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Longing For August

July 24, 2010 1 comment

I’m pretty sure that summer is a time that all youth pastors love. Why? Because it brings about events. Tons of events. There’s always something to do. In fact, there’s usually too much to do.

For me, it seems that each of the past three summers I have been serving as a student pastor, August brings peace.

It has been a LONG time since I have posted anything here. Why? Because life has been so busy.

Lindsey and I made our big move on June 5 to Missouri in the St. Louis area. I am now the student pastor at Calvary Fellowship FWB Church in Fenton, Missouri. Everything has really fallen into place for our move. I ask that you continue to be praying for lindsey as she is seeking to find a job.

Since that time, we’ve had VBS, a family vacation, a National Convention for Free Will Baptists, and tomorrow begins half a week of camp and half a week with my new teens on their missions trip to downtown St. Louis.

Thus, I am longing for August. At August, life “slows down.” By slows down, I mean that I am no longer gone for weeks at a time. Until September 3, I am at home. At that point, I will be returning to Haiti for my 4th trip in, and the first trip following the January earthquake.

In the meantime, I have been appointed to take hold of the children’s home and become the director of support. Basically, my job has not changed within the mission – I just now have a title. Thus, in September, I will be heading in for VBS with the agenda to make sure I can have all of the correct information on our students.

In addition, I’m overjoyed because some of our close friends have finally made it to the mission field where they are planting a church in the Denver area. We prayed very hard about joining them, but for some reason God closed that door. We stand 100% behind them and cannot wait to partner with them in ministry in the future.

For now, I quit, because it’s an update and that’s it.

Within the next week, I’ll post a seminar that I led at my recent convention, as well as a study idea I have about missions and youth groups.

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Categories: About me

Ministry Update

May 3, 2010 2 comments

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.

Neglect

March 9, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve totally been neglecting this blog since 2010 hit. I actually had all intentions to regularly update and was good for the first two weeks of 2010, but then the earthquake in Haiti happened and I spent the next 7 weeks updating my other blog – Run 4 Haiti. Nonetheless, I feel as though I am back.

For a brief update, without actually going in-depth to something super duper deep, I just have to share what has been going on lately.

I’ve been busy.

That’s really it. With Haiti, church, etc., life has been busy.

This past Sunday night I had the chance to speak to our congregation since my pastor was out of town. It was a complete honor to be able to share what I have been doing lately with the teens regarding the church. And honestly, I feel as though I finally hit a new level of my speaking ability, as the words, the thoughts, etc. just really flowed. Look for a final update in the next few days regarding my studies in the church.

Presently, I am reading “The Faith” by Chuck Colson and I am enjoying it. From an apologetic standpoint, it is a very good book, especially for someone with some basic questions/objections of Christianity. Look for that review as soon as I finish it (hopefully this weekend.)

Other than that, I ask that you remember my ministry with Mountain Faith Mission of Haiti. Things have stayed quiet lately without any teams in, but honestly, I am hoping that is a good thing.

Debt-Freedom

February 3, 2010 2 comments

In December 2005, I hit a low spot in my life. I wrecked my car on I-65 in Nashville, TN in morning rush-hour traffic on my way back from early morning work before class. It did no damage to the other car, but it did plenty to mine. As in, an accordion.

Since then, I began to focus more on my finances. I became an avid Dave Ramsey listener. My family was a very financially focused family growing up – not in the sense of get and get and get, but “Let’s make smart decisions because this is best for our family and as stewards of God’s money.” I hated it at the time. I mean, in third grade, I knew what a budget was.  I also knew that I didn’t like a budget because it kept me from doing as much stuff as friends. Our family though, in no way suffered. We were blessed. My father worked and my mother stayed at home with my brother and I. We had plenty and never a worry.

As I entered college, I worked some. But, I wasn’t a fan of work because it removed me from socializing. And it was hard. I worked at FedEx Ground for about 8 months and began training to be a manager. So I quit, because I hated the hours. I picked up a job through the local YMCA where I worked after-school care. It was a $2/hr decrease in pay, as well as about an 8-10 hour a week decrease. But, the hours were better because I was back on campus by 6:30 pm and could hang out. That was until i wrecked my car.

