PDA

View Full Version : Need Advice: Struggling greatly...



davidplunk2
Oct 11th 2008, 03:24 PM
Hey Guys,

I am new to this message board but I joined it so I can find some comfort from some other christians. I have a serious situation going on in my spiritual life that may not sound like a big deal to you guys but it is a huge deal to me. I am a freshman in college right now. Around my sophomore year in high school, I got very involved in church and I felt that God was calling me into ministry. He has blessed me with the talent to be able to sing and a talent to be able to play the piano by ear. I am going to school right now to be a funeral director/embalmer. I have always had an interest in this field. Well, I am 2 months into that school and I have had more hardships in my life there than I have in my entire life. Before choosing mortuary school, I wanted to go to Union University which is a christian school in the south (about 45 minutes away from home). I wanted to go there and get my ministry training. I, However, chose to go to Nashville and go to school. So, now, I am pretty much miserable because I want to be doing my ministry training. I dont just hat mortuary school but I just feel like deep down, God wants me somewhere else. I have prayed and prayed. I have not mentioned this to my parents or anything. I just wanted to know maybe what you guys think. Should I transfer to Union or should I stay where I am?

Please give me some advice. I have been in literal tears over this battle several times in the last few months.

Love in Christ,

DJ

ServantofTruth
Oct 11th 2008, 03:50 PM
Right this is what i'm hearing - you have talents for singing and the piano. You chose one course, but now want to take another. Your school has created challenges in your life harder than anything before - this is very common to many students. You think you should be in the ministry.

I'm not sure how this is a Spiritual battle. It just sounds to me like you think you made a wrong choice and want to change to a different course. One danger there, is many students find the other course just as, if not more, challenging and drop out again.

What i would personally prefer to hear is where you are before Jesus Christ. Are you studying the bible daily, are you praying for every need you hear and the church/ body worldwide, are you helping others especially those rejected by society, are you doing mission work already.

Many feel called to the ministry - me included - but are you already answering that call daily in your life, or are you wanting the training and title more than listening to that call today.

Today you can reach out to non believers. Today you can help the elderly, the sick, the poor. Today you can pray for the needs of society.

My encouragement is in Acts chapter 5, when Gamaliel stands up and says ..... If what they are planning is something of their own doing, it will fail. But if God is behind it, you cannot stop it anyway.

Please don't make any sudden decisions. I would focus on where you are now in faith. God will show you the path to full time ministry, if that is his will in your life. But you must be on your knees, with everyone elses needs before your own.

I believe your immediate problem is practical - not Spiritual, at least the ones mentioned here at least. If you can give everything, live totally for others, you're the man to lead a church. Love SofTy.

davidplunk2
Oct 11th 2008, 04:02 PM
Thanks servant of truth,

I guess I should have given a little bit more background. I am praying daily for the needs of those around me. All my life, I have put others needs before my own. Daily bible study is part of my life and I have consulted other students at my school about doing morning bible study, to no avail. This is a very spirtitual battle because it is all about answering the call of God on my life. I was the music minister at my church and thus had to quit doing that to move off to school. I hated giving up that servant position. Going to Union is not about the "training" or the "title". Its about learning more about God, from those who are knowledgeable on the word. Learning about Christian history. Its about being around other growing, struggling, christians around you daily that you can grow from and encourage each other. Sure, the battle may be practical, but it is very, very spiritual in nature.

ServantofTruth
Oct 11th 2008, 09:07 PM
Good answer David - but i'm going to have to keep pushing i'm afraid, with love. Because i know how good i am at answering questions and making myself look good and have met others recently who turned out differently to the wrapping. Forgive me?

I'm hearing you pray, i'm hearing you study the Word of God, i'm hearing you were the 'music minister' (whatever that means!).

Sorry, but i have met too many people who say they want to serve God and other people - but aren't prepared to just get out there and do it!

I had a local Pastor round to my house last year, he told me of a young man who came to him wanting to be a pastor. He said go away for 5 years experience life and faith and then come and ask me again. A couple of years later he met this young man, he was now a pastor - he'd just searched until someone would train him. He'd been at 2 churches and they'd both nose dived. Because he wasn't interested in God's Will, rather want he wanted God's Will to be in his life.

