A Struggling Christian Seeks Hope and Finds a New Calling
Most people land a new job after hearing about the open position from a friend or family member. Others seek help from a recruiter or come across a job posting online while searching for a position.
Cheryl Cummings, Reasons to Believe’s first communications strategist, discovered the apologetics nonprofit after watching Hugh Ross’s testimony on the popular Alisa Childers YouTube channel in November 2020. It was the height of the pandemic, and she was eagerly searching for answers.
“I never learned how to defend my faith,” Cummings says. “But I always had questions. I had plenty of time on my hands, so I was looking on YouTube for pastors and bingeing Christian content. I had no idea what apologetics was, but then I came across Hugh Ross.”
She watched the podcast where Ross explained the meaning of “yôm” in Genesis 1 and his belief that God did not create the earth in six 24-hour days. This gave her chills. It “blew my mind,” she says. Suddenly, things started to make more sense.
“I thought, this is amazing!” says Cummings. “I went to reasons.org after Hugh mentioned it and realized that I’d been looking for something like this but never knew it existed. The Holy Spirit led me to start supporting RTB as a monthly partner to help further the kingdom, and I still am.”
This married mother of two small children wasn’t looking for a new job at the time. In fact, she was focused on staying sane amid a whirlwind that included working from home as a marketing strategist and content manager for an international luxury resort group, while also homeschooling her kids. At the same time, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she became the caretaker for her 90-year-old grandfather.
“I felt like I was losing my mind,” she says. “I was completely overwhelmed, trying to do everything in my own strength and avoid making any mistakes. Being a perfectionist did not help my situation.”
“Looking back, God was purposefully giving me more than I could handle. I had built up idols in my life—around personal achievement and social media—that needed to be broken. So, I’m grateful he allowed me to go through such a depressing time—I know that sounds crazy, but honestly that’s what I needed to fully surrender and let him reprioritize my life. It’s like he was saying, ‘Are you going to listen to me now? I can carry this weight for you.’”
That’s when major changes started happening. She took a leave of absence from work and fasted from all social media accounts for three months. She said that her mental health improved almost instantaneously, and she could finally hear God more clearly.
When the pandemic and stay-at-home guidelines initially began, she also discovered The Chosen, a crowd-funded, multiseason streaming drama that has since become wildly popular. Like many watching, she had been raised in a Christian home, but the Bible was hard to understand on her own. Seeing it played out in front of her inspired her to pick up the Scriptures again.
“After watching the first episode I started reading Matthew,” she says. “I stuck with it and was reading it daily. This is when I realized that I needed to know what my faith stands on.”
Years before, Cummings had attended San Diego State University, where her faith slowly became lukewarm. She didn’t have any Christian friends in the dorms and was attending a large church where it felt hard to get connected. During her first semester, the professor of her world religions class made a big impact on her, but not in a positive way. She was assigned to write her final paper on “Why all religions are false.” She called her dad crying.
“I told him I couldn’t renounce my faith, but I didn’t know what to do since the majority of my grade was riding on this final paper,” she says. “My dad sent me a book on the evidence for the Bible, and I took the chance, writing about the fact Christianity is true and evidence exists. I got a C- for that perspective.”
She fell in love with marketing while in college and later received a business marketing degree before going on to earn a master’s in organizational management.
This is her first time working in ministry, where her position allows her to draw upon her corporate experience in search engine optimization (SEO), omnichannel marketing, data analysis, and content strategy to help grow RTB’s reach online and improve overall user experience.
“God orchestrated all of this,” Cummings says. “When I look back at the many challenges I had to endure and problems I had to solve at past companies, it was all in preparation for this position. It’s a great reminder that God doesn’t waste anything, and his timing is perfect. I’m so grateful to be a part of this ministry, working alongside the smartest and most humble people I’ve ever met.”