I was not completely certain if pastoral ministry was for me. In my mind, there are many ways to use my pastoral degree: start a Bible training school, volunteer in a ministry, do evangelism in a professional field, or pastor a church. However, if I have learned anything, I’ve learned one thing in my journey with God—to always be willing to be led by God WHEREVER He takes you.
God used C.A.M.P.U.S. Residency & Fellowship program to show me where I need to be. Just a little background, even though I was in the C.A.M.P.U.S. Residency program, I was never 100% sure that God has called me specifically to pastoral work. One day, I was reading Pastoral Ministry with one goal in mind—I hope this book will answer my question, “How can I be sure that God wants me to serve in pastoral ministry?” And I came across this quote:
“Those who are about to enter upon the sacred work of teaching Bible truth to the world should be carefully examined by faithful, experienced persons. … They selected the men whom their judgment would accept, and then they placed them before the Lord to see if He would accept them to go forth as His representatives. No less than this should be done now.” Pastoral Ministry, 44
So, my conclusion was that I need to be examined by experienced ministers, and I need their endorsement as well. I prayed over that quote and asked for His guidance. As time passed, I forgot about the prayer and began my Fellowship program with C.A.M.P.U.S.
Then one day I was contemplating Pastoral Ministry a lot and had a dream that went something like this. I was organizing AY for my church back in Indonesia and had invited a pastor to preach. He used to be the Dean at my college. Afterwards he said, “Hey, Grady. I think they are going to hire you as a pastor. It’s nothing official yet, but it seems like the brethren are moving forward with it.” In my dream I was surprised but was then interviewed by pastor-friend for a pastoral position. At this point I woke up and thought, “Wow, that was kinda interesting. Never had a dream like that before.”
The same morning, I checked my phone and there was a text from a pastor I never met before inviting me to be his assistant pastor. He introduced himself and then said, “You have been referred to me by a few of my colleagues. Would you be interested to be an Associate Pastor at my church?”
I thought “What a timing! But at the same time, I wondered, “Who are his colleagues?” Providentially, the colleagues were actually my former professors who are currently pastoring in North America; I highly respect both as experienced ministers. This led me to remember the prayer I prayed awhile back. It was like God speaking to me directly. “Isn’t this what you’ve been praying for? Endorsement from experienced ministers?”
I’m not the person who trusts dream that much. However, I do believe in providential leadings like this. God met the requirements that I’ve read from Pastoral Ministry. He met me where I was. And I realized that He had orchestrated everything in a perfect timing.
In August, Eva and I accepted the call to pastor the Gladwin and Marion churches. As I reflect on how God has led, I also realize this would not have happened without the support, encouragement, and endorsement that I’ve received from CAMPUS.
“God has spoken, and His servant must obey; the happiest place on earth for him was the place where God would have him to be.” PP 126.3
Andrew Park is no stranger to Public Campus Ministry. He has served as a CAMPUS scholar, public campus missionary in Hong Kong, and as a CAMPUS fellow. While fulfilling his one-year internship in packaging, he did not feel fulfilled in his professional role, his one desire was to reach his co-workers.
God opened the door for him to serve as a missionary in Hong Kong after he graduated. While in Hong Kong, a call came for him to serve as the GYC president. When considering this position, he knew it would change his professional trajectory. The time commitment as a GYC president would make it very difficult to work in a professional setting. He prayerfully accepted and came to work with CAMPUS full-time as a fellow.
In the spring of 2021, God began to open doors for Andrew to consider serving in pastor ministry for the Michigan Conference. The official call came to serve in the Vassar and Bay City churches. As Andrew reflected on how God had led him in the past, he knew God was redirecting to pastoral ministry, and he accepted the call.
Here is his reflection, “God may not make things clear immediately, but as He opens doors of providence and we walk through it, He will reveal His will according to His own time and method. Lastly, He knows where we will be of the greatest good according to the capabilities He’s given us – we need to trust Him step by step, even if it’s not what we would have originally envisioned for ourselves.”
God has used Andrew in a mighty way to reach the students at Michigan State University, as well as the friends of the University Church in East Lansing. He and his wife Nichole are missed, but God is so faithful to led them to where He needs them at this time in salvation’s history. Please keep them in prayer as they transition. They are not too far from Saginaw Valley State University.
