Ministry Outside of the Church

I have felt led for many years to volunteer my ministry; to serve outside of a paid ministry position. Some may think I’ve quit my call to ministry. Others may see it as a righteous following.

I spent more than 10 years in paid ministry, first as a youth pastor, then a couple as a church planter. It felt very awkward at first and something that I never thought I could do since I wasn’t raised in church and had little training at first. But, I was very passionate in my love for God and over time it became normal. It was comfortable to some degree. Although, I never felt like I had the gifts or talents to do it, I saw God working in and through me to impact people’s lives.

Our venture into church planting is what changed all of that. As I followed God’s direction and he gave me a vision for a house church ministry, many of my parochial beliefs were questioned as I read books and examined scripture. The particular type of ministry that we were endeavoring to create had a vision to spend all of our money on needs in our community and none on ourselves in terms of salary, building and such. This led me to find another way to fund my life so that I could continue to support my family. This led me to going back to school to become a high school counselor.

Today, in my sixth year as a school counselor, God has provided through those means in incredible ways. Daily, I am able to make a pretty significant impact in our community through my ministry as a school counselor. Teenagers of all types are going through challenging times and I get to help them directly for almost 8 hours a day! I get to be a witness to the hope that is in my life. I get to make a practical impact in their lives and their futures.

However, I am still yearning to impact this world and our community for Christ in ways that are more spiritual in nature. Trying to navigate this desire into action is much more challenging for me outside of a ministry position. Yet, that is where God has me right now. I am hoping that my writing may spurn others on to know, love and follow Jesus more passionately in their lives.

I remember, as a youth pastor, telling teenagers that God wants to use you no matter your  vocation. If you are following Jesus, He will use you. You can be a Christian Baker, a Christian Accountant, a Christian Teacher or a Christian Physical Therapist. God will use you and doesn’t only gift and empower and use those in pastoral ministry. Yet, I have lived that life now as a Christian Administrative Assistant for 4 years and now a Christian High School Counselor for 6 years and I know there is more. I know that God wants to use me in more ways than just my vocation. He also taught me many things and wants me to be able to share those with the world and with my community.

As I conclude today, what has God taught you that you can share with someone else? How are you impacting your work world or your community for Christ? What type of work has God called you to do? Are you in it? Are you doing it? What steps do you need to take to move in that direction? I encourage you to ponder these questions and answer them for yourself in your time with God. Then, listen.

Published by Shawn D. Congleton

traveler, writer, lover of God, thinker, family dude, in no particular order

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