Daniel Wiggins: My Leadership Pathway
I never thought I would choose ministry.
My pathway to leadership began in 10th grade, in student ministry. I was approached by my student pastor to lead worship, as well as leading other groups of students in various event settings – Wednesday nights and Sundays as a volunteer. I loved it. I loved leading, but at that point in my life, it was more just something for me to do than really thinking about it as a ministry, let alone as a career. At that time, I never considered ministry to be an option. I was too busy worrying about what I would do after high school. But I heard God’s voice clearly asking me to step out in faith, even though I had no idea what was coming next.
My church had just started working with Leadership Pathway when I was in the midst of the hiring process, so I was in the right place at the right time. Going into my Worship Residency here at LibertyLive.church, my expectations were limited. I thought I would be assigned a few responsibilities to do, day in and day out. But with this program there is a real development you can see, a growth every single day.
Right now I’m in a huge learning phase. I’m seeing things about ministry that I never have before, and I feel like I’m learning and growing every day. This path can be draining, especially if you don’t prioritize the right things. The hardest thing so far has probably been the balance of things directly related to my job and things that are still ministry related, but not necessarily what I get paid to do. When I began my residency, I was most concerned with the things that happened between 9am and 5pm. Now, it’s quite the opposite. A call to ministry is a call to people, and a whole lot of that connection, energy and time happens after the “work” day is done. And it’s what happens after the long hours that makes it all worth it. I’m seeing the Lord do things that I never thought possible.
I love that a good percentage of ministry is simply working with people. I’m here to walk through life with people. It’s all about being a disciple, and making more disciples. It’s about bringing the gospel to people, into their lives and their families. These days, I’m striving to do that whether it’s part of my “job” in worship, or it’s walking alongside other young adults in my community, and leading a young adult group.
I didn’t go to school to study worship ministry, so over the next year or so I’m looking to gain a lot of the technical knowledge I’m missing. This program allows a safe place for that. I think anyone who feels called to ministry would benefit from starting in a residency. It really shows you ministry at its core, and what it’s really all about. This is growing me and teaching me in ways that simply getting a job straight away couldn’t have done.
To any young student who feels called to this, who is preparing for ministry as a vocation, I would give this advice: Look for a church that wants to invest in you, not just a church that wants to hire you. That – and this program – have made all the difference for me.
I’m Daniel Wiggins, and this is my leadership pathway.