I started waiting at 16 years old.  I wanted to have a life in ministry but had NO idea how to make it happen. So I waited. I waited to grow up.

At 18, I finished high school and went to the School of Ministry in Toronto and felt like the waiting was over. At SoM, I got to taste what a life of ministry was like and I KNEW that was where God wanted me. Leading.

But it’s scary. People count on you; trust in you to help guide them. You could make a mistake or say something that they disagree with. You could be loved . . .or hated. I struggle with being a people-pleaser so the prospect of being hated freaked me right out! After I finished the school, I interned at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship for a year and I got to work in ministry but I wasn’t at the forefront, which suited my fear perfectly but this quiet voice inside me kept saying ‘You know administration is not what you’re here (on earth) for.’ I felt a bit unsettled, I wanted more but my fear held me fast.

While at TACF, I met Lee Houghton, my husband. We got engaged while I was interning and in September 2005, we got married and felt God calling us to move to North Wales (which is where Lee’s from). I was 20. We really weren’t sure why God wanted us in Wales, but we moved all the same.

After a few months, things started falling into place and it became clear that God had put us here to help plant a church. Lee was excited; it had always been his dream to plant a church! i61 (from Isaiah 61) was taking shape and as the plans developed, Lee and I were given the roles of Worship Pastors. Outwardly, I tried to be as enthusiastic as I could, I mean I WAS excited but . . . inwardly, I was frozen with terror. Hadn’t this been what I was waiting for? I WANTED to be a leader, I WANTED to step into the plans that God had for my life, but I was too scared. So I started waiting again, waiting for the fear to pass, waiting until I felt ‘qualified’ to be in a position of leadership. I was given the title of Worship Pastor but unconsciously shied away from leading, leaving Lee to make the majority of the decisions. He would try to get me to step up, but every time, I would pull back, and Lee would have to carry the load. A few years passed and I noticed that people didn’t seem to look at me like a leader the way they looked at Lee. I started to get frustrated and upset. I wanted to lead but I didn’t know what was going wrong? I told Lee I felt like people didn’t look at me like a leader because of my age and lack of experience. Lee would gently point out that I tended to lean on him to lead, that sometimes I hid from my responsibility and in those moments I saw the truth in his words and vowed to make an effort to embrace the role God had given me. I’d pray and ask for courage and the boldness I needed, then the time would come to do so and again, I’d bolt.

At Christmas time, my aunt told me she thought 2010 was going to be a big year in my life. That something would click and I would finally step into a plan that God had for me for a long time but that I had been resisting (she didn’t say the ‘resisting’ part but I knew that was what had been happening) and I knew what she was talking about. It was time for me to stop shying away for the position of leadership that I’ve been in for the past 4 years. It was time to stop waiting around for my fear to disappear and realize that God had chosen me for this job. And if God thought I was ready, who was I to say I wasn’t?

It’s been a couple of months but I’m FINALLY embracing the position God has put me in. I’m starting to understand just how much this job is MEANT for me! God took my passion for worship and loving people and turned it into something I get to do on a daily basis!

So my question to you is, are you waiting? And if so, what are you waiting for? When God has something for you, grab it with both hands and run with it! After all, if our fantastic, incredible God chose YOU, how can we possibly say no?


Bio: Jesus following, tea-drinking, paint splattered, pink-loving, creative story teller from Canada, married to Lee Houghton, mom to my 2 girls and worship pastor of i61. I tweet! Say hi :O)


Pastor SteveO · 16 Feb ’10 at 1:47 pm

Hey Sar,
that makes for VERY interesting reading and sounds like you are working it all through brilliantly. You ARE a leader and you make a dang fine one. Stepping Up is scary but has great rewards not only now but you are cranking up the number in heaven too. Go Gal Go
by “I ain’t biased in any way, but that’s my gal”

Billy Jepma · 16 Feb ’10 at 4:32 pm

Wow. God works in many ways doesn’t he? I sometimes feel that way, afraid to stand up for God, or afriad to be a leader,like you, in fear of being ridiculed. I believe God has been helping me see His Love and that I shouldn’t be afraid to show the world my love for Him. Great post!

Leah Stockholm · 16 Feb ’10 at 9:21 pm

Wow! This really just summed a lot of my life up…I have always felt like I was supposed to lead, and just the other night it was confirmed by one of my pastors. But for some reason I just can’t step out. I don’t know why I’m afraid,but I just get so tongue tied and it’s very discouraging. I loved when you said “People count on you; trust in you to help guide them. You could make a mistake or say something that they disagree with. You could be loved . . .or hated. I struggle with being a people-pleaser so the prospect of being hated freaked me right out!” Because that has been on my mind constantly lately and I have felt overwhelmed, but it’s great to know I’m not alone. Leading is a desire of my heart and i’m hoping to step into it sooner than later 🙂
Thank you for this.

Lady Warb · 17 Feb ’10 at 5:20 am

WOW! That was brill!!
I’m pretty sure Gods excited about 2010 as well, your amazing and I’m excited to see what God is gonna do with you! xx

Sarah Houghton · 18 Feb ’10 at 7:11 pm

Pastor SteveO, love you! Thanks for loving me and believing in me :O)

Billy, thanks for your comment, it’s comforting to know that there are others who feel the same as me. God’s love is incredible though, isn’t it? And equips us to do things we didn’t think we’d be able to do in our wildest dreams – awesome!

Leah, stepping out is SO tough and scary . . .ahhhh! But know that you are def. NOT alone :O) And when it comes to those moments where you’re about to lead and feel afraid and/or tongue tied, pray! I pray my pants off before leading, haha! And although a lot of the nerves stay with me, God never lets me down.
Us scaredie cats can stick together and be secure in the fact that God has plans for us. He picked US, so let’s go for it!

Thanks Lo! I’m excited too!

    Leah Stockholm · 1 Mar ’10 at 12:33 pm

    Thank you for the encouragement Sarah! God is so good 🙂

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