“God taught me a lot about wrestling with purpose and ultimately that it’s not my plans, not my desire about ministry and what ministry looks like, but it’s God’s and God can still use us, even through these barriers.”
For Jack Holloway, the step into full-time ministry wasn’t a ‘yes’ straight away. After being personally grown as a student through the Christian Union Ministry (AFES) at Deakin University Burwood in Victoria, Jack saw the value of gospel work. Over a series of years, the team at Christian Union encouraged him to consider training in ministry himself after some time in the workforce.
So Jack worked a few years in the world of finance, then returned to Deakin Uni to do a two-year MTS ministry apprenticeship in 2020/2021.
Stepping into the unknown
He reflects, “I went and worked as an accountant for a few years and through that time, kept in touch with them. I went along to the MTS challenge days, and one thing led to another and I was meeting with a guy who would become my trainer. We were praying a lot together and through that, I decided to do an apprenticeship. Beyond that, a lot of people in the church that I was at were also encouraging me to think about ministry, and encouraging me that they thought I was someone who God might use in that.”
That ‘guy’ who would go on to become Jack’s trainer was Pete Sorrenson, AFES Campus Director at Christian Union Deakin University.
Jack started the year of 2020 excited to get into whatever God had in store – then COVID-19 and ongoing lockdowns hit.
He shares, “It was online and we were questioning, ‘Can we still do this? What’s it going to look like?’ I’d already started meeting students on campus. And it was like, well, can these relationships continue? So there were lots of questions being asked and a lot of prayer.”
Jack, with the counsel of Pete, wrestled with how to best do ministry online and restricted. They did all they could do, simply put forward their best for God in changing and challenging circumstances.
Jack shares, “For two years it looked like a lot of Zoom calls, a lot of reading the Bible with people online, a lot of walks meeting up with people in Melbourne who lived within 5kms. And in that, God taught me a lot about wrestling with purpose and ultimately that actually it’s not my plans, not my desire about ministry and what ministry looks like, but it’s God’s and God can still use us, even through these barriers.”
Throughout his apprenticeship – both the online and in-person parts – God was working in Jack to shape him better as an instrument for the gospel.
Jack reflects, “I think the apprenticeship is really good for rounding out your hard edges. You can sort of go in with an idea of what you think gospel ministry might look like or what you hope to do. But very quickly, God humbles you and shows you actually that he’s the one who’s saving people and drawing people to his son.”
Relying on the strength of God
When 2021 was coming to a close and Jack was finishing up his apprenticeship, he was questioning whether he should continue in ministry. He shares, “I was a mess. Emotionally I was struggling a lot. I was very close to not continuing in ministry and had a lot of conversations with Pete about that. He was very encouraging the whole time. He kept telling me that he did think that I could and that the weakness I was feeling was a real sign of God’s strength in me. That my faith was not in myself, but actually I can put my faith in God to use me.”
During this time grappling with his future, Jack started preparing an application for a job back in finance. However, he was still looking to God to guide his next steps.
Jack reflects, “During that time, my wife and I prayed a lot and we talked a lot. We talked with people we trusted and they just kept on encouraging me that actually they thought I was a really good person for gospel ministry, even though I was doubting that in myself.”
Just before he submitted his application for the job in financial counselling, CMS (Church Missionary Society) advertised a part-time role that would be perfect for Jack to do while also doing Bible College study.
Jack shares, “The role was to work with young adults to encourage them to see the goodness of the global gospel, and to explore if they would consider their role in a world that knows Jesus. And that just really excited me. Reading through the position description and reading about what CMS was on about, it felt like God was showing me that there is a desire in you for this. And I can use you in that.”
Seeing young people serve Jesus
Jack now works in that role in CMS a day a week and studies full-time at Ridley College doing a Masters of Divinity. He is thankful and full of joy at the work God has put before him. Jack says, “I feel like I get a bit of a front-row ride to see what God’s doing in people’s lives and to fan their hearts to be passionate about that.”