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Entering the Ministry Later in Life

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Dr. Bob, Jun 3, 2003.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator

    Jun 30, 2000
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    Been reading testimonies of some of you who are struggling with education, family, debts and church work while being "non-traditional" call to the ministry later in life.

    I took seminary while still in high school, went to an ifb college in pastoral/theology, etc etc. Was in a full time ministry by 22 and a senior pastor at 25.

    Open to any to share the "good, bad and ugly" of NOT doing it that way, but accepting the call later in life. And I promise as I read to pray for each one of you! :D
  2. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit New Member

    Mar 19, 2003
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    Thanks for asking...I'll have to admit that I've been a little intimidated by the educational status/stature of some of the pastors posting here, but there's one thing I'm not intimidated about, and that's my responsibility to share the gospel of Christ in the way that I have been called to do.

    This may be hard to believe, but my mother surrendered me to the Lord's service after I was born, agreeing to "give me up" to the ministry. Now fast-forward 17 years, and I find myself in the US Navy. I worked around airplanes, on airplanes, and flew them in some pretty tight spots, like the Persian Gulf in the 90's and the Central/South American drug wars, which are still going on.

    During that time, the Navy sent me to instructor training school. I taught an aircrew related course for two years and then transferred. During that time, I was asked to teach Sunday School. From that time on, I've always said that the Navy didn't send me to instructor training; God did!

    In '96, I began to feel an unmistakeable burden for preaching the gospel. I was deployed overseas at the time, with my wife and kids still in the US. I kept this to myself, not even telling my wife, until a few months into the deployment she wrote me a letter stating that she felt God's call for our family in the same way I had. I had never shared my feeling with her until that point. I called home and we talked together and prayed together and built up a very large long-distance bill doing it, but it was worth it.

    Soon after my return home, I made my commitment to follow God's call public in my church. My very godly pastor counselled with me, taught me, and even gave up his pulpit for me, as well as sending me on the road for pulpit supply.

    I transferred to another part of the country (southern MD, where I am now) and continued, working under another pastor while continuing my career in the Navy. Last year I retired from the service, and have been working in the private sector. Now I have been called to a pastorate in Missouri, and I am going.

    I realize that I have much to learn, and am willing to submit to godly counsel and instruction. I trust God to appoint for me those that will teach me not only to preach, but to pastor.

    Thanks for your prayers...
  3. WillRain

    WillRain New Member

    May 24, 2003
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    I accepted the call just before my 24th birthday and bought into my pastor-at-the-time's contention that I need not feel in a hurry to go to school (well, actually, he said don't go at all, but I wasn't THAT stupid, I just wanted to wait and go after I had a church but I did buy into the downplaying of the importance of it)

    It didn't help that we were in the midst of a revival by a local Evangalist whose name you would know if I called it who said from the pulpit "I surrendered to preach one Suday and never lacked for a place to preach again." I was naive enough to think that's how it always worked/

    A year later I met my future bride, a year after that we were married and by the time I realized I God was not opening any doors to a pastorate I had a child and was in a situtation where just quitting my factory job seemed unwise.

    After 11 years of marriage and 2 kids and 4 years of mortgage, the factory I'd been working at for years summerily laid me off without so much as a Christmas ham on Dec. 16 1999.

    After most of a year of unemployment - interupted once by a brief job which also ended in a layoff, I was so far behind on my mortgage that even if I got a job I could not have but the mortgage back in good standing.

    After dealing with God and confrencing with my wife about the surity of losing the house, I enrolled in BMC in Jan. 2001 persuing a double major - BS in Social Science and BA in Bible.
    I am now 39 - 40 in October, I have placed on the Dean's List or President's List in all but one of my semesters at BMC.
    I will graduate in May 2005 with the BS and lacking 12 hours of foregin language (presumably Greek) to hold the BA.

    Miraculously, God has stayed the hand of the mortgage company and we still live in the house, though the dept will be monsterous if/as/when, and any prayers for me should be in the context of the fact that an open door to passtor a church would solve MANY problems. Preferably one with a house. I have publicly stated that I anticipate a synergy between that happening and the forclosure proceeding on this house (or it being sold but that too would be a huge miricle as the debt is now considerably more than the appraised value).

    Nevertheless, I have learned whatsoever state I am in therewith to be content.
  4. Major B

    Major B <img src=/6069.jpg>

    May 6, 2003
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    I've told part of my story on other strings, but the bottom line is that I am a retired Air Force "mustang" officer (I was an NCO before I became an officer), I worked in industry and was very succe$$ful, then God called me to the ministry. I pastored one church, got fired after three years, and have spent the last 3 years fighting a campaign of personal destruction against me by members of my former congregation. However, God has continued to open doors, as I have been doing nouthetic counseling and teaching the Bible. To support my family, I teach government and economics in an inner-city high school (the fact that I used to be a drill instructor comes in handy there).

    As for getting your education, I have a BA in History and Social Sciences, an MS in International Relations, and an M.A.R. from Liberty Seminary. I am working on a PhD in counseling now. My degrees have one thing in common--I earned each of them while working full time. In fact, my MS was earned while working 65 hours a week managing a large maintenance organization. Was it hard? Yes. Is it hard now? Yes. What is the key? Oliver Cromwell said, "Trust in the Lord and Keep your Powder dry."
  5. Maverick

    Maverick New Member

    Feb 3, 2002
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    Oddly, the doors are far more open to a younger man than when I got out of college at 30. Everyone wanted a man 35-50 with 15 years experience. That is tough since the 35 yr old lad had to start at 20 to get 15 yrs experience and a 35 year old would be 50 with that amount of experience except how do you get it when no one wants someone trained but "inexperienced?" Now at 50, I am too old for many churches though I actually have about 25 years experience. One very large church near me called a 29 year old right out of cemetery and I was too young at 30. Times change but people stay crazy. ;)
  6. j_barner2000

    j_barner2000 New Member

    Jan 13, 2003
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    I am interning at my church and studying through seminary extension. Along with a full time job and family, makes me a busy boy. God will provide the training and the service opportunity in His time.