It was the summer of 1990, and the young girl was Lori Murillo – one of CIY’s current board of trustee members and the teen pastor for Compass Christian Church in Colleyville, Texas. Her work in ministry today points directly back to that moment in 1990. In fact, as Murillo was attending CIY’s Summer Conference (now called MOVE), she said she knew very clearly that she was there for a purpose. Looking back, she knows that moment was part of a divine plan.
"It’s something I’ve been called to do, something beautiful for God, and I just love how He’s brought me here.
“It was my first real opportunity to connect and listen to God on my own,” Murillo said. “I had some classes with #### Gibson and Robin Sigars, and those two gave me such great challenges for my faith. But it was one of the last nights of the conference – Leonard Navarre was giving the call. I remember he was asking what the cross meant to us … I heard God calling me in that impassioned cry – but I knew that meant I would have to get up out of my seat, walk through my row and up to the stage. I thought I was going to throw up. I just sat there stirring as God told me I was called to a life of ministry.”
At that time, Summer Conference asked students to come up to the stage to make a first-time decision for Christ for, rededicate their lives to Christ, commit to vocational ministry, or be a “World Christian” (the equivalent of today’s call to Kingdom work). Murillo said it was clear that her heart was on vocational ministry … but it was a different time and women were not as encouraged to join the ministry as a career.
“I remember looking at that card, knowing I would be the only girl up there with young men and have everyone thinking ‘what’s she doing?’ So instead … I chose World Christian,” she said. “I was frozen in that moment and I didn’t have the courage or framework to state my calling. When I was up there my mind was screaming, ‘But I’m vocational ministry! I’m vocational ministry!’”
Murillo’s passion for pastoring never faded. She became a teacher and a reading specialist, and she always served in a pastoring role for her small group ministry. Murillo also served on the staff at CIY for many years.
Then, two years later on Dec. 17, 2017, Murillo finally found fulfillment from that moment when she was just 15 years old at Summer Conference. Surrounded by men at the celebratory service of her church, she became an ordained minister.
“It is just crazy how God has brought me full turn, from that moment when I was an insecure girl to now – I finally publicly took my calling,” she said. “It’s something I’ve been called to do, something beautiful for God, and I just love how He’s brought me here.”
“The profound impact of Christ In Youth for me personally is tremendous,” Murillo said. “Not only did I experience the call to ministry at a CIY event, but as a former staff member, I learned the countless ways God's Kingdom can be expanded using your specific gifts and passions. Also, 18 years ago, I met my husband at a CIY event. You can definitely see how the work of God through this organization has impacted every area of my life. Each year I pray students have an eternal, unforgettable connection to God. Because of the quality programming and the way God's truth is preached, I fully expect each student to journey home knowing they are seen by God. As they experience the simple joy of knowing ‘Jesus Loves Me,’ I know those priceless moments indeed change their lives – not just for a year, but for a lifetime.”