Reverend

Anthony D Coley, Ed.S.

In looking back at my life, I can see that God has always been with me and that a call has hovered over my life for as long as I can remember.  I can remember reading the story of Great Expectations in high school and for the first time understanding the concept of what it means to be a benefactor.  I had a desire in my life to work with people, to help others and to find a way that I could help make the lives of people more meaningful.  Though I have never been able to acquire the wealth needed to completely fund the life of another, I have been blessed with an empathetic nature, one that allows me to often care about those that many others may not want to work with. 

I first recognized this empathy while traveling with a youth ministry the summer of 1994.  My small group found ourselves working with groups that were relatively homogeneous; students of the same background, faith, socioeconomic standing, race, etc.  However, it wasn’t unusual to find that one student in each group that just wasn’t like everyone else.  Maybe he wore a little more black, had a slightly different hairstyle and color, or listened to music that was just a little different than what the others liked.  Those were the students I liked to work with.  The one’s that others just didn’t seem to want to spend time with.

I began teaching in 1995, and I have seen thousands of students during this time, from as young as fourteen to as old as eighty-six.  Though each of them usually arrives with their own apprehensions about their abilities in mathematics, I do my best to encourage them in all they do and to remind them that they are worthy.

So what about my call?  I returned to the Church after finding Christ First ICCC in Gainesville, Georgia and once again I felt the tug of God’s Spirit on my heart.  I had not taken the time to look at teaching as a call of God, because I believed that God was not concerned with my life and its direction.  I serve on the Governing Board for the denomination until NDWC's disaffiliation August of 2013.

I have a natural empathy for others and explain topics in a way that connects previously known/learned materials to that being currently studied.  God has blessed me with the ability to explain complex topics in a way that are easy to understand.  As a result, I now feel that my gifts are in teaching and that I have most likely been in God’s Will for quite some time.  Our Creator has been preparing me for a greater call.  God has shown me that all people need someone to recognize their worth, their importance and their ability.

As a result, I believe God has called me to ordained ministry, using my skills in teaching to help others learn about God’s Word and my gifts of empathy to remind others of their worth in the eyes of God.  That is, I see my life in education as a preparation for God’s call in my life.

My version of Merton’s Confession follows . . .

Creator God,

In my life I have explored many pathways, considered many roads and taken on many challenges; some of Your desiring, but mostly those of my own.  Help me Lord to discern my future actions.  Help me to walk in your way and always seek your guidance, even when my own desires burn in my heart.

I believe Lord that You are calling me to minister to those who do not know You, those who have been told by the World that they are unworthy, whether because of their ailment, socioeconomic status, their ethnicity or sexual orientation.  You created mankind in your image, oh God, and all are worthy of your love.  Help me to share this with everyone I encounter; be it in words, actions or deeds.  It is my hope to please you, to answer your call and to be an example to all those around me; not for my glory, but for Yours.

These things I ask in Jesus name, giving you the praise, honor and glory that You deserve.

 Amen

I am excited about the path God has chosen for me, but I know that it will not be without its struggles.  I have allowed myself to become very busy with my vocation, taking on extra classes at the high school, taking on a new job working with the Mountain Education Charter School and now working with the High School's Drama program after school.  However, I am learning to trust that the Lord will provide for all my needs and am hoping to work on eliminating some of my extra teaching hours so that I can concentrate more on my relationship with my family, my church, my friends and most importantly my God.

In closing, I would like to offer up my prayer written during the Call and Discernment Class as part of an activity lead by Reverend Sandi Wood.  It is a nice summation of how I felt during that Convocation weekend in Atlanta 2007 and how I feel that God has touched me since the beginning of my journey with Emmaus.

Creator God,

Help me to trust in you, to discern your call and to accept all that you have prepared for my life.  It is easy to look at the past and to believe that the scars I carry are nothing more than a reminder of a life less suited for serving you.  Please Lord, help me to see that my scars are more than this; that they are symbols of a forging process that you have used to prepare me for my life today; my call.

No one is certain of their time on this Earth and it is my prayer that you help me to focus on Your will and Your desires for my life and the lives of those I encounter rather than the inevitable that lies ahead; that over which I have no control.

I pray for healing, Oh Lord, not of my physical ailments but rather of my spirit, so that I can find the strength to use my experiences to be an effective witness to all that seek a closer walk with you.  Help me Lord to look beyond my fears, my reservations and the World, so that I may focus on You and Your will for my life.

Amen.

 


One God, One Love . . .

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