Finding Your Calling: Casey Blackbird’s Spiritual Journey to Crown

December 19, 2017

Casey Blackbird was attending another college in Minnesota until one night everything changed. God intervened in his life in a way that now seems providential.

Blackbird is a current sophomore at Crown from Hutchinson, Minnesota. Ever since a young age, Blackbird knew what he wanted to do in life. Many children say that they want to be a firefighter or a police officer, but Blackbird wanted to be a pastor. He pursued this idea until high school when outside influences came into his life leading him to find a passion for music.

During his junior and senior years, while finding his love for music, he searched for which schools to attend. His band director was an alum of another Minnesota school, so Blackbird decided to tour the school. The university, located in northern Minnesota, felt inviting and stress-free. Blackbird enrolled to pursue a degree in Music rather than pursuing a degree in Bible Ministry.

“I was hooked on the prospect of studying music. I planned to compromise God’s plan for me to pastor and chose my desire to be a musician. Because of this desire to keep my will over God’s, I was blinded to His plan for me.”

Shortly after arriving at his chosen college, Blackbird felt pressure to defend his faith. Many students in his residence hall or around campus had beliefs which differed from his. “I got into apologetics and defending the faith there. I read books like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis because I saw that there were differences between my worldview and some of my classmates’ worldviews. I wanted to more deeply investigate my faith so that my beliefs are founded on a solid rock of truth.”


The Call

Blackbird began to experience doubts about pursuing music. He wondered whether or not he was truly glorifying Jesus in his pursuit of music rather than ministry, but he tried to reassure himself this is what he wanted to do. All of that changed in a single night when a powerful presence came over him.

“It was November 6th, last year. I woke at 4:30 in the morning, and there was an overbearing pressure on me and a powerful presence I hadn’t felt before,” Blackbird explains. “Constantly in my head, I kept hearing, ‘This isn’t where I want you, this isn’t what I want you doing, this isn’t where I called you to be, I want you to get up and go.’ I got up that morning after a night of troubled sleep and went to church, and during worship I instantly started crying as I felt God’s presence coming over me. The pastor was preaching about callings, and the Spirit snapped this desire in me to do ministry.”

That night, everything changed. Blackbird realized the call he had was to go into ministry. He did enjoy the challenge of defending his faith, but in the end he wanted to pursue more ministry training and prepare himself for the calling God placed on his life.

Blackbird decided to finish out that year at his current school, focusing on taking his general coursework. He searched for a Christian college, trying to figure out where God wanted him to go. He had some colleges that he wanted to attend in mind, but God constantly closed doors at those schools.

He then remembered during his sophomore year in high school, a Crown College professor filled in one Sunday for his pastor at church and mentioned the college in his message. Due to this recollection, Blackbird decided to check out Crown.

“After touring Crown, I liked it but wasn’t sure about enrolling, but God kept opening doors for me to attend there,” Blackbird explains. Other colleges were not the right size or in the middle of the Twin Cities which made him stressed. Crown seemed to fit what he needed in terms of a degree, the ability to participate in the accelerated master’s degree program, and the representation of Christ throughout the school.

“Transferring can be a very intimidating process,” he says. “Crown made the transition so easy. My admissions counselor, Emily Svendsen, was there for me every step of the way. That was another sign that God wanted me to be here.”


Spiritual Growth

Since starting at Crown, many people have played an essential role in Blackbird’s life despite arriving only a short time ago. “Prof. Keldon Ellis has been with me the whole way, ever since I emailed him in early 2017 with questions about music,” says Blackbird. “He has been guiding me and encouraging me every step of the way. He’s been a great mentor to me on campus.” Blackbird also mentions how Dr. Phil Petersen, Dr. Bill Kuhn, and Hal and Martha Swift have stood as mentors and shaped him into a spiritual leader.

“When you come here, you can feel God moving in a lot of different ways and see Him at work,” he says. “Christ is really at the core of everything. It is encouraging for Christians, especially going to college where most students lose their faith, but here faith is bolstered.”

Blackbird is now studying with a major in Pastoral Leadership and a minor in Music Ministry.

“Lately what is on my heart–and this is something that is emphasized at Crown–is to disciple people and to spread God’s love to as many people as possible,” Blackbird explains. “I have this picture in my head that after I graduate, I will be a senior pastor leading a church, but at the same time God may lead me to a completely different path.”


Blackbird is still striving to follow what plans God has for him.

Now I know–this is where I am supposed to be,” says Blackbird.