4 May 2022

'Am I already what God intends me to become? No, I am a work in progress'

Territorial Envoy Lee Highton-Nicholls

Territorial Envoy Lee Highton-Nicholls
Territorial Envoy Lee Highton-Nicholls
In the weeks before Candidates Sunday (8 May), we ask people what the theme Becoming means to them.

As I consider my 42 years of life to date, I recognise that I have become many things already and that in the future I will become many other things too.

Aged four I became a pupil and, over the course of the next 15 years spent in education, I continued to learn and grow. I am convinced that the experiences I have encountered have helped to shape me. After school I became an employee and, over the years of my employment, I took on many different roles and responsibilities.

Seventeen years ago my life changed for ever when I became a husband and, eleven years ago, a father. Even in these relationships there have been changes – I wait with bated breath for the day when I become the parent of a teenager!

Becoming logo for Candidates Sunday 2022

Having become a Christian during my teens, I recognise that this pattern of becoming and then developing and changing is apparent in my faith journey too. I met Jesus and invited him to live in my heart all those years ago and have grown with him over the past 30 years.

Philippians 1:6 says: ‘I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you’ (The Voice). This has certainly been my experience since becoming a Christian.

The Creator of all things had a plan for me. He planned for me before I was born and orchestrated my life in such a way that, one day, I would be invited by a friend to attend the Salvation Army Boys Adventure Corps (Sabac).

I remember vividly the prayer that I made at Sabac: ‘Lord, Jesus, help me to discover you as the way, the truth and life, and to find for myself that following you is the greatest adventure of all.’

What an adventure I have had so far! The beauty of the adventure is that there are new experiences to be had every day as I continue to become more and more like Jesus.

More than 20 years ago I heard God’s call on my life to full-time ministry in The Salvation Army. However, I spent many years running away, ignoring God and convincing myself that this was something I could not become.

I felt that the expectations were too high to achieve and that I could never be a corps leader. I resolved that the easiest thing to do was avoid conversations about calling and, when prompted or asked by people, I would just shrug my shoulders and say, ‘If God wants me, he will make it clear.’ The reality was that God was making it clear, and I knew it.

I had become a Christian, I had become a soldier, I had become a local officer – I had become many things that God had called me to be. I felt I had done enough and set about finding peace and contentment in my career and family life.

The dictionary says the meaning of the word ‘become’ is ‘begin to be’. As time progressed, I felt uneasy in my work and felt it was time again to consider who I was beginning to be.

The verse from Philippians reminds us that God will not leave us mid-design, like an unfinished piece of art or a house makeover where the funds have run dry. No, we are told that the Creator, our creator, will keep perfecting us. He is constantly working within us, inspiring and shaping our lives as we become more like Jesus.

Am I already what God intends me to become? No, I am a work in progress.

Becoming a territorial envoy in July 2021 was just another stage on my journey of becoming who God intends me to be. Every day I find myself still learning and being shaped by the new experiences that come my way. God is still at work in my life and I believe I am still becoming who he wants me to be – and will do until the day I am with him in Eternity.

What does God want me to be? It is expressed in an old song by Edward Henry Joy: ‘More than all else I would become/ The servant of my servant- Lord;/ My highest glory his reproach,/ To do his will my best reward’ (SASB 617).

  • This article was originally published in Salvationist magazine on 30 April 2022.

Testimony by

Territorial Envoy Lee Highton-Nicholls

Territorial Envoy Lee Highton-Nicholls

Associate Officer, Willenhall

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A commitment to serve as a Salvation Army leader for a minimum of three years.

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