on the core of my dilemma. I have seen and heard many examples of ministry that goes beyond the 4 walls of a church and they are great ideas that show outside-of-the-box thinking. However, when I try to come up with my own ideas I find that somehow my train of thought ends up at a traditional ministry path. I think it turns out that way because I don't have a grasp on how else to use my God-given abilities and talents. I was wondering if others have walked down that road before.

Again, thank you for your response :-)

~C

Paul Slater said:
I guess I have a different take on being called to ministry. That call is what we all have simply because we are followers of Christ.

You should know that I pastored for 30 years. But looking back, I see now my entrepreneurial spirit often ran counter to the churches I served. To me at that time, called to ministry meant to a local parish.

I see things so much differently now. In my opinion, our concept of going to seminary in order to fulfill a calling to ministry is not what Jesus had in mind in His concept of ministry.

You may end up going to seminary and you may end up in local church employment. But effective ministry to this lost world is so much wider and we do a disservice to reduce ministry to local churches.

For example, through my ministry focus websites, I reach thousands each week with a message of encouragement and spiritual challenge.

On one of my webpages, http://change-career-with-purpose.com/careerchangeforpastors.html I make this statement:


I have often seen career change for pastors viewed negatively, with a underlying suspicion that it involves pastors leaving ministry.

Yet what I have experienced and many others have discovered is that a pastor's career change often leads to expanded ministry.

You see, what is often interpreted as leaving the ministry is in actuality a pastor pursuing ministry opportunities outside a parish assignment or local church pastorate.


Onward with purpose,

Chaplain Paul Slater
------------------
Helping you plan a purposeful future. . .
http://www.change-career-with-purpose.com

Pastor Appreciation Ideas and Resources:
http://www.pastor-appreciation.net

Create A Website To Fund A Ministry,
Start A Business, or Share Your Life Passion:
http://www.change-career-with-purpose.com/world-changing-websites
Hi Kimberley,

Thanks for the response! And thank you for your prayers and encouragement. I do know that God is trustworthy and I need to remind myself of that each day. I had a friend remind me today that if we seek first His kingdom and righteousness then all the things we need will be given to us as well.

I also pray that God continues to remove the obstacles in front of you (or rather to help you overcome them if need be).

~Cody

Kimberley Wiggins said:
Cody I am definitely not in a position to give out advice in this one but I felt compelled to say this. God knows your heart and your capabilities because he made. He gives us choice so that we can explore and experience but he knows Cody. As long as you place your trust in him and ask him to guide your path I am sure he will honor that request.
I have gotten stuck so many times but God always finds an avenue to get me "unstuck". (By the way, your story would make a great book). I am stuck right now and I know that God is listening to me and he is going to move these obstacles along with my faith and obedience. I also agree with Paul, ministry resides in us. We can find so many ways to minister to people. I am starting a furniture company and I already know that one thing that I will be doing to minister to those in need is to supply beds to the needy and unfortunate. So hang in there and be encouraged.
I will praying that God guides you along your journey.
Hi Cody.
I agree with the other posters here. As I deal with this myself the one thing I can say that holds me back and is the biggest distraction is debt, including the mortgage. Without debt I would be able to easily look into other things that I believe God has laid in my path but because of debt(a second "master") I have not been able to even think about them without the hatred of debt getting the better of me. If you can avoid it stay out of debt and save your income. Let people know what you want to do as you discover it. Everything you do should be considered a class from the School of Hard Knocks. :) I had a house fire a few years back and one thing I learned is donations are a blessing to those that give and God will provide the rest. You bless others by letting others bless you. Figure out where you have had the most satisfaction, even without pay, and see if you can't see a pattern come through. There are a lot of people here to bounce your ideas off of and don't worry about how crazy it may sound. That is what this is all about.

God Bless
Gene

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