My own father 3 times went before a church panel and was turned down for full time ministy. He just became a lay minister and has taken many services and well basically acted like a priest for 40 years. Not God's Will - his. Has he ever done mission? Has he ever gone to find the sick and lonely, homeless - no. Has he given everything he has for God, or lived a comfortable life and only given his excess. Has he served or loved being a leader?

Churches are full of leaders who want to be leaders. Yes they know the bible. Yes they give excellent bible talks. Perhaps they do a little visiting and mission. But their hearts are where? Their money is where? Personally or the churches money?

There is even a known phycological syndrome of people who like to say the whole time i'm only a servant, don't look at me - when it is clear they are loving every minute. We see this on tv clearly, but also in many many local churches.

So i ask again how is your free time spent? Are you hitting the streets to save the lost and comfort the homeless? Are you already doing hospital visiting? Are you giving lifts to church, visiting members in their homes - not friends or nice easy people, the differcult stressful people.

Readers may think i'm being hard. But i hope the original poster is begining to see what i am getting at. It is easy to have a position at church. It is easy to read the bible at home and pray. It is easy to look sideways and say i'm doing what those Christians i know do, in fact more.

Get out of your comfort zone - today! Don't wait for the church's permission to help people or do mission start now - because the bible/ God and your heart knows it is where you belong.

If a position arises through your God given work, consider it. But why should you be chosen instead of another member of the congregation to be a minister - that should be easy to answer, if you read the bible regularly! Do you know?

I am tough, because i want the best for you, SofTy.

Athanasius
Oct 11th 2008, 10:23 PM
Thanks servant of truth,

I guess I should have given a little bit more background. I am praying daily for the needs of those around me. All my life, I have put others needs before my own. Daily bible study is part of my life and I have consulted other students at my school about doing morning bible study, to no avail. This is a very spirtitual battle because it is all about answering the call of God on my life. I was the music minister at my church and thus had to quit doing that to move off to school. I hated giving up that servant position. Going to Union is not about the "training" or the "title". Its about learning more about God, from those who are knowledgeable on the word. Learning about Christian history. Its about being around other growing, struggling, christians around you daily that you can grow from and encourage each other. Sure, the battle may be practical, but it is very, very spiritual in nature.

I've gone to Bible Colleges in both Canada (Eastern Pentecostal Bible College) and the United Kingdom (Mattersey Hall), so let me tell you a few things about my experiences in both of these Bible Colleges.

You really have three types of people in Bible College:

1. Those who know they are called
2. Those who think they are called, but aren't sure what they 'heard'
3. Those who are there to get set straight, family pressure, etc.

Regarding group (1) you know who these people are. They are actively involved in everything: prayer groups, outreach, preaching, youth ministry, children's ministry, homeless shelters, hospital visits, street preaching, Bible study groups, missions (local and away), etc. They love to serve and you know they love it and are genuine about it. This is not a passion you can fake (I've seen many people try), this is on fire for God, driven and led by God. I am not in this group.

This group also presents a unique challenge - you compare yourself to them. I'm at Mattersey Hall and there are some very famous preachers training here. Very famous and very young, 20, 21, 22 years old. Being the same age as them I tend to take 'me', view 'them' as being called by God and thinking: "Well look at them, why would God ever care to use me?" You quickly lose sight of the fact that as Christians (called to 'pastoral' ministry or not) we all make up the body of Christ; different functions, different roles.

Group (2) can go in either direction. From this group you have people go into group (1), you also have people go into group (3). Group (3), by the way, is the group which consists of people who should not be in Bible College. Group (2) will find themselves more challenged than those people in group (1), mind you, group (1) is challenged quite a lot as well. These people are usually willing to try some things but not everything and really need to be pushed (and broken) to find out where they belong and where God is calling them (If indeed He is calling them to pastoral ministry).

Group (3) you see usually drop out in the first little while, though you do occasionally find people move to group (2) and then into group (1). Really not much else to say about them aside from the fact that their prescence in Bible College is fairly dodgy.

Now, here's also the thing about Bible College: it will destroy your faith and build it back up. While your faith is being challenged and destroyed, you may very well lose that sense of being 'called' to pastoral ministry. You may lose your passion. You may find Christianity to be absolutely ridiculous. I've seen it many times... I myself lost my passion. Bible College will take you from a place where you are planted firmly in your faith to a place where you're almost sure of nothing outside of the fact that Jesus is Lord.

