I recently applied to graduate school and as with most collegiate and post graduate applications, I was asked to provide an application essay. For this particular school I was asked to write a recount of my conversion testimony to Christianity and to the Apostolic faith particularly. I have never really written out my experience and how it has morphed into where my life stands today. The other portion that I was asked to write on was my current involvement in my local church. This is not included to brag or make me look any better but it was written with the bias of of entrance essay. All of this being said, I did think that this essay would be something good to share as a blog.
I am a firm believer in two things. Jesus Christ and the fact that every person’s story is unique. There are similarities from story to story that we use to create boxes or groups to better understand the stories. But, at the core of it all are scores of individual and unique stories. Here is mine.
My conversion has been taking place over the better part of the last decade. And very well may be continuing on. I was born in the church and was raised in the Apostolic movement. I come from a family where multiple generations have been a part of the Apostolic movement. And while my grandmother experienced a miraculous and somewhat stereotypical conversion despite her heritage, I have not shared in that experience. I did not receive the revelation of Jesus Christ in an instant and then was immediately baptized. I did not receive the Holy Ghost at an in-home prayer meeting. I did not make the decision to persevere in the endeavor of the church in a single instant. Seemingly, God has not done anything quickly or instantly in my life. While none of these events have happened quickly they did in fact happen. I was baptized when I was 7 in a horse trough with cold water in a home missions storefront. I received the gift of the Holy Ghost when I was 9 when our Pastors father was visiting on a Sunday night. I did have responsibilities in the youth group when I was 15, 16, and 17 that gave me a taste of what it is like to do a work for God. My conversion may not have been quick, but it has been substantial. In addition, I believe that it is still happening. We claim to be Christians, or people who strive to be like Christ, and our conversion is that process of us becoming like Christ. I am fortunate and blessed to have had my entire life to embark on this process of conversion.
Since I was a teenager I have been involved in ministry in some way. I started by thinking that I could put scriptures up on the screens better than the person who was doing it. I later learned how and immersed myself in the world of visuals. Later on, I started learning about sound systems and how to operate those. By the time I was 15, my youth leader and I would completely set up for youth specific services by ourselves, and we were collaborating on the visuals and the sound for those services. 11 years later and God has blessed and allowed me to lead the audio/visual team of my current church. He has allowed me to learn how to teach and promote growth in the team. My current goal in this team is to help each team member to grow in some way. I am still not good at giving people the means and encouragement to grow, but starting any new skill takes time to hone. I have found that learning to assist people is like when I started designing visuals. The progress was slow when I first started, and the product was oftentimes quite terrible. Today the product is considerably more appealing because I have put more focus and effort into developing the skill.
I desire to see people walk along this path of conversion and develop their own unique story. To take it a step further, I hope to be able to assist these people. I want to be able to teach them how to walk along this path and how to do so effectively. My Pastors through the years have showed by example how to live this life. I envision, especially in my local church, building classes and writing material that is geared to giving those who wish to grow the means and the knowledge to do so. Each of these classes will be built on the work and example of my Pastor. Over the past several years I have been helping to teach discipleship classes in our church. We are even starting to build some of these additional classes and it is incredibly exciting to see people make the commitment and begin their own personal stories of conversion.
I have come to the point in my conversion that I want to start focusing on others. I want to help the hurting find healing. To help them find resolution in their relationships. I want those that are under attack to be able to strengthen themselves in Christ and fight in defense of their families. Fight in defense of their spiritual well-being. Fight in defense of their mental health. I strive to point every person to Jesus and continue this process of growth that has been my conversion experience.