LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Kevin Edwards knew that God was calling him to ministry shortly after he committed his life to Christ more than 20 years ago.
But it took 11 years as a diesel mechanic, a broken neck and a stranger’s generous donation to help Edwards finally answer God’s call and enroll at Boyce College.
Edwards’ journey toward ministry began when he committed his life to Jesus Christ at age 14. A short time later he sensed God calling him to vocational ministry but ignored the Lord’s leading.
“I knew at a young age [that I had been called into ministry],” said Edwards, a native of North East, Md. “… But I didn’t get discipled and have any training. I knew the Lord wanted me in ministry, but I just didn’t listen.”
After high school Edwards set aside his thoughts of ministry and worked for more than a decade as a diesel mechanic while attending the First Baptist Church of North East.
Then God got his attention.
In January 2000, Edwards sought chiropractic treatment for an injured spinal disc. When the chiropractor attempted to push the disc back into place, an awkward twist broke Edwards’ neck.
The injury left Edwards with paralysis in his left arm and forced him to undergo a series of painful surgeries.
“The injury got me to a point where I was totally dependent on the Lord and totally listening to His voice, listening to the Word of God. It gave me a period of time where I could be alone with the Lord and study His Word,” he said.
“I’ve always studied the Word since I’ve been a Christian,” he said, “but it really gave me a time to get to know the Lord and know the Word of God. …
“When God allows an injury like this to happen, He gets your undivided attention.”
During the months following his injury, Edwards began to reconsider his call to ministry. By the summer of 2001, he was nearly convinced that God wanted him to pursue theological education. The only thing missing was finances.
“I was doubting the call to ministry,” Edwards said. “So I prayed, ‘Lord, show me for sure that you want me in fulltime ministry.'”
Four days after that prayer, Edwards preached in the Sunday evening service at First Baptist. When he finished his sermon, a woman that he had never met approached him and said that God had laid it on her heart to fund his ministry training.
“You can’t deny when God answers a prayer in four days like that,” Edwards said. “… She said she had been praying for me and the Lord spoke to her and laid it on her heart to help me with my finances and send me to seminary.”
So Edwards, still recovering from a broken neck, packed up his belongings and moved to Louisville, Ky., where he enrolled at Boyce College, the undergraduate program connected with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“The hardest thing was coming, taking a step of faith and leaving everything behind,” he said.
In the two years he has attended Boyce, God has begun to bear fruit through Edwards’ ministry. Recently, he was able to lead his niece to Christ.
“She was asking me questions and I was sensing that she wasn’t sure …,” Edwards said. “It was just a matter of making sure, and I just prayed a short sinner’s prayer with her. She followed me in prayer and took hold of my hand. I led her in prayer by faith. And since then she knows she’s saved. It was pretty simple.”
After graduating from Boyce, Edwards plans to pursue an advanced degree in apologetics and spiritual warfare. Eventually he hopes to enter a preaching ministry or teach at a Christian school.
Edwards said he is most amazed by “how fast God allowed me to be drawn out of the world and put in the ministry setting. I’ve always shared Christ, but not like I do now. There’s just that dramatic answer to prayer and how fast he’s brought me to Louisville.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: AN ONGOING CALL.