Sure, it's a great place to be... But it's no walk in the park. If you're at a [good] Bible College, you're mind is going to be messed around with.

ServantofTruth
Oct 12th 2008, 03:24 PM
That kind of says what i am saying - but better. I have met many ministers, i only only met a few men of God leading flocks they love. Many men of God i met did all the biblical things quietly and were never ministers. SofTy.

davidplunk2
Oct 12th 2008, 06:54 PM
Thank you both for your suggestions. I do think you are reading me all wrong but that is besides the point. There are opportunities to witness everywhere. My real question was not 'I want to be a PASTOR. What do you think?' Because thats where the answers seem to be headed. I said I felt God was preparing me to go into the ministry. Whether that be a music ministry (BTW, SofTy, A music minister is someone who leads the worship service in a church). Ministry emcompasses so much more. Ministry, I feel, is anything that you do for the glory of God. That is a ministry. My question really was to the effect of how I should look at my situation. Should I look at the hardships as a sign from God that I am not doing that which he has called me to do? Or is it just teaching me patience because better things are to come. I think the desire to serve the Lord is not a human desire but one that is laid upon someones heart.

"Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for himů" (Psalm 37:5-7a, NIV)

The way I see it, if you are committed to serving the Lord, then he will open the doors for you to be able to serve him in mighty mighty ways. I feel called to go and get training. Training in Biblical studies, whether it be old or new testament survey. I want to learn basic biblical greek, to get a foundation of what God meant by his choice of words in certain scripture. I feel called to go to school and learn these things.

Am I more clear with my direction on this?

Athanasius
Oct 12th 2008, 07:15 PM
Thank you both for your suggestions. I do think you are reading me all wrong but that is besides the point. There are opportunities to witness everywhere. My real question was not 'I want to be a PASTOR. What do you think?' Because thats where the answers seem to be headed. I said I felt God was preparing me to go into the ministry. Whether that be a music ministry (BTW, SofTy, A music minister is someone who leads the worship service in a church). Ministry emcompasses so much more. Ministry, I feel, is anything that you do for the glory of God. That is a ministry. My question really was to the effect of how I should look at my situation. Should I look at the hardships as a sign from God that I am not doing that which he has called me to do? Or is it just teaching me patience because better things are to come. I think the desire to serve the Lord is not a human desire but one that is laid upon someones heart.

Let's make the proper distinction then between ministry and pastoral ministry. The life of every Christian is ministry, whether they want it to be or not, they are ambassadors for Christ. Some of those Christians are called beyond this ministry and into pastoral ministry. If you believe God is calling you to be a music minister, then you would receive training for pastoral ministry at a Bible College. I do not believe I'm called to be a pastor, or called to anything related to pastoral ministry. However, I am in Bible College so that I am secure in my faith, doctrine and understanding of scripture for when I continue my studies at any secular institution. God is building my foundation, as I plan to continue my studies in theology and philosophy. Makes sense?

If you want to be involved in music ministry, you have to attend Bible College. If you're going to attend Bible College then you will be viewed as a candidate for pastorship. You would, in case you missed it, fall into group (2).

Otherwise, stick with your mortuary training and volunteer your services to help with worship on Sunday.



The way I see it, if you are committed to serving the Lord, then he will open the doors for you to be able to serve him in mighty mighty ways. I feel called to go and get training. Training in Biblical studies, whether it be old or new testament survey. I want to learn basic biblical greek, to get a foundation of what God meant by his choice of words in certain scripture. I feel called to go to school and learn these things.

Am I more clear with my direction on this?

You're very clear on what you're saying and we've both given you relevant replies. If you feel called to ministry - music ministry or otherwise - then read what we're saying... You're not going to be relegated to "worship on Sundays". Otherwise, stick to what you're doing, grit your teeth and get through at least the first semester (or year, at best) and see where God has you after that.

davidplunk2
Oct 12th 2008, 07:27 PM
Let's make the proper distinction then between ministry and pastoral ministry. The life of every Christian is ministry, whether they want it to be or not, they are ambassadors for Christ. Some of those Christians are called beyond this ministry and into pastoral ministry. If you believe God is calling you to be a music minister, then you would receive training for pastoral ministry at a Bible College. I do not believe I'm called to be a pastor, or called to anything related to pastoral ministry. However, I am in Bible College so that I am secure in my faith, doctrine and understanding of scripture for when I continue my studies at any secular institution. God is building my foundation, as I plan to continue my studies in theology and philosophy. Makes sense?

