After graduating undergrad I was offered a full time position to work for and with one of my favorite professors of all time. He taught his classes with such passion that made each student interested in the topic. He was the Executive Director of the Center for Metropolitan Ministry (CMM) which was a part of the religion department at the university. CMM was a non profit organization that provided demographic analysis to churches and organizations in order to help them better serve their community. My position was the Demographic Specialist. I created informational maps, charts, and reports displaying the demographical information. I enjoyed this position since it allowed me to use my creative skills and occasionally my public speaking skills. However, having this position I realized that I didn’t want to spend 8 hours plus behind a desk all day. Instead, I preferred to be out speaking. Knowing this about myself prompted me to occasionally brainstorm how I could make public speaking my full time reality.
After five years of working for CMM, in April of 2011, I was laid-off due to finances which forced me to venture more into public speaking. I knew the layoff was coming months in advance so, it did not take me by surprise. I knew things were going to change especially since my income was being replaced with unemployment. Thank God my car was paid for and my sister had space for my daughter and I to move in with her. My only major concern was my daughters school tuition since she was attending a private school. I had no intentions of pulling her out. She had been a student at the same school since pre-K and now was only a few months away from finishing up her 3rd grade year. Now was not the time to have her switch schools.
I continued to produce my best work during those last few days with CMM. Although I was sadden that I would no longer work there I was also grateful for all the skills that I had acquired. As the days wind down I decided to write my boss a letter expressing my appreciation for his mentorship and guidance in my life over the past seven years. I presented the appreciation letter to him on my last day in the office. I began concluding the letter by saying “Good things come to an end so that Great things can move in.” I had no doubt that something GREAT was about to take place in my life. What that GREAT thing was however, I really didn’t know; but the next 14 months allotted me the time to start seeing the greatness.
While working at the center I was able to complete my graduate degree in Youth and Young Adult Ministry. I had volunteered in my church working with this age group over the past five years and I enjoyed every bit of it. I would plan weekend retreats, week of prayer and occasionally preach at my church as well as other churches. With such a love for speaking and teaching God’s word I applied for youth pastor positions all over the country. I knew for sure that this would be my next great thing. As I waited to hear back from the many places I had applied to and some even interviewed for I didn’t sit idol. I continued speaking in various churches and leading out in youth ministry at my church. My speaking engagements were growing therefore, I decided to turn those brainstorming ideas I had earlier into my own organization called Living The Life Ministry. I was sharing with youth and young adults all over how I lived a life for Christ and how they could too. I was excited about this ministry that Christ had placed in me! I was no longer going to sit around waiting for someone to hire me for what Christ had already tasked me to do.
Establishing a ministry was completely new to me and I knew very little. With the skills that both undergrad and grad school taught me I started researching. For hours and days I searched the internet for tips on starting a ministry, spent days at the library reading books and connected with people that helped me to get started. I quickly secured the domain name, had my logo designed and created a website. My purpose was to provide my services in the area of preaching for any and all youth and young adult events. I LOVED it! Sharing my personal story of how Christ transformed my life was the life. I wanted my listeners to know that even as a teen, even as a young adult we can live for God and not be ashamed. I secured a few more new speaking engagements as well as returned to churches where I had been a speaker before.
After a few months of speaking I noticed that my speaking engagements were dwindling and I didn’t have any new churches reaching out to book me. I wasn’t really sure how to secure new speaking engagements so I continued searching for a youth pastor position in hopes that something would come through especially since my funds were extremely low and my daughter would be returning to private school for the new school year.
As the months passed I continued to apply to more positions with no avail. I also continued strong with my churches youth ministry planning and organizing many events that I knew my youth would enjoy while having the opportunity to grow deeper in Christ.
After fourteen months of several resume submissions and a few interviews a job opportunity was presented.
I was attending my family reunion in Alabama when I received a phone call. The number displayed was an unfamiliar Maryland number. Like many unfamiliar numbers I allowed it to roll over into voicemail. Later that night as I prepared to settle down into bed I checked my voicemail. I immediately recognized the voice of the Vice President of Student Life at the university I had graduated undergrad from and had been laid off from just a little over a year ago. The VP physical features resembled those of Patti LaBelle. She had the complexion, smile and a similar hairstyle that she had worn since the first day I met her. She had been a big help during my undergrad years and I appreciated her for that. I hadn’t heard her voice in a long time and now I was listening as she informed me of an opening on campus and encouraged me to apply for the position. The position was in the resident life department as the Assistant Dean of Women. I had never thought about working on a college campus in the dorms but this was right up my ally. I had worked with teens for years and I was ready to expanded my experience by working with young adults more closely. In her voicemail the VP instructed me to call her back ASAP no matter the time of day or night. I looked at the clock and it was 10ish at night CST. Therefore, it was 11 something Maryland time. I quickly hopped out of bed and headed to the front porch to make the phone call.
You’ve just finished reading part 1 of 4 of READY. SET. GO. These 4 blogs depict how I started Living The Life Ministry and my brand Linda D. Lowe.