by Christy Hoagland
I was standing in a prison gymnasium last Saturday quietly playing while man after man left their seats to repent, believe, and profess faith in Jesus at the back of the room and as they were gathering around to pray I was overcome with the faithfulness and goodness of God. And I said to myself “Christy, you could’ve missed this.”
I could’ve been content just singing on the worship team at my church, leading a song here and there and doing Bible studies and many other “good” things but… still missed out on the best things God has for me to see and to witness and to experience. Don’t get me wrong, going to church, preaching, leading worship, serving, it is all part of what God calls us to but that is only the beginning and if that is all we do then we stay stuck, we stay in our places and don’t venture out to share our faith, love the unlovable, and go to where God has called us and do what God has called us.
For me it has been a process in my Christian walk, obedience to say yes when prompted and no to other things. And I have done both; the “nos” to obedience to God keep us stuck and the “yeses” set us free and help us focus on what really matters. Obedience to Jesus keeps us from settling, as Jennie Allen would say “I almost settled for a wasted life” (Johnny quotes that all the time now); if we are honest we have all been in seasons where we look back and wonder where the last month, year or years went and if there was any meaning or significance in it. This is what I fear most, living a life of insignificance as a follower of Jesus. As myself, I am insignificant but in Christ – so much more. Thankfully I serve a pursuing God that has given me His Spirit to prod my heart to a better way to live.
I’d like to share just a few of the promptings God put in my heart that has led me to today – to this precious ministry of worshiping with and leading the incarcerated in music, the Word, and so much more.
2013 – My “anything prayer” *(Anything You want me to do, Lord, I’ll do it for You) and the challenge to risk… honestly, the details don’t really matter but I took a risk and said yes to something and God started growing me into a worship leader.
2013 – A simple meeting in a church hallway with an ex-offender. From this point on God would use this ex-offender to become my encourager, my friend, my ministry partner and more
2013 (December) – First prison concert at Algoa Correctional Center
2014 – Ladies Jail Ministry at Pettis County Jail
2015 – Began courses at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for a certificate in Worship Ministry.
2015 (November) – First service at Algoa Correctional Center with my husband (we then started the Volunteer process)
2016 (March/April) – First songs written (Be Still, Sing for the King, Great is Your Faithfulness)
2016 (May) – Sing for the King Ministries was born
2016 (July) – Quit my full time job to do ministry full time. This was a big yes, a difficult thing to lay down because it required faith for God to provide for us.
2016 – Present – God has taken the yes of serving the incarcerated from a once a week and a handful of services here and there to close to 200 services inside prisons and other services outside prison walls.
If you are tired and weary and wondering if there’s more to life than what you’ve been living, let me tell you that there is and so much more than you could possibly imagine. Just say yes to Jesus and He will show you great and marvelous things, He will give your life meaning and purpose and you will never be the same. Surrendered and sold out is the best way to live life. All it really takes is one yes after another, the first being surrendering your life to Jesus and then trusting Him to lead the way. Then the next yes and the next and sometimes a no along the way to keep you on your “yes path” of obedience.
Serving my Creator, life-sustainer, Savior and King is my greatest joy and sometimes I get overwhelmed that He would call me and use me like He is. Can’t wait to see what’s next…
In the meantime, I’ll just say yes.
(I hadn’t intended to use this song but as I was writing this post this song popped in my head so I have to share. It brings tears almost every time I hear it.)
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8
Photo at top – Photo Credit: Taylor Hoos
*Anything by Jennie Allen