Pursuing Ordination Through CLI
Pursuing Ordination for Ministry
My name is Matthew LaPlaca, and I am pursuing ordination through CLI and with CLA. My wife, our two children, and I live in Vernon, CT. I have been in public education as a teacher, mentor, supervisor, and administrator for over 23 years. I taught, at one point or another, grades 6-12 as well as undergraduate and graduate college level. Most of my experience has been at the high school level teaching government, history, and psychology.
My testimony began in 1992 when I visited a friend’s church while going through a difficult time. I was physically pressed by the Holy Spirit and felt immersed in a thick air that “embraced” me. But I wasn’t ready to give my life over yet. Four years later, I returned to that church, hoping for a similar experience but was disappointed there was no supernatural force waiting for me. Two years after that, I again called my friend for help.
My Surrender to God
It was in May of 1998, and I was depressed. I called my friend and began to lament about all of my problems. My friend said to me, “Give up!” I was confused as the words resonated in my head. Then, the following statement tore the veil from my spiritual eyes, “Give up fighting God. Stop fighting Him.”
I knew instantly that fighting God was what I had been doing. I grew up in the Catholic Church, served as an altar boy, and received a medal from the Boy Scouts of America for Catholic service. Yet, I had grown away from the church after high school. I reinvented God to suit my ideas. With the realization that I had been at war with my Creator, I instantly surrendered my life to Christ. I was born again! The next day, I went to church and haven’t looked back.
I still attend that same church after 22 years and have been ministering on our worship team as a guitarist for the same amount of time. I also led our children’s church ministry for five years. Following my divorce in 2013, I led a small support group called “Moving Forward” for a short time. I still minister to others in my life who have struggled through the painful trial of divorce.
In 2016, I met a Christian woman who shares my faith and fits my soul better than I could have imagined. Our testimony is a powerful one, as God has brought us together. I’ll spare the details here, but I do not doubt that God placed this woman in my life with deliberate purpose. We married in October of 2017.
Ministry involvement has always been a calling. Recently, however, that calling has developed into a desire to get prepared for a more significant ministry role. After looking into seminary options, I felt it would be difficult to make that happen, considering both financial and time factors. So, I consulted my pastor. He allowed me to apply my calling to figure out a direction for ministry. I designed and then taught a monthly Bible study called “Releasing the Fullness of God.” That class has allowed me to lead others towards a deeper understanding of the relationship that God wants to have with us. My wife joined me in full support. We have both been blessed by what God shows me through my preparations for each session.
My Church Leadership and Pursuing Ordination
My church is currently going through a transition of leadership. We are a church without a pastor for the first time in over 30 years. We intend to take the appropriate time to find the right pastor to lead us. In the meantime, the church Elders began to take turns preaching on Sunday.
For a variety of reasons, they asked me if I would preach a sermon on one of the topics from my Bible study class on surrender and submission. I prepared and preached that sermon and received much positive feedback. I also felt something “click” in my spirit that confirmed my calling. They asked me to preach more in the future, and I have agreed.
I’m also launching a new Bible Study called “The Overcomers.” It explores stories from the Bible that demonstrate how God equips us to overcome what life puts in our path. This time, my wife is co-leading the study with me. Through my research and preparation for the sermons and Bible studies, I have found joy in my calling as a preacher and minister. Pursuing ordination will expand opportunities for me to continue in this calling.
Ministry Training at CLI and Pursuing Ordination with CLA
I discovered the Christian Leaders Institute after friends from another church asked if I could perform their wedding ceremony. At first, I didn’t take them seriously, as I didn’t have the credentials to officiate a wedding at the time. Still, the notion grabbed my interest, and I looked online for an ordination program while I continued to ponder seminary. Most of the online credentials were suspicious until I found CLI.
After some investigation, prayer, and discussion with my wife, I enrolled at CLI and completed the Licensed Christian Wedding Officiant program. I am pursuing ordination with the Christian Leaders Alliance. It will better prepare me for the increasing role I am filling at my church, as well as to further my relationship with Jesus. I plan to continue in my studies at CLI to pursue a Commissioned Minister certificate. I enjoy the courses and look forward to each new one in which I enroll. Christian Leaders Institute continues to be an inspiration and a blessing!
As I move forward in my studies and ministry, your prayers are appreciated. Please, pray for insight as I seek God’s will for the direction my ministry will follow. Also, pray that God grants me wisdom to balance my time and responsibilities to serve both my family and church best. Thank you!