Seeing Ministry Differently

Taking time to build lasting friendships

When we follow God, sometimes we have our own expectations of what God will do through us. This can sometimes cause us to put God in a box and feel like we aren’t being used at all, when in reality we are being used in a way we just didn’t expect.

When I came on staff at YWAM Tyler, I had visions of what working in Student Communications would look like. I knew I would talk to people about our Discipleship Training Schools, pray for people, and help people to be launched into missions. I was eager to talk to people and then see them come here and meet them in person. At first, that didn’t happen.

I talked to lots of people who weren’t interested. I left lots of voicemails that were never answered. I felt discouraged that I wasn’t seeing fruit.The Lord spoke to me and said that the work I was doing was like growing potatoes. You can’t see them while they are growing but when you dig them up you see the fruit. One day I called a girl, who I will call Nicole, who had expressed interest in our Discipleship Training School. She had an encounter with God, felt called into missions and she wanted to see if she should pursue our training.

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I was able to share a word with her that the Lord had put on my heart that morning. When I reached out to Nicole a couple weeks later, she said she didn’t feel like she was supposed to come now but wanted to stay in touch. I asked if I could call her once a month to check in, see how she was doing, and pray for her. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

We both looked forward to our chats, where she would update me on what God was teaching her, the ministries she was involved in at her college, and other things that were on her heart. I loved getting to share parts of my own journey with her as well. We talked a lot about my relationship with Nate, who was with my boyfriend then. I texted her when we got engaged, and kept her updated as we got married. She prayed for me as well in challenging seasons.

Nicole told me that she considers me a mentor and really appreciates my input, encouragement, and advice in her life. Even though we have never met in person, our friendship is something that was unexpected yet so wonderful. This wasn’t what I was thinking would come from my ministry in missions.

I never thought I would be discipling someone who lived across the country and didn’t even know in person. I never expected that I would walk with someone for over two years in this way. I could have easily said that I wasn’t being “fruitful” because ministry didn’t look the way I wanted it to. But when I took the time to do what God was calling me to, I can see that He is using me. God can use us however and whenever He wants to. He is so much bigger than the boxes we put Him in. When we walk in obedience to Him, He will use us in new, unexpected ways!

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Abby Bridgeman

Written by Abby Bridgeman

Abby is on staff at YWAM Tyler and works in the Student Communications department. She has a deep passion for the Lord, and you will often find her sporting her yellow crocs while frequenting her favorite place, the laundromat.

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