As many of you will know, I am currently living in London and training to be a children’s pastor with St Barnabas Church. This week’s blog is the story of how I got to this point.
I was involved in children’s and youth work within my home church since I was 16. Over the years I have grown as a leader, learnt loads and had my passion for children’s work ignited.
For a long while I have had my two career dreams. One of these was my realistic dream and that was to become a Graphic Designer, which I did in March 2008. My second dream I referred to as my unrealistic dream, and that was to work in a Christian environment doing children’s work. It was named ‘unrealistic’ as I didn’t really see a way I could achieve it.
Early on in 2009 I shared my unrealistic dream with a friend who has become one of my greatest influences. She told me to keep it whirring in the back of my mind and not to give up on it just yet. I was already living my realistic dream and was happy with that but not completely content and so I took the advice on board and kept hold of my unrealistic dream.
Over the course of the year God’s plans and purposes were mentioned a lot. Jer 29 v 11 says, ‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ This verse has always spoken volumes to me and it just kept appearing over and over throughout the year. I began to really pray about what my future would hold and I said to God that I would do whatever He wanted me to do. I didn’t get any instant revelation, or big neon signs telling me which way to go, in fact I got absolutely nothing but I kept on praying.
On 27th June 2010 I was on my way to church with 101 things on my mind as I was leading the service that morning. The thought ‘Becki, go to New Wine’ just randomly popped into my head! It was very odd as New Wine was most definitely the last thing I was thinking about. I pushed it to one side and refocused on getting to church and setting up for the morning. Just before the service began my pastors father-in-law approached me and said that he thought I should go to New Wine, but not as a delegate, he saw me in leadership. In my head I freaked out a little but I kept my cool on the outside and politely said that I hated camping but would maybe think about it.
During the service I acknowledge that God was clearly trying to get me to New Wine for some reason. I still wasn’t sure I wanted to go so I decided that if there were places available on the older kids team or on the youth team then I would go. You know what’s coming don’t you? Yes, sure enough I get home, visit the New Wine website and as the conference was only 3 weeks away at the time most of the teams are full, except Boulder Gang (10’s & 11’s) and Club One (12’s & 13’s) For a reason, completely unknown to me, God wanted me at New Wine and so I filled in an application form for Club One and hit ‘submit’. I then got horrible uneasy feelings that I had made a huge mistake about applying for Club One. I had picked youth over kids because I’ve had more experience with that age group but the ache I had in the pit of my heart suggested I needed to change teams. I rang New Wine and they changed my application over to Boulder Gang and it was like a weight had been lifted. So there I was, 3 weeks until the conference, heading for a children’s team, still with absolutely no idea why I was actually going.
New Wine was brilliant, amazing and awesome! I made some fantastic new friends and really enjoyed getting stuck in with the children’s work. I still had a sense that I had been sent for a reason but as the week went on I began to think that maybe God has just wanted me to go to have some fun, and there was nothing more to it than that. How wrong was I?
The day before we were coming home I was sat listening to a talk on choices and the future from one of the Team Pastors. We were then encouraged to sit and pray quietly. It was the end of an extremely tiring week and so I was power napping more than praying but as I sat with my legs crossed and hands held open, I felt someone take hold of my hands and whisper in an audible voice ‘Come and follow me’. It was God calling me into children’s work. The only way I can describe it is it was like a light bulb being switched on in my heart. A sudden realisation of what my purpose is and what my future held.
The word ‘internship’ had floated around quite a lot during the week I was at New Wine. I hadn’t really heard that word used in a church context before but I understood that it meant a church employed someone to come and work in a specific area of ministry where they would gain training. Again, I just knew that my light bulb moment and the word ‘internship’ fitted together.
I got home and was so excited to jump on my laptop and do some research into churches taking on interns. I was drawn to the New Wine website and the first post on the jobs section was a church in North London looking for a Trainee Children’s Pastor.
Let’s just say the rest is total history!
My friend was right to tell me to keep hold of that unrealistic dream because now the impossible is possible and I’m living that dream.
God has a plan for each and every one of us. It may be something really huge or it may be something that seems quite insignificant, but He has a plan. Our lives are in His hands and only good can come out of that.