As I was becoming accepted by those in leadership, I was still dealing with my own doubt. I felt like I was missing part of the relationship with Him. Typically, when faced with a problem where I seem to be the only one not getting it I do one thing; take it apart and learn every piece one by one. I assume that because there are others around they must have figured it out, it must work, the issue therefore is me. So I made sure that I learned it better than anyone so I could help others find what I was clearly missing.
My immersion started with learning the rules and doctrine of the Message better than anyone around me. If this thing was to be what my eternal destination was gauged off of, I would own it. My fellow believers were happy to provide me with books and tapes and quotes. Digital copies were passed around like they were the Holy Grail. The amount of money made off of those first 30gb ipods (27ish gbs were needed to hold the message at that time) must have been insane. For much of my church, this became a convenient way to expose themselves to God’s word, which I too fell into. I listened to recordings when driving, read the books on my lunches, and studied my bible at all hours of the night.
Due to this and my Father’s appointment to assisting minister and deacon in the church, it became known that even as a young man, I was ahead of most in doctrinal understanding. I was becoming respected for having my life together.. I was often invited to the men’s breakfasts and other gatherings; it wasn’t long before I was involved on multiple levels. I took over the recording and reproduction of the services at our church, assisting with almost anything technical. Eventually, I was ordained into ministry and spoke from the pulpit on a number of occasions, which was rare at only nineteen.
Eventually as the previous youth minister stepped down, he and the assistant pastor came to me and offered me the position. I laughed. I was young; I didn’t know how to be in charge of kids not that much younger than myself. I prayed about it and finally. During prayer and fasting I felt like the lord had told me to “Be strong and of good courage, and do it: Fear not, nor be dismayed: For the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.” (I Chronicles 28:20)
I had never been so nervous in my life. Standing there in the suit I’d preached to hundreds in still left me shaking in front of these kids. I was a young and naive twenty years old about to face my first class of 11 to 17 yr olds. I was tasked by the Pastor and his assistant to fix the problem of the teenagers not being engaged and wanting to give up on church. I was to turn them towards Christ. I had to show them the missing pieces that I, myself, had barely found. They reminded me every day that even I didn’t know how to find God in the Message all the time, but that I was going to find the answers for them, because my pastor and my God had asked it of me.