If you want to be involved in music ministry, you have to attend Bible College. If you're going to attend Bible College then you will be viewed as a candidate for pastorship. You would, in case you missed it, fall into group (2).

Otherwise, stick with your mortuary training and volunteer your services to help with worship on Sunday.



You're very clear on what you're saying and we've both given you relevant replies. If you feel called to ministry - music ministry or otherwise - then read what we're saying... You're not going to be relegated to "worship on Sundays". Otherwise, stick to what you're doing, grit your teeth and get through at least the first semester (or year, at best) and see where God has you after that.

Thanks for the information, from the both of you. I am wanting to go to 'Bible College' as you call it for the same reason you are.


I am in Bible College so that I am secure in my faith, doctrine and understanding of scripture for when I continue my studies at any secular institution.

Thats the exact reason I am wanting to go. Thanks for giving me your response about staying or going. I should graduate from mortuary school in December of 2009, next year and then I want to attend Union University to begin studying doctrine and other classes related to christianity. How does that sound?

Athanasius
Oct 12th 2008, 07:58 PM
Thanks for the information, from the both of you. I am wanting to go to 'Bible College' as you call it for the same reason you are.

Thats the exact reason I am wanting to go. Thanks for giving me your response about staying or going. I should graduate from mortuary school in December of 2009, next year and then I want to attend Union University to begin studying doctrine and other classes related to christianity. How does that sound?

It's between you and God. I was in school for Computer systems networking and I left for Bible College near the end of my degree... I regret that decision, I should have just finished the degree. If you're only there for a year or two... I'd wait until the end, then at least you have something to show. Take that time to seriously pray, fast and dig into the word.

davidplunk2
Oct 12th 2008, 08:06 PM
Well, thats where I stand now. I am only going to be here another year and I will have my degree. This week, I am planning to fast from food and devote myself to fervent prayer and scripture reading to see what Gods plan is for me. I am really looking forward to going to bible college. Do you think fasting is the best way to go about this?

Athanasius
Oct 12th 2008, 08:20 PM
Well, thats where I stand now. I am only going to be here another year and I will have my degree. This week, I am planning to fast from food and devote myself to fervent prayer and scripture reading to see what Gods plan is for me. I am really looking forward to going to bible college. Do you think fasting is the best way to go about this?

You have to seek God's will and fasting is part of that process, so yes.

davidplunk2
Oct 12th 2008, 08:42 PM
Xel' Nega,

I just want to thank you for your viewpoints. I am glad to see that I am not the only one that has struggled with this. A lot of times, I feel like I am so alone in this battle. This week, I want to seek Gods will for my life and I am going to fast and devote time to getting an answer from him. I am actually looking forward to drawing closer to God.

Veretax
Oct 18th 2008, 02:15 AM
I agree with what Xel'Naga said. When if first started to think about what the Lord wanted me to do profesionally, I initially was interested in Medicine, My dad was an Engineer, and I was good at Science and Math. However, I began to realize I didn't want to be around sick people all the time, so I reconsidered my options and instead enrolled in Engineering school. It was hard work. I knew I had the aptitude to do it, but as I grew immensely in the Lord through bible study and devotions, I began to feel pressure. A large number of the folks in my College Fellowship were going off to graduate school, many to persue degrees in Bible or Theology. The church I went to seemed to pressure a lot of folks to go to a school that before I came there had never heard of (Bob Jones). In any case, I too felt this pressure from peers and it really broke down in my life to where I began to question what the Lord wanted from me.

