Three Years in Georgia (by Beau Carpenter)

Today marks three years since I moved to Georgia and began training for ministry. In this post I want to share some of the things I have seen God do in my life and how he has grown me personally much more than I ever imagined.

Looking Back:

  • Three Years ago, August 1st 2011, I had packed up all my belongings in the back of my truck and moved from Ohio to Georgia. I was 18, fresh out of High school and College, and had decided to begin training for the ministry.
  • I have seen God open doors along the way for me to grow and learn in the ministry. The first ministry I was involved in was helping with the media team and editing and uploading the sermons on the Internet. Then, God opened the door for me to get involved in the children’s ministry at Vision. Finally, the Lord opened the door for an opportunity to get involved in planting Vision Baptist Church of Cobb County.
  • I have seen God change me in lots of ways. When I first came I was a very shy person who didn’t engage people at all or even talk. Those who knew me when I first came tell me often that I have opened up a lot over the time I’ve been in GA. More than that, there have been countless things that God has helped me to understand and grow in.
  • God has seen me through each and every thing I have faced. Whether it was a financial trouble, problems that I thought were impossible to solve, or any other situations, God has always been faithful.
  • I often say these have been some of the hardest times in my life, but at the same time they have been the most rewarding and enjoyable. I see now how God has been stretching and growing me all along the way and I know he isn’t done yet!
  • It has been almost a year since I quit working a regular job and was able to transition to living full time what God has called me to do! It has certainly been the most exciting time of my life! There is nothing I would trade for being able to serve God full time!
  • The Lord allowed me to finish the OGTC this January. The Training Center was one of the best things that helped me learn the ministry. Not just the attending the Training Center, but 3 years ago I began a mentor relationship with different men at Vision who have helped me learn far more than any class ever could teach me. The Training Center isn’t just about the classes, but about life on life discipleship.
  • Perhaps a little gloomy, but my life is at least 25% over (That is if I live to 80). I am thankful for the years I have had to serve God. I would have completely wasted my life it wasn’t for the Lord.

Looking Forward:

  • As I look forward, I realize even more that there are so many things that the Lord is working on in me to help me grow and love Him more. When I came to GA I thought I was pretty well off, but I have seen hundreds of areas that I need to grow in and am continuing to see more every day.
  • I’m excited to see what God has for Vision Baptist Cobb in the upcoming years! I am praying that the Lord will allow us to see a solid church established that will be active in doing everything possible for world evangelism. Both on the going side of reaching our community and on the sending side of training and sending missionaries.
  • Personally, I am praying for God to allow me to help some young men come to know the Lord, truly fall in love with Jesus, and desire to serve him with their lives. I really want to be able to help share with others what God has taught me and help people to know that serving God really is the most awesome thing that they can do with their lives and that they can make a real difference and enjoy doing it!
  • I have a desire to continue to grow as a person, leader trainer, and pastor. There is a saying that once you stop learning you start dying. I don’t ever want to stagnate. My goal is to live out the rest of my life serving God to the absolute best of my ability.
  • I look forward to serving God with those at Vision Baptist Cobb. We honestly have some of the finest people in the world and I am honored to be able to serve alongside of them.
  • I am praying for and planning on having at least 60 more years of ministry. That would put me at 81.
  • Honestly, looking forward is kind of hard because I don’t even know what the rest of today will hold. Who knows, I might die today, Jesus might come back today. There are things I hope for, dreams I have, but I don’t know if they will come true. I just have to learn to do what God would have me to do today.

Lessons I’ve Learned:

  • Life truly is short – They always say as you get older time flies. I can remember it like yesterday, the evening that I left Ohio to drive to GA. I know I honestly don’t have much time to live and I want to live it all for the Lord.
  • God is continually working in me – I will never get to the place where I can say, “Yeah, I’m there! No need for me to learn or change!” It seems as though now more than ever I see God working in me to make me more of the person he wants me to be. This is a lot of heart change that affects how I live each day. I realize that this won’t end until I get to Heaven.
  • Ministry is about people – It doesn’t matter how well I can preach, administrate, work, etc. if I can’t learn to truly love people. I would not say that I am naturally gifted relationally. Quite to the contrary, I am much more of an introvert. I enjoy quiet study and working when no one bothers me, but ministry is about people! So, if I am to be effective in ministry I must learn to love people and be able to relate with people!
  • Humility is the way to go – Far too often I have an inflated view of myself. I think of myself more highly than I ought to. This causes all kinds of issues, selfishness, pride, anger, bitterness. I am just too stinking selfish! I want to learn humility, it is what pleases God. I admit that I fail often in this area, but it is an area in which I am trying to learn and grow.
  • It is imperative to learn to think correctly – This has been a major lesson to me especially over the past 6 or 8 months. As I preached through the book of Philippians I was faced with the need to learn to think on the right things. It is so easy for me to get thinking negatively, I think about all the bad things that are happening instead of praising God for all the things he is doing in my life. Honestly, when I think about things badly I tend to taint my view of life in general and I have a very poor outlook. I am trying to learn to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report. This is something I fail at a lot, but I see that it is extremely important as I am living for God.
  • Leadership is influence, not ordering – When I first thought about leadership, I imagined a general ordering people do do this or that. However, I have since learned that isn’t really leadership. I can’t make people do anything. Leadership is influence and I have much more influence by helping people catch the vision of what we are trying to do, and make that dream their own. Leadership is leading by example, I must be a model of what I am hoping other people will do. There are lots more things that could be listed here, but this will suffice to explain the lesson.
  • It is not easy to learn Christlike Love – I thought I knew how to love others, but it was and too often is truly a selfish love. It was more of if you love me, then I’ll love you. Christlike love is loving no matter if the other person does what I hope they would do, thanks me, helps me, etc. It is loving when there is no love reciprocated. Even more than that, it is loving without the expectation of love being reciprocated.
  • Get up and Serve God – When I talk about serving God, especially looking back and looking forward, things are amazing. However, sometimes and actually most days don’t really look that bright and shiny. It is a whole lot more of get up, get to work, and do what I need to do today than I ever thought when I began. It is a whole lot more of get the wind knocked out of you and stand back up and keep marching. It is a whole lot more of get hurt and keep going on. Living for God and serving God is a whole lot of getting back up and keeping on going.
  • Walk by faith – There are many times, especially within the last six months, that I have looked at different situations and just been overwhelmed with the thought of, “How in the world is this ever going to happen?” I look at something that isn’t moving as quickly as I hoped or isn’t happening like I imagined and at first it is really hard because I am disappointed. Then I have to remember that I am not the one in control, God is in control and he is working it out in his timing. It is hard to simply trust sometimes, but it is really the only way.
  • I am no one special – I used to think that I was someone special for getting ahead in school, working hard, starting in ministry so young. I have since then come to realize that I am really not anyone special. I deal with the same things that everyone else does. I am really no more talented than anyone else. I don’t have things together more than other people (In actuality, I really think there are way more things in my life that are in disarray than in the lives of others!). I am really no one special at all, but I have a great God who is doing things in my life and I must always thank him for it.

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