I wrote this excerpt two years ago.
The fruit of my colleague moved me so much so that I began to deeply discern the fruits which God wills for me to bear.
Feeling the call to ministry, I began to explore theological training schools. Many institutions had a powerful Spiritual presence, but only one felt like home: Duke Divinity School. I thought it important in my discernment process to also involve what felt like home to my wife as well. After all, clergy-spouses are just as much pastors as those employed by the church. She also experienced a warm and cozy feeling in this place of worship. What's more, Durham (where Duke is based), is much closer to my step-son's biological father, from my wife's previous marriage, than where we used to live. As perfect as Duke had seemed for my calling and my family dynamic, I faced another challenge for God's ministry at this great place of study. That is, I needed to be accepted to this great place of study. My obstacle was my grade point average (GPA) from my undergraduate education in 2008. Over a decade ago, my GPA had suffered from my schedule as a student athlete, but, admittedly, it also suffered because academics was not a priority in that season of my life. All that to say, my academic history was, in reality, too low for application to Duke, but God prevails and I was encouraged to apply. Praise be to God, I was accepted!
Observing this as a true sign of God's grace in my life, I was and am still a weak vessel. At times I am vulnerable to the voice of the Enemy, which whispers how I'm not called and that God offers me no grace. Thus, a place of study and a standard pursuit of a degree, at Duke, was not going to be enough for me to stay with my calling. I needed to live my calling, right then. So I began to apply for student pastoring roles within the United Methodist Church.
Currently, I am learning, worshiping, and also practicing my faith in leadership at two churches. In my calling at these churches, God has been more confirming than ever!
At our little country churches, the Kingdom of God is very much on earth as it is heaven. We invite you to join us for worship (in person, preferably, or digitally via live feed).
May God bless you and keep you. May God's face shine upon you. Amen!
Pastor Ian Bailey
To learn more about Ian and the churches where he pastors, you can visit the links below.