LEWISBURG, Ky. (KT) - “I didn’t become a minister because I decided to,” said Shane Holt, the youth director at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Lewisburg, Kentucky. Rather, his involvement in Christian ministry has been wholly dependent upon the sovereign will of God.
Holt was raised in the Mormon church and never evaluated what he was taught.
“I had been told stuff since I was young, and I just took it at face value,” said Holt.
When he joined the Marines after graduating high school, Holt tried to hold onto the faith of his childhood and attended a local Mormon church several times. But he wasn’t devoted.
“I didn’t really live that life,” Holt added.
A camping trip with a friend began to chip away at his unsteady foundation of faith.
“We looked up at the sky and there were stars everywhere,” said Holt. The sight inspired some weighty reflections including life on other planets.
“I wonder if there are any other planets?” Holt mused at one point.
“I know there are,” his friend replied. “I’m going to have one someday.”
According to Mormon doctrine, faithful practitioners will one day become gods and rule over their own planets. Even though Holt had grown up in the Mormon church, he hadn’t processed that belief and was taken aback.
“How could there be more than one God? Philosophically, it didn’t make sense—that I could become a god,” Holt said.
At that point, his theological framework began to unravel. He started asking questions and seeking out the Christians in his life for answers. “I came to realize what I was after wasn’t in the Mormon church,” Holt said. “There was just no truth there—it was a house of cards.”
Feeling deceived and betrayed by the church of his youth, Holt spiraled into rebellion and anger. And that is when God placed a special group of people in his path.
Holt began coaching a football team at a local school and several young men stood out.
“There was this group of kids. They were Christians and they weren’t shy about it,” Holt said. “They were just regular kids—not holier than thou.”
Even when they were mocked by other students, they didn’t apologize for their faith. “I noticed that,” Holt said.
Though the team never witnessed to Holt, their behavior spoke louder than words and God used their faithfulness to plant a seed.
That seed finally bore fruit after Holt got home from work one night. Somehow, every TV show he had tried to record that day had been replaced by a Billy Graham sermon.
“For some reason, I sat watching it,” said Holt. “It was in the middle of that when God put conviction on me—that the way I had been living was vile.”
Holt noted that his salvation experience was not necessarily a happy one. “I was laying on the floor crying,” he said. “I felt like I imagined Peter felt when he found out he had denied Christ three times and wept bitterly.”
And just like Peter, God met Holt where he was with grace, forgiveness, and a call to ministry.
“That’s what amazes me—I did nothing but get angry and reject him,” said Holt. “That’s the extent of my work. Everything else was him.”
In time, Holt was given several opportunities to teach even though he had never instructed anyone. “Here I am with a bunch of second-graders in a Sunday school class,” he said of his first experience teaching.
That’s where his call to ministry blossomed.
“I felt the call for a long time,” Holt said. “I would lay awake at night thinking, ‘I need to say this,’ but I wasn’t prepared.”
An education in Christian ministry, the faithful discipleship of other believers, and hands-on experience at local churches then equipped him to step into positions of ministry leadership.
Now, Holt is allowing Romans 1:16 to shape his philosophy of ministry. “I’m big on getting out of the way and letting God do his thing,” he said. “I truly believe that it’s the gospel that has the power, not me.”
As he disciples students and preaches God’s Word at Mt. Pleasant, Holt will continue to emphasize that God does the saving, the calling, and the sustaining.
“Again, it’s not me,” he said. “All I did was reject God. Through that whole process, I rejected him. But he decided it was time; he put the ducks in a row; he made sure things happened.”
All the glory to God.