Why I Left Teaching to Work in Youth Ministry | YWAM Newcastle

Growing up I learned the concept of how we can be ‘on mission’ no matter our career.

Whether as a teacher, a chef or a swim instructor, we really can share the love and truth of Jesus in our workplaces. This is because evangelism and discipleship translates into each sphere of society.

And although inspired by missionary biographies, I, myself, never seriously considered a life in full-time ministry or missions.

I lived out my faith through a ‘typical’ job.

Starting in early high school, a plan began to formulate in my mind. Through various jobs, I recognised my love for working with children and youth. It felt natural. I had a passion for it.

With this awareness, I determined that a job in teaching would be the most obvious and fulfilling way to operate in my passion and share my faith. I moved in that trajectory by studying primary education.

After completing my degree, I moved to Guatemala and taught at an international school.

I had incredible freedom to share my faith with my students and to encourage both their academic and spiritual growth. During my second year of teaching, God arrested my attention and paused me on the path I was on and, I joined a YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS) for 6 months instead.

Midway through the DTS God spoke to me through Ezekiel 3.

In this chapter, God affirms His call on Ezekiel’s life to be a prophet to the Israelites.

God expresses that Ezekiel’s work is to speak the word of the Lord to His people, ‘Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me’ [Ezekiel 3:17].

God shared with me a call that He has on my life — to bring His words to young people.

Just as God had sent Ezekiel to his own people; God was sending me to young people.

In the same chapter, God places an emphasis on how the Israelites will be transformed. It was not Ezekiel’s responsibility to bring about heart change within the people.

Rather God called him to simple obedience; ‘Say the words I give you.’

In the same way, God shared with me that while I am called to young people — I am not the one bringing the transformation. He is.

I am simply a messenger of the Good News.

With this call to young people, God brought a theme into focus — full-time youth ministry.

During an international outreach of DTS, I was involved in a few youth programs; in Sri Lanka our team supported a surf ministry for young women and in Thailand, we taught English in a juvenile detention centre.

It was upon returning home to the US that I stepped into a part-time position; leading the youth group at my church.

While in some ways challenging, I was pushed into a deeper relationship with the Father.

To seek Him for wisdom and direction. To partner with Him in planning. To deepen my love for the Word as I prepared for teachings.

Within the year of finishing my DTS, I felt God’s leading and my own growing desire — and from there, I jumped into a full-time youth ministry role with YWAM.

In the journey from full-time teaching to full-time youth ministry, I felt God teaching me this: while I can be missional in any workplace, He was calling me to missions as my workplace.

Is missions for me?

Yes! And it could be for you.

3 min read
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