I grew up in a small Indiana town where there were more cows than people and traffic jams were created by farm equipment. My wife and I started dating when I was a freshman in high school and she was an 8th grader in middle school. We knew that we had a special relationship and as we matured we became best friends. We attended Olivet Nazarene University and earned our bachelor’s degrees in the religion department and now serve in the children’s and youth departments at Highland Park Church in Lakeland, FL. We are expecting the birth of our first born child, a baby girl, on June 4, 2011.
I first felt God’s calling when I was in high school. I was, and sometimes still am, completely uncomfortable with the idea because I’m not the greatest speaker, I’m very self-conscious and I wonder, why, out of all the people in the world, would He use me? Although I wrestled with the idea that God could use me or that I was capable of ministering to students, God pursued me. He kept reminding me that He is constantly preparing me for the path He has set before me and that I’m not the finish product of the creation He designed me to be.
It has been about 10 years since I first felt my calling to youth ministry and God has indeed changed me. While the idea of standing in front of a crowd of any size once caused my legs to get weak, it now doesn’t bother me. Weekly I stand before a group of 30+ students and lead them through a lesson. Every once in awhile I’m able to preach for the Wednesday night service which is for 120+ students and I am completely comfortable. God has taken the fear that once was inside of me and replaced it with confidence that He created me just as I am for a purpose.
The Bible is full of ordinary people being used by God. Page after page is filled with people with handicaps, speech problems and people who wrestled with sin that God used. God chose to use the people that everyone least suspected and He does the same today. Don’t think for one second that He cannot use you, because He is using us in ways right now that we won’t realize until we stand face to face with Him.