God’s direction often comes when we least expect it. For Joy Cromer, that moment came during one of the most ordinary of tasks encountered by every teenager, homework.
She was 17 years old, sitting on her bed, working on one assignment or another, when out of the blue God interrupted her ordinary day with an extraordinary calling. “He gave me a dream of where I would be someday,” she shares. She saw God bringing healing to the broken, and it changed everything. Even though the where and the how weren’t entirely clear yet, she knew that it meant she would be in ministry the rest of her life.
Passionate about her call to ministry, Joy wrestled with the decision to go to college. “School just wasn’t my top priority,” she explains. “I liked learning and thinking deeply about things, but my passion for ministry overshadowed it.” But her parents, with equal passion, wanted her to continue her education. After much prayer, Joy felt she was supposed to honor them and go to school, so she made plans to attend a local community college after graduation.
As a member of Gateway Church, Joy found an outlet for her passion in serving with student ministry. Ironically, in a way that only the Lord could orchestrate, as she walked out her passion in service to students, it was her desire for education that grew stronger. “School actually became more appealing to me the more I became involved at church,” she shares.
At the time, The King’s University at Gateway was in its infancy – a school that wasn’t previously on her map suddenly popping up in her backyard, and right at the time she needed to transfer. She actually attended TKU’s very first interest meeting at Gateway with her mom, and was captivated by the idea of Education and Ministry. Better Together. “What got me was the fact that they had both ministry experience and academics. To me getting to do both was kind of like killing two birds with one stone,” she shares with a laugh.
Joy dove right in, beginning an internship with Gateway’s student ministry at the same time she enrolled in classes at The King’s. During her first semester, she was also placed with the women’s ministry at Gateway for her practicum experience. “What was coolest for me was getting to apply the things I was learning,” she shares. “It helped me so much! I had already started working events for students, but being able to see how Pink does it really helped me to think bigger picture,” she goes on.
In addition to applying what she was gaining through her practicum, Joy appreciated all of the real-world skills she was being taught in the classroom as well. “I was learning really practical things like creating org charts for volunteers, making budgets, and dealing with conflict in team ministry.” But practical ministry skills weren’t the only thing Joy was learning in her classes.
“Apart from learning the practical things, I’ve learned that I love learning,” she shares. “My time at TKU helped me realize the why behind being a Christ follower,” she adds. God put a passion in her heart for studying the Word, and showed her in an even deeper way what a relationship with Him looks like.
“If you’re looking to find the why in ministry, the Bible or your faith – this is the place for you,” she says. “It will impact the rest of your life.”