HOW GOD RAISED UP MY SPEAKING MINISTRY
by John Clark
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Have you ever wondered, like I did for years, how God puts people into a position of having a speaking ministry? If you are reading this I would assume you may be desiring this for your life. Hopefully, my story will be of benefit to you.
For years I had a burning desire to speak, and teach the Word of God. I had always believed that this was my spiritual gift.
The Bible says to "not neglect the spiritual gift within you." (First Timothy 4:14) I was becoming very frustrated sitting in churches much of my life, not having opportunities to do what I believed I was gifted in, even though I had made myself available. Quite unfortunately, too many churches do not have a mindset to match people's gifts with opportunities.
Finally, the former pastor at my present church gave me a chance to speak in an evening service and at the local mission. By this time, I had become a published author, so I had more leverage. Then nothing happened for quite some time. I became increasingly restless. My heart was in having an ongoing speaking ministry. I decided that if this were to happen I could not restrict myself to the local church. I asked the question: Where and how could I use my abilities, gifts, hurts, and past experience to the greatest good to help other people? The mission was the answer.
I decided to begin going to the mission once a month to mingle with the people and to help out any way I could. I sat at a table one day stuffing envelopes for a fundraiser. It was a very enjoyable experience talking to the other volunteers, but a very intense and compelling thought abruptly entered my mind: this is not why I am here; I am here to share my heart and life with these hurting and needy men and women.
I eventually met with the chaplain, discussed my background, and showed him the syllabus of my writing. I was very open about my personal and family issues. He was very excited and told me that he would like to use me in some way. After several weeks I called him back and said I was still available. He phoned me the next day and said an opportunity had opened up for me to speak in a chapel service.
Praise God, I am now speaking once a week, teaching the message of hope and healing to the people at the mission.
Since then, God has confirmed my gift of teaching. The chaplain readily recognized my gift. A long time ago a college pastor told me there are three ways to identify one's spiritual gift: a desire to use it, recognition by others, and God's blessing upon it. This is exactly what has happened. With all of this said, I have never had training in public speaking.
Out of curiosity I asked the chaplain how he reached a decision in entrusting me with a chapel service, when he did not even know me several months earlier. He said it was because I was persistent, and a graduate of a respected seminary, so he did not have to worry about my theology. He also, of course, prayed about it. In addition, he mentioned it was because I was open about my personal issues and struggles, therefore making it possible for me to relate to the people at the mission. He said I was exactly the kind of person he wanted.
Every week I seek with God's guidance, to prepare messages that give biblical truth, practical help, share my life and heart, and a gospel invitation. The problems, passion, preparation, persistence, and teaching gift all met at God's door of opportunity. Someone said at the mission, it is like having my own little congregation. My, how God works!
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Very encouraging article. Well-written. I can relate to your struggle.