Name: Julia Ahlers
Education: Apprenticeship as a Druggist
What are your strengths and talents?
Organizing, creativity, music, openness, encouraging, teaching, humor, ambitiousness
What was your dream job before you became a Christian ? What was your passion?
I already became a Christian when I was 12 years old but it wasn’t until after my apprenticeship that I decided anew to give my life to Jesus and that’s when my calling came to life!
How were you influenced by your home and your parents?
I grew up in a non-christian household. My grandmother took me to church however and encouraged me a lot. My parents separated when I was 12/13 which means that I didn’t have an ideal of a healthy family and no model of what it looked like to live one’s faith in daily life.
When did you become a Christian? When did you decide to become a pastor? Was there a certain situation that made you change your mind?
My personal conversion was more of a process. I decided quite early that I believed in Jesus and that I wanted to accept his word but I didn’t really start ‘living’ my faith until later. Like I said I was just missing a role model. I went to some very moving christian conferences during a time in my life when all human relationships seemed to have failed and I fell on my knees before Jesus. The change of mind really took place during this time and I went to Australia to do a mission year, but I wanted even more. My husband and I decided that we wanted to go all in for Jesus and so God showed us over and over again that THS was the right for us.
5. Aren’t you afraid to lead a boring and quite exhausting life as a pastor?Renouncement, high moral standards, annoying people and even unemployment?
Boring and exhausting in one sentence? No, I haven’t thought about that for a second. Working for God is probably the most exciting thing you can do if you believe that God isn’t boring and antiquated but alive and powerful. Of course it is difficult sometimes and some people are hard to deal with but God always gives me new love to deal with it. I couldn’t say the same thing about my old job.
Not that God didn’t want to give me love for the people I was dealing with but I didn’t ask for it.
I also don’t think that I or we need to be worried or that we necessarily have to give up on things. God has alwyas taken care of us, also financially. He will continue to do so if we put him first.
6. Couldn’t you build gods kingdom just as effectively as a politician or a businessman?
Of course! However, it is easy to get professionnally blinkered since you are forced to follow certain rules and guidelines. Nonetheless you can certainly be very effective in a different position as well.
It’s always about introducing people to Jesus’ love and it makes sense to do it where most people are.
My father-in-law is an entrepreneur and you can tell that something is different because Jesus plays a role in his life. I actually really wish that God’s love was carried more into schools, companies and politics.
7. At the THS – Academy you get an insight in the everyday life of a real pastor. What does that look like? What do you like especially about it and what do you dislike?
That’s hard to say.. You have so many different challenges as a pastor. Personally, I especially like that I have so much contact to other people. You get so much insight into other peoples lives and get to watch how God changes them.
Although I also think that the work depends on the church on what their focus lies on.
8. What is essential to learn for an ongoing pastor?
I think it’s especially important to learn to be humble. In modern churches there can be a tendancy to create a big hype around the pastors. Jesus himself said that he didn’t come to be served but in order to serve. As an ongoing pastor I have to watch out that my heart doesn’t become filled with too much pride. I also think that it’s important know one’s identity in God.
If you want to go all in for Jesus, Satan will try to attack you and bring you down and I think it’s important to be aware of that.
It’s important to know what God says who you are ! That includes having an intense and constant relationship with God in order to understand that he loves me, because only then can I love myself and others.
9. Many pastors dream of a big breakthrough and great church growth and are dissappointed. Some even quit. Why do you think that is?
To be honest, I don’t know. I am sure there are multiple reasons. But as I mentioned, Satan will always strike where people work in Gods name. I think there are many good visions and ideas out there but the question is whether they are really God’s visions and ideas. Everything starts in prayer and whenever I have a certain dream, like building a church, I always ask God first what my next steps should be.
10. Why did you decide to study at the THS-Academy and not at a different school for theology ?
There are many good schools and programs but for some reason my husband and I had the strong feeling that we should go to THS. I think that we’re quite right here since THS doesn’t only give us the theological basics but also forms leaders. I think if you wouldn’t say about yourself that you like leading, then other programs might be more suited. Moreover, we both really liked the dual-system which combines theoretical and practical aspects. I’m a very active person and so I’m happy that I can really participate at church.
11. What have you learned most so far? Where have you changed because of the program ?
Well, I haven’t been here for very long but I think that I just feel extremely motivated to continue to give everything for Jesus because I get so much back.
It’s very encouraging to know that there are so many others that are doing this apprenticeship with me and that want to build God’s kingdom.
I also feel more stable and purposeful in my wish to serve God since I’m learning so many useful things that help me to actually implement my passion and to see actual breakthroughs in the future.
12. If you imagine a typical week in 10 years – you can dream big – what would it look like?
I imagine that by then we will be leading a church or a campus. I hope that we will have many events and conferences with many participants that experience personal breakthroughs. I would also like to see that we work closely with the city through schools, companies, city festivals etc.. I imagine that people know our church very well and only associate it with positive things. That they send their children and youngsters to us because they know that we have a great kids- and youth group. We will rent out our facilities to companies so they can use them for meetings and be blessed by our support. I also hope that we’re always present in local events in which we can talk about Jesus the savior and his love for us. More personally I can also imagine doing support work for women and couples. But as you can see I have many wishes and dreams and I will always have to remind myself to ‘talk it over’ with God first to figure out what my next steps should be.