“Am I Called To Preach?” BTPP001

Introductions:

0:45 NIGEL:  I was Saved at 13 from the religion of Islam in the Islands of Fiji. Coming from such a dark religion I was very hungry for the things of God and to wanted know more about God.  

Because of my hunger I wanted to constantly be around church people and was eager to help the missionaries any way possible. One of my mentors told me you don’t learn the things of the spirit, you catch the things of the spirit. I didn’t realize it at the time but being around the man of God let me see their burden, their passion, and eventually I believe I caught that Spirit of ministry.

At age 16 I felt the call to ministry but I didn’t really think about being behind the pulpit so much, but I got involved, taught Sunday School, became the youth leader for the church, then became the youth president for the district and taught in the Bible School.

After 7 or 8 years of full-time ministry I felt to come to the United States and attend Apostolic Bible Institute In 2007. Then after graduating we went to assist Bro Stump in Grandbury, Texas. Just recently the Lord started tugging at our hearts to enter into the evangelistic field and so that is what we are doing now. 

6:38 RYAN: I walked away from God while attending college, but as many of you might know, once you have been filled with the Holy Ghost, and then walk away, you can’t get away from the void you feel in your heart. I tried to fill that with everything except the one thing I needed, Jesus Christ. 

After I graduated from the nursing program at my college, I got a job down in Los Angeles. While there I recommitted my life to God, and met my beautiful wife Zsanine.

Originally I had wanted to go to Bible college before going to secular college, but for whatever reason I chose to go to secular school first. At some point we can talk about making that choice, but doors just started opening and I ended up moving out to Minnesota and attending ABI

After graduating we felt the calling of the Lord to go to the Portland, Oregon area, we’ve been here about 2 years now, and we are assisting Pastor Brock here in Beaverton, Oregon as Associate Pastor and acting as interim Youth Pastor.  

11:05 TIM: One thing that I think is so interesting about us is that we all come from such different backgrounds. Nigel, you grew up in a completely non-Christian environment, Ryan you grew up Christian but not in a minister’s home, and I was born a Missionary Kid. 

Growing up my families life completely revolved around church. We didn’t miss for anything. It never even crossed my mind to ask my parents if I could skip church to play on a sports team. 

I never really had one of those, divine singular experiences to which I could point and say that is the moment when I was “called to preach” And to his credit my Dad never pressured me towards a life of ministry, only to pursue God’s design for my life. 

At 18 went to St Louis, MO and enrolled at Gateway College of Evangelism (now known as Urshan College). I still at this point didn’t know if I was really called to preach or not. 

When I got there almost immediately I began to struggle seeing the carnality of so many people who then would be used by God. Also I let my devotional life slip and ended up not quite backslid but definitely not living like I knew I should be living. 

I then left Gateway at the request of Gateway. It really was good for me to go home, back to Japan, because it led me to really recommit my life to God. I very quickly got more and more involved in ministry. I started preaching, translating, and it really felt like my ministry was progressing. 

One of the doors that opened up to me was I was invited as a day session speaker at a Youth Camp here in America. While I was there I ran into some alumni from ABI. We were all sitting around and they started telling Bible School stories. The stories weren’t particularly spiritual or anything but almost immediately God started talking to me about going to ABI. After about a month of fighting God I finally relented and went to ABI.

After ABI I moved out to San Diego with my wife to start my ministry under Pastor Hodges. We came with no position, no promise of anything, but we felt the Lord’s direction so we came. After being here awhile and serving in several different ministries under others we became the Youth Pastor at our church.

Vision For The Show:

18:17 TIM: This podcast really started with a quote by Jim Rohn: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Which reminds me of something my Pastor says. “You need three kinds of people in your life. Those who have done what you want to do, we call these mentors. Those who want to do the same thing you want to do, but are behind you, these are people you help pull up. And you need some people who want to do the same thing you want to do, and who are roughly at the same place as you are. These are your peers.”

We are going to be interviewing some of the most successful ministers in our organization and so that is one way that I believe this podcast is going to bless young ministers. Connecting them with people who have successfully done what they want to do. 

Also I want this show to fill the roll of peer for ministers that are a lot like us. Maybe you have been doing ministry for a few years now, but you just need some encouragement and some ministry minded people to keep you excited about the kingdom of God and your involvement in ministry.

And I want to also be able to pass along some of the lessons we’ve learned, to those ministry minded people who are just getting into ministry or maybe just thinking about getting into ministry. Hopefully we can help save them from making some of the same mistakes we’ve made.

21:38 RYAN: My desire for the podcast is that it would be something that is thought provoking, emotionally provoking, and entertaining. I really hope our listeners will share their journey with us as we are sharing our journeys with them. And of course I am just happy I’m going to get to talk to you guys.

And I want it to be practical and applicable for ministers in today’s culture.

24:10 NIGEL: When I first came into church and was excited about the church, and when I was looking at getting into the ministry, most of the things I learned were from the missionaries that I was around. But most of the other things I learned were from books about missionaries, and preachers; people who have done it, and then reading about how they did it.

I think when we bring in these successful ministers that are really involved in ministry, and on the field, and that have done this for many years; and as we are able to hear what they are doing, and their experiences it will really inspire young ministers. I hope too that anyone listening to this will realize that if we can do it, anyone can do it.