When considering the next call that God may be making in your life, know that even if the story that unfolds is not what we would have originally envisioned for yourself, because He is the best Author. He has a way of writing the most beautiful stories and you can trust Him in the process.
Traveling to college at the beginning of the year has its own adventure, and traveling to nine hours to Michigan Tech has a way of building endurance. In the case for Marcus, he had a story to tell that is still being written. Listen as he shares below of God’s providence with his 1987 Dodge Raider.
Gabrielle Umana shares how touched her life through a small group study while attending the University of Michigan. Her candid and sincere testimony will inspire you to trust God and wait on him to give you deliverance in times of trouble.
You might be tossing around that ‘term’ in your head and thinking “Hm, I haven’t heard of that in a while.” In fact, you may not have seen a young adult in your church before the Divine Service since the last time the sweet ladies at church served breakfast. We are known for skipping. You don’t have to rub it in, we’re guilty. And yes, I have lived up to your low expectation. I was a delinquent Sabbath Schooler.
Since entering young adulthood, Sabbath School has never held much intrigue. I felt that most churches did not see its purpose and invested little to nothing in it, and frankly, neither did I. Going away to college, I quickly fell into the habit of being a regular Sabbath School absentee.
As the pandemic broke last spring and everyone was booted out of normalcy, like most other extroverted people in the world, I realized what a great loss this was to community and started searching for long-lost means for creating it. God came through in a most unexpected way. A well-meaning but annoying friend (annoying, that is, because she knew I was not a Sabbath School fan) was convinced that she and I must start a Zoom Sabbath School class. I was not in the least interested.
After reluctantly and barely participating for a couple of weeks, I was dragged further into what I meant to be a theoretical discussion on how to advance the potential of this Zoom class. That discussion quickly changed into a practical and joint execution. My friend and I started brainstorming about the fundamental elements and goals for a Sabbath School, considering resources that could actively plug the growing number of participants into the Word, and ways to build a space for Christ-centered friendship. If we were going to invest in this class, make people wake up and be present early on a Sabbath morning, it must be worthwhile. We wanted a Bible study that could keep us all on the same page, yet something with ample space to dive directly and actively into the Word. The topics needed to be straightforwardly relevant to our currently off-kilter lives. The newly minted General Conference InVerse Bible lessons were the perfect fit.
From March through the entire summer, there was a consistent, large, and geographically diverse Sabbath School group made of Adventist and non-Adventist students and young professionals alike. Being a part of this class I began to see the potential of what a young adult Sabbath School community, digging into the Word could produce. Organically, a vibrant Bible-centered community was birthed and each person was fully engaged and practically challenged.
Fast forward to August. The first weekend I arrived at CAMPUS in East Lansing, I attended my final Zoom young adult class. I had not realized how much my heart had been changed to love and value Sabbath School, and now found myself eager to engage in the Sabbath School in this new community. To my surprise, however, I found that the University Church did not currently have a young adult class. It did not take long for one of the CAMPUS fellows, Grady Yonas, and I to put our heads together, pray, and seek the steps necessary to start a safe, in-person young adult class.
Throughout the last eight months, the young adult class has been running, mostly in-person, but for phases of time on Zoom during holidays and lockdowns. There have been lulls and highs, but overall the class has experienced more consistency than I could have expected. There are non-Adventist young adults who come and participate— some who only come to church for Sabbath School and have only stepped into the Divine Service twice. In fact, the commitment has been the highest among those without an Adventist background.
The fundamental goals for this class have been similar to but further built upon what was done over Zoom. Our goals have been to maintain a discussion-based Bible study in which each person is engaged. Engagement is not based on whether a person has previously studied the Sabbath School lesson or not, but a study in which we together learn practical hermeneutical approaches to the Bible and walk away with not only theoretical but applicable lessons. In addition to Bible study, it has been our goal to see those who study together grow closer as a spiritual community that goes outside of the Sabbath School hour. Though every goal has not been reached perfectly, as leaders, we constantly and prayerfully reevaluate to further grow.
Personally, being a facilitator for this Sabbath School class has challenged my spiritual commitment and deepened my passion for studying the Word within community— not relying on someone’s pre-chewed exposition of the Word but digging into it, learning directly from the text and discovering together. By the kindness of God, He has taken me from being a dispassionate Sabbath schooler and has made me useful in a most unlikely area of His work.