During my high school years I sought God by being involved in my church youth group, singing in the youth choir, reading my bible, and praying. I felt I was being called to be a Catholic priest, and so when it came time for college I went to seminary.
Early in my time at seminary I was encouraged to focus not on becoming a priest, but rather, to spend time in focused prayer seeking and listening for God's direction in my life. During my second year of seminary I heard God calling me to teach and I was blessed to walk out 25 years of my life knowing I was serving HIS purpose working with youth. My walk has been far from perfect. I have failed many times, BUT I know that I’ve done what He called me to do.
Then in the fall of 2014 four little 6th graders changed my outlook. I heard the language they used, and saw how they treated their classmates. Not only did I have them in class, but I supervised them at lunch and recess - and if you want to see how a student really behaves just show up for recess. They made me want to quit teaching!
Yep, I wanted to quit and become more like them. Not only were they kind to others both in word and action, they were PURPOSEFUL in reaching out to "that student" that was never going to get picked for the team, they were PURPOSEFUL in bringing others into their circle. In short - they were living like God intends for us to live, loving others like He loves us.
As I shared these experiences with my wife and also with my prayer partner, I told them I thought it might be time for me to leave teaching, but this didn’t make sense to me - God had called me to teach, why would I feel like it was time to leave? Especially when such a spiritually alive group of students was in my classroom?? It took me over a year to figure it out, and even then, it took a shove, not a nudge to move me beyond my comfort level.
In the fall of 2015 the first student came to me for prayer. It was this moment that brought me to the realization that I wanted to bring my love of Christ to students at a level beyond what's appropriate in the classroom, and after much prayer, my wife and I made the decision that I would leave teaching at the end of the school year to launch PEW35 Ministry.
God began to pour in to me many ideas and I often woke in the morning with new concepts of how to better serve youth, and what it would look like to be beyond the classroom. As only our God would have it, the opportunity to launch came earlier, and we were able to begin the work of the ministry in March of 2016.
Throughout the bible we see stories of very unremarkable people with little or no skills being called to do God’s work. King David, the runt of the family who wasn’t even looked at; Joseph - another weakling that would become one of the greatest rulers of his time; Moses who told God he wasn’t capable of leading people; and my favorite as of late, Noah - the guy that built a HUMONGOUS boat out in the middle of the desert!
Yes, clearly we are in good company. Doing the work of God doesn’t require us to have the correct skill sets, the right intelligence, even the right language. Doing the work of God requires that we are obedient. And so, PEW35 intends to carry out what God has given us, to help students build confidence in their prayer lives by building the Encouraging Prayer phone app and hosting the annual Undignified Day of Prayer.
We hope you'll join us and be blessed beyond measure,