Some people always know that they are called to ministry, but others are surprised by the direction God takes them. For Leah Reinholt, the idea of being in full-time ministry was not on her radar, but God had a path already set in front of her that he revealed one step at a time.
Reinholt grew up in a church that had a strong children’s ministry program. She attended as a child and came back to volunteer later in her life.
“Looking back, I can see now that I was always exposed to the concept of ministry within churches,” Reinholt reflects. “As a teenager, I got to experience a mission trip as well as various camp experiences which helped introduce me to the concept of ministry outside of my hometown.”
Although ministry was present from an early age in Reinholt’s life, she did not imagine being called to ministry in the future.
“If you would have spoken to me two years ago and told me that I would be pursuing a ministry degree online, I would have laughed in your face and been in complete denial!” Reinholt laughs.
Even though she loved volunteering in ministry related things, Reinholt never thought she would be working in or even studying ministry leadership with a ministry degree online. However, God clearly had another plan in mind.
A Life Changing Invitation
In the second semester of her freshman year, Reinholt’s boss called her and offered her a Student Ministries Internship at Warsaw Community Church (WCC).
“At the time, I was volunteering for WCC as a small group leader for freshman girls,” said Reinholt. “I told the pastor that I needed to pray about the opportunity he was presenting and that I needed time to think. (I was really trying to stall for time to figure out how to tell him ‘no’). Within a few days, I felt God really pushing me to take the internship, so I chose to listen and step out in faith by accepting the role. I quickly discovered that I have a passion and feel called to ministry, which came as a bit of a surprise for me.”
Reinholt pursued a ministry degree online because of this newfound love for working in the ministry setting. However, that was not her first major.
“My education journey after high school has been nothing short of a rollercoaster,” Reinholt laughs. “I began attending Grace College in Winona Lake with a major in business administration. Throughout the year, I switched my major from business administration to marketing to psychology to urban ministry studies to, finally, ministry leadership. At the end of freshman year, I felt called into ministry and decided to switch to Grace Online in order to be able to pursue a job in ministry at the same time.”
A Degree with an Impact
Although her degree changed many times, Reinholt feels that landing on a ministry degree online was the right decision. She has learned so much about how to go to the Bible to help encourage people who are struggling.
“Pursuing a ministry degree online has provided me with a lot of important insight on how to relate with other people regardless of where they may be coming from or what their story is. A ministry degree online has helped me continue to foster this calling to its fullest potential,” shares Reinholt.
One of the classes that had a big impact on Reinholt was called Servant Leadership. This class provided her with perspective on how to lead with a servant’s heart like Christ did.
“Throughout this class and many of my other classes, one of the biggest takeaways has been the fact that leadership is more than just being a boss and telling people what to do,” Reinholt reflects. “Leadership is all about building trusting relationships and being real with the people you are leading. This has been a really impactful idea that is a common theme in many of my classes.”
A Degree Put to Use
Reinholt’s ministry degree online has impacted her ministry opportunities and helped pave the way for future open doors. Throughout her time in this field, she has had two main roles: teaching Bible lessons one Sunday a month and working as the High School Program Leader. In this role, she organizes high school events and programming, works directly with adult volunteer teams, and builds relationships with students that are rooted in the Gospel.
“This degree already has been serving and helping me in my day-to-day life working in ministry, and I feel that the knowledge that I gain will only continue to grow me as a leader, said Reinholt. “This degree inspires confidence with how to relate with others, lead well, and share the Gospel with those who may not know the hope that we have in Christ.”