Formspring Friday #6: Just One For Today

To take a break from the relationship stuff, I’m sticking to answering one question that was asked twice.

Hello! I was just wondering, how did you start out as a campus missionary? When you started how sure were you that you wanted it and, more importantly, that GOD wanted you there? I just wanna hear your story. Thanks! 🙂

Hi, pastor! I was just really wondering after graduating from college did you immediately went on to do the campus missions thing? When you started were you 100% sure that it was were GOD wanted you? I just really wanna hear your story regarding that. 🙂

My parents became Christians when I was a year old. My dad became a volunteer pastor when I was six, and was leading our local church in Makati when I was 12. So you could say ministry was always an option that existed in my periphery. I was never closed or resistant to the idea, but I wasn’t too excited about it either. It wasn’t a passion.

I often got questions like, “Are you going to be a pastor, like your dad?” I’m thankful neither of my parents forced it on us or even communicated any expectations in that direction. They just expected us to honor God with our lives and follow His direction.

When I was 15, I became more active in our campus ministry. I had mentors like Crunchie Cervantes, Mel (Bong) Calingo, and, especially Rico Ricafort. They let us serve and experience what ministry was like. They corrected us when we were wrong, but gave us a chance to try again. They taught us to love God and love his people. They showed us how to read the Bible.

We would share our faith with people, lead Victory groups, plan events, lead volunteer teams, go on mission trips, etc. The more I tried it, the more exciting it became. Rico was this amazing guy who loved God, discipled others, and had fun. He made going into ministry such a great option for us.

At the same time, I’d go home and talk about my experiences with my dad. While he was careful not to push me into it prematurely, I really enjoyed our times to discuss the realities of ministry, not just the easy parts. Our talks helped prepare me for the challenges that going into vocational ministry would present.

Our old small group. We had a fascination with mafia movies also, hence the attempt at a mafia pic. All of us have since participated in some form of ministry and many became full-time ministers.

My passion grew to the point that I would serve in almost any capacity at our campus ministry over the weekends and use the weekdays (school days) to recuperate. By the time I graduated, I wanted to go into full-time ministry. Other professions are just as important and vital in God’s eyes, but I knew this was the one He wanted me to do. I shared this with my parents, Rico, and a few other trusted friends and mentors and they agreed. So in July 2004, I went into full-time campus ministry and I’ve been doing that since.

For those of you who are contemplating this decision, here are some questions that might be helpful to ask:

1. Do I want to this? If you don’t feel ANY passion for it at all, it’s probably not for you. Don’t worry about it. Find another vocation that excites that God-given passion inside you.

2. Have I counted the cost? Some people want to go into ministry because they see a narrow window of someone going onstage, or someone enjoying success. But just like any other profession, we can easily misjudge the discipline and sacrifice involved if we don’t take the time to count the cost. Vocational ministry involves sacrifice and hard work. It requires being willing to relate with people and lay your life for them, often with little appreciation or compensation. Be sure to factor that in to your decision-making process.

3. Do other people agree with my feelings? Or are they just my own imagination? This is not a calling that is done in isolation. We walk with other people as we do this. If we really are called by God into this vocation, then others – spiritual leaders, church authorities, parents (especially if they’re Christian) – will see and confirm this in us. If you don’t have anyone like that yet, try volunteering somewhere first to see if these are real desires from God or just fantasies.

4. The Million Dollar Question: Can I do anything else with my life and still be obedient to God’s call and fulfilled and satisfied? Meaning, is there anything else you can do besides this? Is there any profession, calling, job offer, that you can consider? Because if there is, go do that first. Ministry will always be there if you want to go back to it. But it’s better to enter without any sense of regret or “what ifs”

If you answered “no” to any of the first three or “yes” to the last, then maybe it isn’t the call for you, or it isn’t time yet. Don’t worry about that. Every vocation is from God and He honors us for our faith and not our jobs. Check out this blog to see what I mean.

If you answered “yes” to the first three and “no” to the last, then have fun! It’s a great ride – not easy, but super worth it.

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