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Ministry Update

Here’s a little update about what’s going on in the life of Ryan and Lindsey Akers.

Yesterday, at the end of our morning worship service, I announced my resignation from First Bible Free Will Baptist Church to the congregation. I would have never imagined doing that when I first came.

When I first came to the church in May 2008, I left college and knew how ministry was supposed to be done. But, like all people who enter the workforce, you learn that college and reality are very different things. After learning youth ministry in a way that focused on families, I was thrown into the midst of a community where about 80% of our students came from non-traditional homes. Grandparents, single-parents, divorces – you name it, we had it. That really rocked my world, as I had my ideal, and suddenly everything had to change from the way that I thought it should have been.

Throughout the past two years I’ve learned a lot. I’ve laughed a lot. I’ve cried a lot. My heart has been softened and I have become a very different person.

I have learned most of all how to study. I have learned how to immerse myself in the Scriptures that I will be teaching to the point that it just oozes out of me. On Saturday, as Lindsey and I sat and talked to a dear couple in our church about what would be taking place on Sunday, the husband spoke to me and it meant tons, for he is a man of few words. But he said, “You’re a very capable speaker…” When I first came, I had no confidence in my speaking ability, but now, I recognize it takes hours of preparation and soaking of the Scriptures.

When I look at my students, it hurts. It truly hurts. As I was reading my letter, I looked out into the crowd and connected with one of my girls. Her face was scrunched up, red, and she was crying. It about ripped my heart out.

For a while, I wondered if there would be tears. I had questioned, “How much have I really accomplished at this church?” The past few days, I feel that God simply said, “You don’t know how far reaching My power goes through the work that you have done…”

Simply put, this change in ministry that is about to take place, has been a wild adventure.

On January 12, 2010, I received a phone call. I only remember this date because that was the day that the earthquake hit Haiti, and anyone who knows me knows that my mind was on Haiti. I treated this phone call as I have every other job opportunity from the past year that I have received (around 6). I said, “Yeah, we’ll pray about it…” and then I intended on just stuffing it into a drawer in my mind, pulling it out to pray, and retiring here in New Castle.

For the next 5 weeks or so, I did just that, but around February 20, God pulled out the drawer and said, “Hey, look at this again…” Lindsey and I had our Valentine’s weekend away, so on the way to Dayton, OH we talked about it. I told her, “I think I should just submit a resume to say to God, ‘I am willing to go wherever you want, even if I don’t want to go.'” For the longest time, I would get back from runs and just look around the neighborhood and think to myself, “I WANT to be in this town!” I didn’t want to leave. That messed up my plans to minister in a place I was now familiar with. It messed up my plans to have a church that I could help build up a youth ministry. It just didn’t fit in with my plans.

So, I submitted my resume, and it hurt me. I walked out of the post-office, and on the way back to my office at church, I had tears in my eyes and my heart hurt. I felt like I was cheating on my church. I felt horrible. But I still prayed, “God, whatever you want from us…”

Over the next few weeks, there were phone calls and a meeting. Then, it happened. God just began dealing saying, “Keep pursuing this…” The more we pursued, the more clear it became that God was calling us to minister at Calvary Fellowship Church in Fenton, Missouri. This confused me at the beginning. Why would God call me to a different geographical location in order to do the EXACT same thing that I was doing 5.5 hours to the east? Why would that happen? What’s the point?

While I don’t know what the purpose is, I do know that Lindsey and I have listened to the voice of God and have been sensitive to His will. It has been a growing experience for us. I’ve made spiritual decisions, but I’ve never fought spiritual decisions quite like this one. I’ve never had to make such a big decision where I know that it is so important to be in God’s Will. And suddenly, after months of silence from God (or so it seemed), I stand secure in the fact that my life is about to change drastically. I stand, even though it is such a painful experience to know that teenagers and adults are hurting because Lindsey and I will be leaving on June 4. I stand secure, because I feel that I have sought God’s will so strongly.

Honestly, I’m a bit ticked at people who have thrown around that whole saying so many times just as a cop out. “Well, it’s God’s will…” No one can argue with that. And so I know that there are skeptics, and those are the people who have probably been burned in the past by people calling something God’s Will. But I stand. I stand in God’s Will. I stand rejoicing.

Throughout the past couple of weeks, these verses have been heavy on my mind:

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Lindsey and I prayed. We prayed hard. We prayed about this job before we ever knew we were. In fact, since last June, one month after we were married, we laid in bed before sleeping and just prayed a simple prayer – “God guide us…” Since last June, that has been a very regular prayer in our lives. So, it seemed as though God was silent for a long period of time. There are so many more details that go on in this story, such as the other job offers, and the fact that Lindsey and I were about 95% sure we would be moving to Denver, Colorado with some of our best friends to help plant a church, but God was “silent” in all of those prayers.

But, we continued to pray. We continued to plead to God. And now, I stand. I stand firm. Because I have the peace of God. Even though none of this makes sense of how great of a change that has come about in our life in the past month, I have the peace of God. I don’t understand why God was blessing us financially, in our ministry, in our friendships, or at all, but I do have the peace of God. And that blows my mind.

Be in prayer for us. This last month will be tough. I love this church. I love my kids. I love the teens. People are hurting. People are excited. People are confused.

One thing I do know, I will continue to seek God, because even when it seems as though nothing else makes sense, it always will in the end.

  1. May 3, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Leaving a ministry position is never easy. Often people assume they “did” something wrong, or we are simply motivated by our dislike of our current position. More times than not, there is nothing further from the truth.

    However, the Bible is a historical example that God calls us away from places in need of ministry and into places also in need of ministry. It wasn’t like Tarshish was 100% saved! It’s just not the place God wanted Jonah. 😉

    Sounds like you and Lindsey have listened for the voice of God, and pursued that voice, even when you would rather not have. Rest in that.

    His love does not demand that we always get it right. Merely that we always respond in obedience to the voice we believe is calling us.

    Praying with you guys!

  2. Alan
    May 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    We’ve been praying for you nonstop, and we’re glad God is speaking. I know God will bless your ministry mightily, and I am excited for the ministry of Calvary Fellowship. They’ve just recently received a phenomenal pastor, and now they have the best youth pastor I can think of. Be excited, because from the outside looking in, it seems as if God is placing you and Lindsey there to do something breathtaking for His glory.

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