I remember sitting down and talking with a man in the church I was attending who was great with finances. He, like my parents had followed the Dave Ramsey plan and succeeded. He liked me and sat down to look at my situation. When he put it on paper, it looked something like this: Read more…

2009 Recap

January 5, 2010 Leave a comment

2009 was a good year.

Jan-April flew by.

May was a blur.  This thing happened where I got married.

Life slowed in June.

July I was gone almost every week.

August wasn’t much better. That’s when I went to Haiti.

September I started my reading kick.

October-December flew by.

Overall, from a ministry standpoint, I am satisfied. I’ve seen a lot of growth in some of my students. I see lights going on and people getting it. I feel like I matured and grew up a bit as I realized that things aren’t always peachy and awesome in ministry, and that sometimes, the worst part about ministry are the Christians. (Well, it’s the truth.)

From a reading standpoint:

  1. Your First Two Years of Youth Ministry by Doug Fields
  2. Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
  3. One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven by Mark Cahill
  4. What’s So Great About Christianity by Dinesh D’Souza
  5. Serious Times by James Emery White
  6. Crazy Love by Francis Chan*
  7. I ❤ Mormons by David L. Rowe
  8. Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  9. Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne
  10. The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose
  11. Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris
  12. Once A Runner by John L. Parker, Jr.
  13. Forgotten God by Francis Chan
  14. The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns
  15. Basic Christianity by John Stott
  16. I Would Die For You by The Higgins Family
  17. Turning Points by Mark A. Noll

* Crazy Love could easily be the most influential book that I have ever read.

I don’t really have a goal for 2010 as far as reading goes, other than to simply read more. I’m over halfway through with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship and hope to finish it within the next week. After that, I don’t know what I’ll move on to. I’m pretty worn out, because the final 16 books on that list were read between September 17-December 31. Overkill?  Maybe.

Like Run 4 Haiti – here’s to hoping for more than one update a week.

Categories: About me

Lost

November 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Sometimes, you just feel lost in ministry.  Not lost in the sense that you don’t know where you’re going.  I mean, I know where I am going in my ministry.  I feel like I have a great future plan of discipleship and ministry. But, sometimes, I just feel lost.

Sometimes, it seems as though even though many of the pieces are put together in the puzzle, there’s that one little piece that can’t be found because when you were eleven, your brother and you got in a fight with them and accidently threw it behind the couch where it was lost forever.  By that, I mean, some days you just feel incomplete.

I know that no ministry is perfect, but some days, there are emptiness.  Some days there are pains.  Some days there is confusion.  Some days there is frustration.  This is all part of the ministry experience.

I have a unique personality.  I like to be in control.  Many people first meet me and don’t think of me as an extrovert, but once someone gets to know me…they wish I was an introvert. 

This is simply ramblings.  On a night I feel lost.  I’m greatly encouraged.  I’m not doubting my calling.  I’m not ready to jump ship.  I just feel lost.

But I know that when you’re lost…you always get found when you seek God.

Categories: About me

The Bible in 90 Days

June 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Well I got hitched and now I feel like a real youth pastor.  This past week we had a yard sale on Monday, Friday, and Saturday, and bought and delivered Krispy Kreme’s for our fundraising for our missions trip to Pittsburgh next month.  If I counted hours, it’d exceed 70 hours easily.  And what was the greatest was the fact that I loved being busy.  My wife is a great help.

So, for the summer, we’re starting a program called “The Bible in 90 Days”.  It’s pretty simple to understand.  You read the Bible in 90 days.  I’m excited about it because some of the youth group has jumped on board and will be joining Lindsey and I.  Today’s reading is the first 16 chapters of Genesis.  

As I read, I am keeping notes of interesting things.  I’m pretty excited and will definitely be updating how it is going and how the youth are responding to the challenge.

In other news, I have begun a new book called “No Perfect People Allowed.”  I make it my aim to finish this book soon and I’ll definitely post a review.  It is a very interesting book, and thus far, I have been very impressed.

Anyways, I suppose it’s back to the old  blog to update and post.

Categories: About me