I remember feeling a calling to the ministry as a young boy growing up in the Catholic Church. In third grade, I was preparing to receive my communion for the first time. I took this very seriously; it was a big deal.
Leading up to this time, I recall being picked on and teased for my faith. “Kyle is going to be the priest of the family,” I heard. Even though I was teased, I found a love for God’s church. However, due to unfortunate circumstances, my family stopped going to church before I started high school.
This was the beginning of some very dark years for me. During my high school years, I was involved with the wrong group of friends, my family relationships were distant, I did not care about my studies, and I had little to no relationship with God.
In my early college years, I met Alicia, who later became my wife. Alicia told me more about Jesus than I had ever known before. This also led me to have my first interaction at Franconia (PA) Mennonite Church, where I felt a real sense of welcome and community.
During the Good Friday service in 2015 at Franconia Church, I heard the voice of God. God told me, “This is where I want you; this is where you will raise your family. This is where you belong.” This was the first time I heard the audible voice of God, and I have desired to be obedient to his calling for me to be at Franconia.
Prior to that, my plan for my life had been one of destruction and sin. Yes, I felt a calling to ministry when I was a boy, but I wanted to ignore that calling. But when I heard God speak, I was open to his guidance and will for my life. I was tired of keeping my back to him. When God spoke, I realized that his plan for my life was better than my own. When God spoke, I was ready to listen. Since then, I have developed a strong desire to share God’s truth and God’s truth alone.
I have been told that I am too young to be a pastor, too young to be preaching the Word, or too young to be so conservative. In the past, these comments would hurt, and it would cause self-doubt. Maybe I am not ready?
However, I have taken a new approach to this mindset. I desire for God to use me for the church today and the church of the next generation. Too often I see youth and others feel like they need to take a back seat because they feel too young and inadequate. I want to help them be open for God to use them, whether they are 11 or 43.
While in my pastoral role at Franconia, I have seen God use the youth in powerful ways, ways that have taught me, and other adults, a thing or two. So, I challenge you: How is God using the children or youth in your life? What can you learn from them? Don’t say they are too young. God can use them just like he can use you!