Monday, November 05, 2007

Ministry Testimony

Wow! This post from a couple of weeks ago has generated many encouraging comments and emails. I kind of thought that might happen. I have been begging Brian to start a blog because he's just got so much good stuff to share. God enlightens Brian as he studies the Word and he has a special gift communicating the Truth. His story of ministry is inspiring so I'd like to share a little of it here (hope that's ok honey)! He is probably going to kill me for this but I think it's a neat testimony of God's grace in our lives.

When I met Brian 10 years ago, we were both serving as counselors for Centrifuge. I recognized right away that he was a special person. Everyone liked him and he had a genuine love for the Lord, and for serving the Lord in such a selfless and humble way.

We were married by the end of that same year and were living in Virginia. I remember talking to Brian about whether he felt 'called' to the ministry and whether or not he needed to go to seminary. At that time, he didn't feel a specific 'call' (the term often used in Southern Baptist circles) to go and preach - he just felt led to be a part of the Body and serve there. So he served as a Youth Minister of a small church for several years.

When our first child came along, it was just too much to continue and we walked away from ministry for a while, needing time to recover and be refreshed.

Then through some neighbors, we started attending another fellowship in the area. After joining that church, Brian was asked to lead an Adult Sunday School class. He served there 3 years, 'shepherding' those people and discipling them. It was incredible to see how God continued to affirm the special gift of teaching in Brian.

Two years ago we were privileged to help start a Reformed church plant in the area. Brian is so blessed to be able to serve God and this body in so many ways. He leads worship each week and is now preaching once a month. His passion for spreading the Gospel and for pointing towards the glory of Christ is evident in all that he does.

Through this 10-year journey, I periodically ask Brian, "are you sure you shouldn't be going to seminary? Are you sure you're not called to preach? Everyone who hears you and everyone who sits under your teaching sure thinks you're called to something!" He always just answers with something like, "I have answered His call - I am serving the body."

Growing up in Southern Baptist circles, everyone always said, 'just pray and God will show you His will for your life'. The focus was more on finding the 'plan' God had for you instead of just living for His glory each day, wherever you were. (How many hours I wasted looking for that silly plan!) In those same circles, it was often taught that you had to hear a specific 'call from God to preach' - then go to seminary - then go to a small church - then a bigger church - then a really big church, etc. But now I know better.

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to a recorded conversation between John Piper and John MacArthur. They talked about the fact that often times, circumstances are what confirms a call on someone's life. John Piper went on to explain that he teaches the youth at his church that gifts are verified within the community of the Body. That makes so much sense doesn't it? Just obediently serve within the Body and God will wither confirm or deny those gifts of ministry.

Through Brian's life, I have seen so many lives changed because of his faithfulness to teach God's Word - and the glory doesn't go to Brian, it goes to Christ, for using a broken vessel to help spread the Gospel! I do see that Brian is 'called' - he is 'anointed' - and he is being 'faithful' and for that I am thankful!


April said...

What a nice story. My husband and I grew up in those same kinds of circles. It is encouraging to hear the church affirm Brian's gifts and not his own self-appointed 'calling'. To God be the glory alone for his gifts. Blessing to you as he uses your family for hsi glory.

Kim said...

Oh, Jenn! What a wonderful testimony to Brian and to God's ministry through his obedience.

The Lord has certainly granted him wisdom and we benefit from the overflow. Through his teaching and discipling and God's amazing grace we are tremendously blessed as a church body!

Kelly said...

Great to hear how God is using you guys to build His church. Blessings!

C.T. Lillies said...

It took a long time for me to figure that one out myself. I was reading through a biography of J.L. Dagg and realized just what you are discussing here. The call to ministry is confirmed in the local church, not the seminary. It's no wonder so many young men tank out once they arrive and its less surprising that so many more burn out once they graduate.

Thanks for sharing it.