Today, we are excited to offer the first installment of a four-part interview with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Nancy, you were raised in a godly home. Can you tell us a little about your parents, your growing up years, and how your childhood shaped your desire to serve full-time in Christian ministry?
How old were you when you repented of your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ? Can you tell us a little about your conversion experience?
My spiritual pilgrimage began months before I was born, as my parents dedicated me to the Lord and purposed to teach me (and the six children that would follow) the Word and ways of God.
Much as a greenhouse is designed to nurture young plants and protect them from influences that might damage their tender roots, the climate of our home was carefully controlled to minimize influences that could possibly be unwholesome (we did not own a television or take a paper, for example) and to provide constant nurture in the Word of God.
In that spiritual climate, the Spirit of God cultivated the soil of my heart, making it tender and responsive to His wooing, and making me aware of my need for a Savior. My earliest conscious memory is trusting Christ as my Savior at the age of four on May 14, 1963. (At the time, my parents were using a book called Leading Little Ones to God in our family devotions. This book is a chronological, doctrinal survey of the Scripture; it is still in print and is a great resource for parents with young children.)
Early in my Christian life, I learned about one of the most essential ingredients in nurturing a personal relationship with the Lord, as I became aware that my father began each day with a practice that he called “devotions.” From shortly after his conversion in his mid 20s, until the day he went to heaven, he never missed one single day of this devotional practice. Nothing was more important to him than cultivating his relationship with the Lord, and he believed strongly that nothing was more essential to maintaining that relationship than a daily time alone with the Lord in the Word and prayer.
Daily devotions was not something my parents forced on us, but the influence of my dad’s example and training in this area was profound. The image of my dad on his knees before the Lord is indelibly etched on my mind and in my heart.
My early years were also deeply impacted by reading biographies of great men and women of God and by meeting and interacting with godly believers and Christian workers that my parents hosted in our home. I loved to sit and listen to them talk about the Lord, to ask them questions, and to hear them pray. The Spirit used these two influences to give me a passion for Christ and for ministry.
You pursued music—piano performance—in college. What did you want to do with your life? How did you begin serving in ministry instead?
By the time I was six or seven years old, I had a conscious sense that God’s hand was on my life and that He had set me apart to serve Him. Although I had no idea what shape that calling would take, I have never been able to fathom doing anything other giving my life to further His Kingdom.
Early on, the Lord provided opportunities for me to serve Him and others. I taught my first Sunday School lesson when I was eight years old. From the time I was in junior high school, I began having regular opportunities to teach the Word—which I loved to do. All the way through high school and college, I made myself available to serve as the Lord opened doors. Most of those opportunities had to do with teaching or writing.
I studied piano from the time I was four and continued doing so through college. But much of my time in high school and college was spent in various types of ministry. God never wastes experiences—the disciplines, training, and sensitivity I received through my music studies have all been put to great use in the work to which He has called me.
Can you tell us about your early years with Life Action Ministries?
As a young teen, as a result of reading accounts of spiritual awakenings in the past—both in history and in the Scripture, God placed in my heart a deep burden for genuine, Spirit-wrought revival in the church. But I didn’t know anyone else who seemed to understand or share that burden.
When I graduated from college, I went to work in the children’s ministries of a large local church. That is where I first connected with Life Action, at the age of 20. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I discovered a whole ministry that was devoted to the mission of believing God for revival in the church!
I have served with Life Action for more than 28 years—it has been a rich, rewarding relationship—a wonderful place for spiritual growth, encouragement, accountability, and partnering in ministry with like-hearted believers who take God seriously.