Contributed by VBC 1st Year Ministry Student Bethany Duarte.
Just a few weeks ago, I sat in the auditorium at Victory, smiling ear-to-ear as Ron McIntosh talked about Victory Bible College. I couldn’t help but grin, knowing that in a few short weeks, I would be starting as a full-time, first year ministry student. It felt like a dream, to tell you the truth.
I had all kinds of expectations and ideas about what it would be like, all based on my imagination and on two night classes that sparked my desire to attend in the first place. I envisioned myself growing like never before, maturing in my knowledge of God and receiving a fresh boldness to minister to others. I imagined building relationships with fellow students and teachers that would last a lifetime. I expected to train and prepare for ministry, both in the classroom and by getting out there and doing it every day.
All those things were on my mind as I walked in on my first day.
A week and a half later, when I was asked how my first week as a student went, I had so many things I could talk about, from the amazing worship and powerful teaching to the people I was meeting. Instead, I summed it up using the same words that I heard that day at Victory: Victory Bible College is an academic institution, but it’s more than just information (or even preparation). It’s about transformation.
For me, that transformation process started pretty much immediately.
When God told me to come to VBC as a full-time student, I was (finally) coming out of a long, 10-year period of healing from sexual abuse, PTSD, and depression that had left me desperate to share what God had done in me with others. I knew there was a calling on my life to full-time ministry, and God told me it was time to prepare.
I could share a laundry list of things I had in my favor as I began to think about full-time ministry; however, they aren’t what you would think. Instead, they were all of the things that I had experienced in my life that God had healed me from or had redeemed. I saw my testimony as almost a backwards qualification for ministry. As an 11-year old with a lot of baggage, I recall telling a friend that “if God can get the glory from this situation, and I can help someone else in the process, it was worth going through it.” I began to see each thing the enemy threw at me as another thing that God would heal me from and use to minister to others.
This was my mindset on the first day of class as I prayed for the Holy Spirit to have his way in me.
It was during a discussion about the importance of intimacy with God in Foundations of Faith, a first year ministry class, that the transformation began. During that teaching, the Lord showed me that in the same way that Paul had seen his religious pedigree as what made him a righteous Jew prior to his conversion, I saw my history and the way God redeemed it as what qualified me for ministry.
He showed me that It isn’t what I have been through, but what Jesus has already done and wanted to do through me TODAY that equips me. It is by the work of the Holy Spirit through me that I am equipped. It is out of my close fellowship, intimacy, and daily walk with Him that I am equipped.
I came to VBC to pursue a life of ministry, but what I’ve already learned in 7 days of class is that a life of ministry comes out of a pure, unhindered pursuit of Jesus Christ. It is from that close fellowship – from the sheer overflow of his presence – that a sincere, compassionate and life-changing ministry flows. That’s the foundation. That’s what I didn’t realize I was missing until I came to VBC.
That may not blow your mind, but for me, that was a download of revelation knowledge that drew me to heart of God in a way I have never experienced. It was a small, but vital course correction that creates new hunger in me to walk even closer, to talk more intimately and to deeply, truly know my Father God.
And that was on day three.
So, whether you’re seeking restoration, or you have cracks in your spiritual foundation like I did, VBC is for you.
Whether you are called to plant churches on the mission field in Asia or are called to minister to your children and husband as a Godly wife and mother, VBC is for you.
Whether you can come full-time or only take one class a quarter, VBC is for you..