The Moment When I Was Called To Ministry
After twenty years, I was excited to meet with my old-time school mate, Karen. We were enjoying a sip of coffee at Mundane’s Restaurant and Bar one Friday evening reminiscing on our times growing up. Karen asked, “Madelene, how did you know you are called to ministry?” I smiled and tried to explain that my cup of gladness is most full when I am helping people become more aware of God’s presence in their lives to fulfil their calling. This might happen in the context of leading a worship service, preaching a sermon, mentoring, teaching or facilitating a prayer group. Just as often, encountering God happens in the ordinary, everyday, mundane tasks and activities of life and becoming aware of God’s presence in our lives is a lifelong exercise in learning to see and understanding my call to ministry.
From an early age, when I accepted Christ as Savior, I had a strong sense that my life would be about Jesus. I believe that was God’s first call (small c) on my life—to follow him. As I grew in my faith, there was a growing awareness within that God was Calling (capital C) me into much more. Throughout different seasons in life, I can recall several godly persons who affirmed this in me.
I felt irresistibly drawn to God and as a child, I was compelled to read my Bible and pray every day—I did with little or no understanding why or how it should be done. My journey to this revelation was long and filled with great struggles. I recalled having dreams from five years, which spoke to the cause of issues within the family, events to come (all manifested) and a great part were related spiritual warfare. Surprisingly, I was able to understand their meanings and helped others interpret their dreams. At times, I would speak things and they would come to past. Strong instincts to persons motives: discernment. As a result of these unexplainable abilities, I struggled with strong attacks both physically and spiritually from those operating under the spirit of Jezebel even within the body of Christ. I remember wondering: how God intended to use such a variety of seemingly strange and unrelated experiences to direct my path. Even though my relatives always said to me, “God is calling you into ministry from a young age, Maddie get ready.” I would just laugh and dismiss the topic. When things got hard, I mean really hard, I felt disillusioned and disqualified. Little did I realize; he was doing much more than leading me to a role or destination. God was (and still is) radically transforming and preparing me to be able to recognize and fulfill what he has called me to.
During school years, I realized that children and older folks would always seek my advice on personal matters in their lives. They would comment on the advices given as ones filled with such wisdom and knowledge as if I had experienced the same. I recalled attending many services, where I would be identified in the congregation and prophesied to in relation to my calling which stood as confirmation to dreams and visions received prior to those meetings. A pivotal point in my life was when I began to recognize that God’s purpose for me was so much more about my identity in Christ rather than what was happening. Embracing this reality brought incredible freedom and peace. Don’t get me wrong, this continues to be a process—but one filled with much more joy and less frustration. Now that I am older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I can connect the dots and am often stunned by God’s wisdom, patience, strategies and redemptive power.
By the age of twenty-one years, I was convinced that I was called to ministry. It was a Thursday evening, sitting in the backyard conversing with God while admiring the birds flying around and the ants hustling with food to their nests. I heard the voice of God calling me. I looked around, no one was there, I heard it again, I began to denounce the spirit, which was my conclusion of such sound. Then, I heard the voice said, “I am your God, whom you are speaking with, fear not” Fear, immediately disappeared and I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and joy at the same time. He added, “I have chosen you; you are anointed for great work in my kingdom.” I wrote the words down and pondered on them by researching the possible meanings through the scriptures. It did not happen overnight. I began studying the lives of Joseph, David and Moses to name a few.
Shortly after, opportunities were created for me to serve in the Kingdom: example cleaning the church. My vision grew as I accepted the call to ministry and began seeing myself serving in other areas. I engaged in more prayer and fasting. Then one day, the pastor of the church I attended said to me, “you are worshipper, I would like you to assist with worship.” Karen, honestly, I was concerned because I was not able sing as those involved in worship and I had serious allergies issues. However, I prayed and accepted. I joined as a backup for years, until an opportunity was created to lead a session. During that session, I felt the anointing of God all over me, which felt like fire all over my body. The first time I felt such was when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire by speaking in tongues and feeling my hands and feet getting really hot for a long time. Thereafter, every time I pray or worship, I would feel my hands getting really hot. Karen, first time at that church, demons manifested during worship and a lady testified of receiving healing from a serious pain she was having in her legs. The Holy Spirit empowered me to serve during the worship session. Convincingly I can say, I am passionate about worship and leading worship but hindered by voice issues damage from allergies. As a result, I take pleasure in praying for worshippers. Another occasion: I recalled having a dream that I was leading a group of women. A few months later, I was appointed vice-president of the Ladies Ministry, where I served for years before becoming the President. More opportunities were created such as: to teach, preach, mentor etc, most started with me assisting the leader. According to Jousha Medcalf, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Reflecting now, truly they were humbling experiences, from which I gained a wealth of knowledge and sharpened my abilities. Also, developed strategic strategies for identifying the needs both physically and spiritually within the group.
In June, 2001, Apostle Dr. Kenneth Lewis, my mentor said to me “When the roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind.” He and his wife provided spiritual guidance and moral support. They furnished me with many books and challenged me to read them by providing a summary sharing my understanding on each chapter. They were on leadership, spiritual warfare, worship and prayer among others. One of my favorite books on leadership was by Patrick Lencioni “The Five Dysfunctions of Team”. He would set time every week for us to meet and discuss the Word and pray. Apostle Dr. Lewis would always say to me even though he knew I would shy away from his comments, “Sis. Madelene, you are a unique blessing to the Body of Christ. There is so much in you, get ready to serve in the Kingdom as a Minister.”
Karen, honestly, I still shy away from it but I know I am called to Ministry to serve in multiple areas such as Intercession, Counselling, Teaching. I love listening to and companioning others in their walks with God as they explore their own passions and helping them to see where God is at work in their lives and in the world around us. I enjoy helping them discern how the Holy Spirit is prompting them to use their gifts and graces. Above all, I enjoy seeing persons receive their healing and deliverance.
Karen, the conclusion of the matter is that I am a believer created in the image of God as a personality with a behaviorial approach to life, called to the Ministry as a disciple…a leader and an agent of spiritual change according to Paul L. Walker in “Learning the Practices of Ministry”. In an effort to fulfill this, I embrace Paul’s advice to Timothy in 1Timothy 2:15 and ensure that I am led by the Holy Spirit for by this I know I am a daughter of God based on Romans 8 vs 14,16. The Holy Spirit continues to minister to me through dreams and visions about assignments and downloads the strategies. This call to ministry has been confirmed by many leaders and members within the Body of Christ and community.
Walker, P. L. (200). Learning the Practice of Ministry. Cleveland Tennessee: Liturgical Press.