I believe it was Charles Spurgeon who said, “If the Lord has called you to preach don’t stop along the way to become a king.” Ministry is certainly the most fascinating and exciting of all vocations , if for no other reason than the fact the we have the privilege and responsibility to impact lives for eternity. Once a person senses the call of God to serve in ministry, that person must now invest the time necessary to get to know the Lord and His word. We see this pattern in the lives of the 12 who spent 3 years in the school of Christ before being commissioned into the word and the same model was true for Paul who made his way to the Arabian desert to have his understanding of scripture altered and deepened. Today , a person called to ministry has a wide gamete of possibility as it relates to training. 

 In the fall of 1983 I was invited by a couple of friends to an outreach concert where I heard the gospel for the first time. I responded to the invitation and met Christ that day. After a short season  of flailing around , I got plugged into the youth ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. At that time we were in the midst of a unique work of God and ministry opportunities were abundant. Before long, I found myself leading home groups, teaching bible studies and assisting the youth pastor in a variety of roles. In 1989 I was hired on the church staff where I served for 9 years, most of the time teaching bible in the middle and high schools. Through a series of events , the Lord opened a door for me and my family to move to south Florida and invest in what is now Calvary Vero Beach. The rapid pace of ministry did not afford me the chance for formal training. Instead I learned on the job how to teach, pastor and lead. However, as time went on and the ministry has grown I felt a desire to broaden my outlook on leadership and decided to apply for the Bachelors program at CCU. The material as well as coursework have proven to be tremendously helpful for me as the ministry continues to develop for us in south Florida. 

Having not been in a courseroom for more than 25 years I was a little apprehensive at first but the 8 week courses and the freedom to choose as many or as few as my schedule allowed made the task manageable. But over the course of the last year or so I was able to chip away at the task until just this week I submitted my final project of my final course en route to a bachelors degree in Christian Leadership and Biblical Studies. It has been a valuable, exciting and rewarding venture and I would encourage others to take the challenge which will , no doubt , broaden their outlook. 

 Jim Gallagher

CCU Class of 2018

Senior Pastor, Calvary Chapel Vero Beach, FL