“Am I Called To Preach”:

28:16 RYAN: I’m reading a book right now, For Preacher’s Only by J.T. Pugh. The first chapter is basically all about the preacher’s call.  You know, I never had that bolt of lightening moment, but rather it was this gradual burden I began to feel for people and for ministry in general. I also noticed my chosen career of nursing began to be less important in my life. This is something Bro Pugh brings up in his book: “The once coveted material goals of life pale in the light of eternal verities. A strong awareness of Christ’s coming calls for a reappraisal of all worldly associations. Earthly ambitions are viewed as folly, and carnal attainments as vanity. The most important part of the day is that which is filled with spiritual activity.” 

Bible school is not for the purpose of creating a minister or magically give someone a calling or anything like that. But what it does is it allows people to step away and get with like-minded people to study and focus.

31:15 TIM: You mentioned like-minded people. It really ties into what I was saying about surrounding yourself with ministry minded people. Bible school gives you the opportunity to surround yourself with those who are ahead of you, teachers. Specifically ABI is amazing at this, and I’m sure at some point we will talk more about it, but as far as I know none of the other schools are able to offer the same caliber of teachers that ABI does. We had district superintendent Pastor Hodges, Bro Pasley, Bro Chapman, Bro Coon, Bro Jack Leaman, and you could just keep going down the list of men that taught us that would be classified as the greats. But it’s not just that, I was able to take out many of these men for a cup of coffee, and just talk about ministry, and other things.

And then you go back to the dorms and the great conversations we had about God, and things we were studying in class, surrounding ourselves with like-minded, ministry minded peers.

While the topic isn’t about going to Bible school, I do think that if you are trying to figure out you’re calling, going to Bible School can be a great way to know if you are called or not.

32:41 RYAN: Obviously not everyone is able to go to Bible School, but I think the main thing is that your desire and your love for lost souls is so apparent in your walk with God. In ministry you will go through a lot and so you really have to have God-like love to make it.

33:30 NIGEL: Ryan you bring up a great point because without that love there really is no ministry. I remember Bro Carver telling me if you want to see God move through signs, wonders, and miracles; love people and these things will follow you.

34:41 TIM: When your ministry comes out of love then your ministry is because you see a need that needs to be filled. If you are seeking to start your ministry for any other reason then your ministry becomes about you having a ministry.

34:51 NIGEL: Well we have to understand the incredible value of a soul. When we realize that one soul is more valuable than the whole world, then we can appreciate the importance of ministry.

36:07 TIM: You know I was thinking about this and I kinda came to this realization that we don’t really need to figure it all out. We are all called to serve. The word minister simply means a servant. Ministry is demonstrated best in Jesus’ life when he washed his disciples feet. So wherever you are, just serve and walk through each door as it is opened for you.

37:12 NIGEL: You can find preachers a dime a dozen. But you have to desire to be a minister of the gospel. There is a vast difference between preachers and ministers. Preaching is easy. Anybody can get up and put up a performance.

39:03 RYAN: In his book J.T. Pugh says “the best and most progressive preachers have formerly been their pastor’s right hand man.” What he’s saying is they don’t just pop up out of nowhere.

39:30 TIM: Well, how would someone wanting to get involved become their Pastor’s right hand man?

39:30 RYAN: There is always opportunity to get involved in the ministry. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are up on the platform right away. Your Pastor may not come search you out, but if you will go to your Pastor looking for something he needs done, you will find there is always plenty to do.

40:35 NIGEL: I think it is important to mention that someone shouldn’t have the goal of becoming the right hand man of their pastor. Instead of seeking your Pastor’s approval just look for opportunities to be involved in whatever you can do and to serve every opportunity you get.

41:15 RYAN: Thank you for pointing that out, because he prefaces the whole section with “the call of God manifests itself in a fervent interest to promote the work of God, in general. In janitorial work, mowing grass, and general repair and work, things that from the outside people wouldn’t consider ministry.”

41:45: TIM: I think what he is trying to say is that becoming the right hand of the man of God is a symptom not your goal. But I think the easiest way to get time with your pastor is to offer to mow his lawn, change the oil in his car, or run to the store for him. I guarantee you if you start doing things like that, you will get time around your Pastor.

44:30 RYAN: You know, I think one of the biggest things is making sure you have an open line of communication with your Pastor or whoever is over you, about you feeling this call. I know for me, once I let my Pastor know I was feeling the call of the Lord, it opened the conversation to other ministry related things, and it allowed me to kind of see him through those glasses.

You know the last thing I’ll say about the book, he says, and this is why I feel so strongly about Bible College, “once you’ve felt this desire towards ministry there needs to be at least 3 to 4 years of just intense study, and prayer, and in the word, just to get that basic knowledge. The reason this is so important is that once you get into ministry your time to do that really gets eaten up  by the other things that go along with ministry.”

47:10 NIGEL: I think sometimes young people get offended when they go to the Pastor and say I feel called to preach and the Pastor says here’s a broom or clean the restroom. We really need to just put that aside.

If you have a desire or feel called to preach or be involved in ministry don’t let that desire die. Whatever you have to do keep your desire alive. And then the next thing you do, just get involved. Do anything, any everything you can. Teach Sunday school, get involved in youth, teach Bible studies, and you will realize that once you have seen one person that you taught get saved, you will get addicted and you will be set on fire for God.

And finally don’t push any doors open. Proverbs 18:16 says “a man’s gifts maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” If you have the desire and the call God will put you in places you can’t possibly imagine at this point.

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