A Tale of Passion vs. Calling
This is a brief synopsis of my call and my passion and how I discerned between the two.
In my first college, SUNY Cortland, I felt called to enter youth ministry. I attempted to tell one pastor who was too busy trying to tell me all about the hazards of college. But my youth pastor at college found my giftings and we discussed this.
I chose to stop attending Cortland as they did not have a degree which I felt would help me be the best youth pastor I could be. I chose to pursue social work.
Unlike many other people I know (especially some who chose youth ministry), I found that I have a passion for helping people of all different walks of life and all different stages of their life-spans. In other words, as a social worker I can engage people regardless of age with empathy and compassion. I’ve done so in many fields including serving those with developmental disabilities, mental illness, pediatric and now adult hospice. I have a knack for putting things together, counseling, problem solving and team building that social workers need to thrive. I want to keep these things vital in my personal and professional life.
I rediscovered my calling by getting a part time job at a church in Maine as I worked two other social work jobs. See, even though I was a crisis counselor and an adult mental health case manager I found myself wanting to pour more and more time and energy into my Director of Christian Education job at my church.
I realized that no matter how hard I tried I could never satisfy these two masters and I sought out how to pursue vocational youth ministry while fully utilizing my gifting that was honed as a clinical social worker. My heart is in social work, but I’d be missing out on so much more if I wasn’t in full time ministry.
I now have tons of field and life experience to pour into vocational youth and family ministry. I realize that youth ministry is much more than dodgeball and much more than babysitting youth but rather fortifying families though a ministry of encouragement and equipping them with the practical tools I’ve found in social work along with the Good News of Christ.