I spent several months discouraged and praying about his will, and it wasn't until I surrendered my life completely to him that I got the answer for his plan. He didn't want me in the ministry at that point (at least not pastoral yet), but what he did show me was that I had a ministry all along and had been mostly blind to all of the lost around me at the college campus. I began to pour myself into visiting and inviting people to church, and my stress from studies lessoned as I did. Now I work as a Software Developer, and I'm a firm believer that wherever the Lord takes me that he has a plan for me. Whether it be in business or in our local Church, I'm a believer that God wants me and my family actively involved in what goes on. Now, might he one day knock and say I need you as a Missionary or Pastor? Maybe, but until then I'm walking day by day, and trying to accomplish that which he has fixed my path upon.

College can be a very lonely, and discouraging time. I went to a Secular University and I wa really held to the fire by the many pagan and unsaved that lived in the Dorms, but through that trial my faith burned brighter. God used it to make me stronger, and he used it to turn me into a vessel that could help reach others. Before College, I was not mature enough to really be effective for him. Now I'm by no means finished maturing yet, but I am better equipped from what I have learned then I was before. I pray that the Lord Guides you into whatever path he desires you to take, and I hope my post will encourage you.

CoffeeCat
Oct 18th 2008, 03:33 AM
davidplunk2,

Just wanted to let you know, first off, that I'm praying for you. Secondly, a warm welcome to the boards here. :) Thirdly, I think it's wonderful that you want to serve God through a ministry and strengthen your faith. There are a LOT of courses you could take or seminars you could go to. The BEST news, though, is that day by day... Christians live an open ministry when they come into contact with those who do know Christ, and those who don't know Him. We have the opportunity to reach out.

Now, the mortuary business. I happen to think it really lends itself to ministry. How? Well, what state are grieving families in? A fragile one. They're hurting. They want answers, possibly, or comfort, certainly. They NEED people who are willing and able to step up and share their grief with them, celebrate someone's life with them, talk to them about eternal life -- it's one of few professions these days where such talk might be welcomed. Not that you HAVE to do this.... but please just know that there ARE many, many ways you can help others, minister to others, through the degree you're already receiving.

No matter what you do.... may God bless you!

davidplunk2
Oct 18th 2008, 03:53 PM
Thanks for all your replies. I still feel like God is dealing with my heart very heavily. So overwhelming sometimes I just sit and cry. He really moved on me last night when I was talking with a friend and it was just amazing. I feel like I should be going to Union University. I dont know what to do.....:confused

CoffeeCat
Oct 18th 2008, 04:41 PM
:hug: Here's something to consider: you CAN do both. If God really wants us somewhere, He'll open up the opportunities for us and help us get there. I truly believe that. If you finish the degree you're getting now, Union University won't sprout wings and fly away in the meanwhile. Promise.

I have a question, and if you don't feel like answering... you don't have to answer 'out loud'. But please at least consider it. Why the drive, so badly, to change colleges right now? Are you realizing your current program really isn't for you? Is it a financial situation, where you can afford one university but not both? Is it that you really want to start learning more about the Bible NOW? If it's the last option, you might want to consider looking into online Bible courses, or correspondence courses. If you CAN afford to go to Union AFTER you get the degree you're in now, that might work out very well for you.... you'd have a degree under your belt you could use when or if you needed/wanted to.

Praying for you. And if you honestly feel like you should be going to Union, then PLEASE speak with 1. your pastor 2. your family 3. academic advisors at the school you're currently attending to discuss options. Some programs, you can put on hold and return to later.... others would make you start again from scratch. The advisors can really help you sort through your ideas.

Blessings!

davidplunk2
Oct 18th 2008, 04:51 PM
:hug: Here's something to consider: you CAN do both. If God really wants us somewhere, He'll open up the opportunities for us and help us get there. I truly believe that. If you finish the degree you're getting now, Union University won't sprout wings and fly away in the meanwhile. Promise.

I have a question, and if you don't feel like answering... you don't have to answer 'out loud'. But please at least consider it. Why the drive, so badly, to change colleges right now? Are you realizing your current program really isn't for you? Is it a financial situation, where you can afford one university but not both? Is it that you really want to start learning more about the Bible NOW? If it's the last option, you might want to consider looking into online Bible courses, or correspondence courses. If you CAN afford to go to Union AFTER you get the degree you're in now, that might work out very well for you.... you'd have a degree under your belt you could use when or if you needed/wanted to.

