When I started college at Samford University in Birmingham, I was a pre-med major with the goal of becoming an optometrist. Now that I am in my senior year, I look back and smile up at heaven. I will graduate this spring with a major in marketing and an entirely different goal: to spread the good news of Jesus through technology, written communication and creativity.
My plan failed
After I took my first biology class, I knew science was not what I wanted to spend years learning. I began to research other majors. I started asking questions of my resident assistant, who was in accounting. I knew I had always loved numbers, so her route interested me, but not for long. I soon realized that my way of deciding my major was not working.
The moment my plan failed was the very moment God’s life-giving plan for me began. I started to pray that God would reveal to me what His plan was.
However, a week before my decision was due to my adviser, I still did not have a clear answer. I visited the Career Development Center on campus and took a skills and personality test. It told me the majors I would be best suited for and marketing was on that list.
It was obvious to me in that moment which major I should choose — suddenly it all made sense. With this major my love of concreteness and structure was able to combine with my creative mind in one career path.
During the summer after my sophomore year I began to pray that God would lead me in how to use my major after graduation. I vividly remember being at the lake with my family one day, lying on a towel reading a book and hearing the voice of God say, “You will work in a church.”
At first I didn’t know what to do with that. I questioned whether that statement was truly from God, but I felt assured that it was, knowing I would never come up with that on my own.
I reached out to the social media specialist at my church and shadowed her a few times to see what marketing in a church looked like. I fell in love with the idea of loving God’s people through social media. I later secured an internship with Redstone Church, Vestavia Hills, where I drove all of their social media accounts by myself for an entire semester and learned what it means to serve on a church team, be a part of a culture outside my own and work together with leadership to develop a cohesive communication strategy.
After graduation I hope to work in a church or nonprofit ministry as part of the communication/social media team. However, because such positions are rare (especially in churches), I am open to jobs in the secular marketplace as well.
I also anticipate earning a certificate of ministry leadership through Highlands College, through which I hope to learn more about Jesus and vocational ministry. I hope this will serve as a complement to my marketing degree from Samford by growing my skills in graphic design, effective communication and technological knowledge.
Though the future is always uncertain, I am trusting that God will lead me to where He wants me to work and where the gifts He’s given me will most benefit His kingdom right now.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Taylor Gillilan, of Pell City, is a senior marketing major at Samford. After graduation she hopes to pursue a career in marketing in the ministry environment. She is a member of Church of the Highlands and in her spare time enjoys reading, mentoring, writing, traveling to new places and venturing to local coffee shops. She blogs at www.socialsteeples.wordpress.com.
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