My Ministry Calling Story
Hello, my name is Dowler Wheat, and I am from Yorktown, Virginia, USA. I am a student at the Christian Leaders Institute for its youth minister certification courses and credentials (Learn more about studying the Bible online, ClickHere).
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Who is Dowler Wheat?
My Story Begins
Here is the story of my spiritual evolution. I grew up in Virginia and North Carolina. Married to my best friend Neal, I am a proud dog mom to our seven-year-old corgi, Dudley. The church and Jesus have always played a massive role in my life because my father is a now retired Presbyterian minister. As a result, I never had one “special call” as a child.
Church, for so many years, was where my family spent most of their time outside the home. I learned to walk by holding myself up on my dad’s desk in his office. I spent many happy hours running around the church, including finding the best hiding spots for hide and seek. Further, I loved “greening” the church at advent, participating in all the outreach/discipleship events, children’s choir, and Easter flower decorating. My entire family was involved. It made me feel like I was a part of something special and important.
When I was thirteen, we moved to Charlotte, NC, to a church that had a profoundly negative impact on my family. I didn’t make friends with anyone in the youth group as I went to a different school from them. They also had preconceived notions of me as the “pastor’s kid.” So instead, I dove into my deep love and connection with music. I joined the adult choir and handbell choir.
God was working in my life at this time because he brought to me two elders in the church who I still consider to be my surrogate parents. First, they helped me connect with God on a genuinely personal level for the first time. They told me it was ok to question things and ask for clarification. Further, they always reminded me that Christians, even the pastor’s kids, are not perfect. Finally, they instilled in me a love and appreciation of my quiet time with God.
Ignored Call to Ministry
As I grew up, I felt a call into the ministry. Still, I completely ignored it because I didn’t want to be like my dad. Based on situations I experienced growing up, I also didn’t feel like I had the moral strength to withstand all the criticism that comes with being a spiritual leader. My strength came later through teaching, and God brought me my husband, who is my best friend, biggest supporter, and rock during rough seas.
After seventeen years in the classroom, singing with countless choirs and making a joyful noise through handbell concerts, I can no longer ignore the calling. My calling is to become an integral part of the youth program at my church. This church is very special to me. It is the first church I have joined without any family connection. It has allowed me to grow and flourish in a way I didn’t know was possible.
Marriage and Questions of Faith
I had only had one genuine desire in my life. That was to be a wife and a mother. As the oldest of four girls, I am naturally “bossy,” as my sisters say. I never doubted that God would guide me to fulfill this desire to have my own family. I did not realize that I would have to change my interpretation of what that would look like.
My husband Neal is genuinely the best thing that ever happened to me outside my relationship with God. He brings out the very best version of me. He is my biggest cheerleader while also providing me with much-needed criticism. Since we were on the “older side” of our thirties when we married, we tried right away for that much-desired family. I became pregnant after only a month of trying. I was crushed to have a miscarriage at nine weeks. Being by myself on the bathroom floor holding our 9-week-old so small child is still the most challenging moment of my life. Now, three years later, after failed IUIs and three failed rounds of IVF, I have had to accept that being a mother will not happen for me.
My Infertility to My Spiritual Evolution
I constantly made “deals” with God during our three years of trying. “Lord, if you just grant me this, I will be a faithful servant forever” (Shouldn’t I already be one?). When reality set in, I was angry and upset. I felt so abandoned. I had always been the “good girl” and done the “right thing,” so I thought I was being punished. That is when I stopped my morning devotions and even quit going to church for a time. I felt deceived. What was all this faith for? However, God never left me. He was by my side, even when I refused to acknowledge him.
Through therapy and faithful friends, I began a new walk with God. One that changed me forever. It was like having blinders lifted. While the healing was extremely painful, my spiritual reawaking was profound. I even started my first “sermon.” It took four years, but I shared my loss and newfound walk with God during Mother’s Day in 2022.
My Spiritual Evolution Defined
Someone asked me recently, “Did you have a relationship with God before you accepted that you would never be a Mom? What is the difference now?” My answer is this: Before, Jesus was important in my life but someone I took for granted. The difference is now I work on my relationship with God as much as I work on my marriage. My spiritual connection requires faith, time, devotion, and love.
It has led me to recognize God’s many blessings in my life. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t get sad and wish for the children I will never see in this life. However, it has renewed my faith in a much stronger way. My children always belonged to God, and I will meet them one day in the Kingdom of Heaven. God has a plan for my life, and it is not my business to know it. It is my job to trust in His voice and walk in the ways He wants me to.
New Blessings and My Calling
God gave me a new devotion to my faith. He gave me a much deeper and more personal connection. This experience and faith journey deepened my desire to volunteer with my church. I also want to be more open with my fellow congregation members. Surviving an experience like this, where over half of IVF couples divorce, has brought my husband and me closer together. While I am not a mother, I feel a strong calling to work with youth which is one of the reasons I love teaching. Our church lost its youth program leader last year. I feel a strong pull on my heart to serve in this area.
Sharing my testimony, I have been honored to speak all over the world. I encourage women to live out their calling – even though they are just “moms” or “wives” or “a woman with no education.” So many are called, but few are chosen. So often, people do not answer the call that God has for them. I want to minister to our youth.
Youth Minister Certification Through Christian Leaders
Each year, I find myself wishing that I had more qualifications in the area of youth ministry. Finally, I decided to stop wishing and make it happen. I searched online and found the Christian Leaders Institute with its Youth Minister certification opportunity. What a blessing!
I teach Spanish III and IV full-time, serve as my school’s Department Chair, serve as the School Division PLC Lead for World Languages at the secondary level, and serve as the Conference Coordinator for the Foreign Language Association of Virginia. This year, I also took over as Advisor for the Ignite Club, the Christian club at the school.
Therefore, I am glad for the opportunity to fit classes into my busy schedule. Receiving this youth minister certification for free has been such a blessing. I am thankful for the visionaries at the Christian Leaders who have developed their generosity-driven education model. Therefore, people called into ministry can study free of massive costs associated with quality education.
Glorifying God in My Life
I do not know what my future holds in this calling. However, the youth minister certification credentials in Youth Leadership will open new doors as I continue to live out God’s call on my life. Currently, I have no plans to leave my Spanish teacher position. However, I seek to be open to where God leads me. I pray that as I learn more about God’s Word, my understanding will be increased and reflected in every part of my life.
Why Fund Minister Dowler Wheat with Your Gifts?
When you fund Minister Dowler Wheat with your support, you fund the equipping and multiplying of ministers everywhere. Dowler will be using her training to disciple young people. As you fund one, you fund more because this ministry training is free means that this training can be freely and easily shared.
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