Called to ministry: Johnny BeareWednesday 12 September 2018
We’re thrilled that 18 new diocesan readers will be commissioned at a service in Dromore Cathedral on Friday 21 September. It’s a varied group of people, all of whom have successfully completed the 2 year training course, and each with their own sense of call to the reader ministry.
We’ve asked several of them to share their journey. Meet Johnny Beare from St Elizabeth’s, Dundonald.
For the last 9 years I’ve been a full–time member of the Staff Team in St Elizabeth’s Church, Dundonald. I haven’t always lived in Dundonald, in fact I spent most of my childhood and teens growing up in Co. Fermanagh. My home church was Magheracross Parish (Ballinamallard). I thank God for the Youth Fellowship in Ballinamallard, because it was there that I met with leaders who loved both God’s Word and God’s people. These leaders taught me the Scriptures in a faithful, clear and creative way. It was on the cusp of my 16thbirthday that it finally clicked – ‘Christianity is good news about God’s Son Jesus, who willingly died in my place and I needed to respond in repentance and faith.’
It is now more than 20 years since I made that decision to accept Christ and both my Lord and Saviour. Throughout that time I have tried to make it a priority to do what those youth leaders, in Ballinamallard, did for me. To introduce people to Jesus, by teaching the Bible faithfully, clearly and creatively. This priority changed my whole career path. After university, I started to look for jobs in youth ministry. God has been good and I’ve had the opportunity to teach the Bible to young people while working for Crosslinks Mission Agency, St John’s (Moira), Hillsborough Parish and most recently St Elizabeth’s (Dundonald).
One of the reasons I applied for Reader training is that I want to make sure that when I get opportunities to teach I am as effective for God as I can be. I particularly enjoyed the local Diocesan element of the training (Preaching and Liturgy). Meeting monthly with others passionate about teaching God’s Word and equipping God’s people for the work of ministry was a real privilege. I would like to thank Revd Willie Nixon (who interestingly was one of those youth leaders in Ballinamallard!), Canon Dr Bryan Follis and Revd Adrian Dorrian for the way they led this part of the course.
I look forward to exercising my Reader ministry as part of the church family in St Elizabeth’s, and pray that through the teaching of the Scriptures, and the work of the Holy Spirit, some would come to a living faith in the Lord Jesus and others would grow in that faith.