Praying for you. And if you honestly feel like you should be going to Union, then PLEASE speak with 1. your pastor 2. your family 3. academic advisors at the school you're currently attending to discuss options. Some programs, you can put on hold and return to later.... others would make you start again from scratch. The advisors can really help you sort through your ideas.

Blessings!

Ok - bit of background information. During my junior year, I was seriously contemplating Union after I went on a tour there. I never knew there were christian schools! I loved it. My pastor said he saw minsterial qualities in me long time ago and with God dealing on my heart, I did surrender to the ministry last year. I struggled with deciding whether to go to Nashville or Union. I decided to go to Nashville because I was ready to get away and I thought I would love the big city. I feel like I made my decision on the wrong principals and it has been nothing but pain and heartache since then. I have been doing the funeral business for 2 years now and when I talk about going to Union like next semester or something, they are like, well you have been doing this for a while and they act as if I have signed my life away to this career.

Well, I know that Union isnt going anywhere and that I will still be able to go when I finish mortuary school. Its just like, I dont feel my heart is in this business. I enjoy it, but its not where I feel I need to be. I would give anything just to pull up right now and go to school at Union. I would leave mortuary school in a heartbeat....is that a sign? Another thing, If I wanted to do it, I dont know if my parents would understand my decision. They are always talking about me needing something to fall back on but, if I have my degree from Union, there is a lot I can do with that. I dont mind being a funeral director/embalmer, but I dont feel like its what is going to make me happy. What would make me happy would be to be working with churches, working with missionaries, going on mission trips and being around other christians like me who have the same passions to serve God that I do. Thats where my heart is. Thats where my passion is. Do you feel where I am coming from?

CoffeeCat
Oct 18th 2008, 05:56 PM
Ok - bit of background information. During my junior year, I was seriously contemplating Union after I went on a tour there. I never knew there were christian schools! I loved it. My pastor said he saw minsterial qualities in me long time ago and with God dealing on my heart, I did surrender to the ministry last year. I struggled with deciding whether to go to Nashville or Union. I decided to go to Nashville because I was ready to get away and I thought I would love the big city. I feel like I made my decision on the wrong principals and it has been nothing but pain and heartache since then. I have been doing the funeral business for 2 years now and when I talk about going to Union like next semester or something, they are like, well you have been doing this for a while and they act as if I have signed my life away to this career.

Well, I know that Union isnt going anywhere and that I will still be able to go when I finish mortuary school. Its just like, I dont feel my heart is in this business. I enjoy it, but its not where I feel I need to be. I would give anything just to pull up right now and go to school at Union. I would leave mortuary school in a heartbeat....is that a sign? Another thing, If I wanted to do it, I dont know if my parents would understand my decision. They are always talking about me needing something to fall back on but, if I have my degree from Union, there is a lot I can do with that. I dont mind being a funeral director/embalmer, but I dont feel like its what is going to make me happy. What would make me happy would be to be working with churches, working with missionaries, going on mission trips and being around other christians like me who have the same passions to serve God that I do. Thats where my heart is. Thats where my passion is. Do you feel where I am coming from?

I absolutely 'feel' where you're coming from! And here's what I'm reading:

- you know where your heart is, and it's not necessarily in your current program of study.
- you have a passion for something you don't feel you're fully able to pursue right now where you are, but you could pursue it elsewhere.
- your family MIGHT not understand, but chances are, they'd come around?


I think you have something to ask yourself: if you went to Union next semester and it WASN'T everything you hoped it would be, would you be able (personally, financially, etc) or allowed to finish the degree you're currently doing?

I know you're frustrated because of this. None of us here can tell you to stay or go. That needs to come from YOU..... and please do keep on praying about it, as I know you already are. I can tell you that personally, I've changed degrees when I badly wanted something other than what I was in, and it went very well. Everyone's mileage may vary on that, though. Only you know yourself well enough. Nobody here can say "STAY WHERE YOU ARE!" or "QUIT WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND CHANGE!" because there's some scriptural basis or something that will make it as clear as a bell.

I'll say this, though: IF you're able, follow Christ to the BEST of your ability -- whether or not you decide that includes a program change. If it DOES... go for it. If you can learn and grow and help out where you're currently 'planted'.... go for it.

I suspect you already know you want most, or at least are leaning towards, one of your two options. :)