In each Epistle, this column features a single question to which our pastors are asked to reply. It is usually connected to the issue’s theme and crafted to reveal the unique personalities and experiences of our beloved leaders.

Briefly share with us how and when God called you to full-time ministry.

Pastor June Barrow
Before I was a pastor, I was a wife, a mother, and a teacher. In the middle of a busy life, I began to want to really know the Lord. Though I am an extrovert, I experienced a two-year period of deep reflection, quiet, and prayer. I began waking up in the morning with the thought that I should go to seminary. My call was clear to me and I am grateful. I love loving the people of God!

Pastor Steven Grant
Throughout my youth, I was convinced that my life’s work would be as a musician. During my undergraduate years, I began to sense a new direction in my life. I found myself drawn to the working of the church, the truth of Scripture, and a connection with God’s people. What was happening? I strongly resisted this new leading for over a year. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not shake the conviction that I was being called to ministry. To my surprise (and dismay), when I first mentioned this notion to my parents and other significant adults in my life, I received an immediate positive response. Soon, elders in my church, my pastor, Sunday school teachers, and others began to encourage me to pursue ministry. Yet I still
resisted. I must confess that when I finally submitted to God’s will in this area, the peace I felt was something I had never experienced before. God’s way is always the best way!

Pastor Su Kim
My call to full-time pastoral ministry had many unexpected turns. I was an electrical engineer when God called my family to become full-time missionaries in Thailand. But first, He led us to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary for training and my preparation for ordination. Four months before I graduated, the previously open door at our church in Maryland unexpectedly closed. One of my professors suggested reaching out to Pastor Doug for assistance in connecting us with a church… and that is when God called my family here. It was during my time of deputation and preparation for missions that the Lord confirmed an eventual call to full-time pastoral ministry. It has been an unexpectedly delightful journey!

Pastor Doug Pratt
My decision to become a pastor was not a lightning bolt from the sky but rather a gradual process during college of discerning what my talents and passions were and how those might point me towards God’s purpose for me. I discovered early on that I loved books, and I loved talking about them. When I started college, I thought the right career for me would be as a teacher of literature in high school or college. During the summer of my junior year, I was hired by my home church to work for three months with the youth ministry. I discovered that I loved teaching teens the Bible and its relevance to life. So that got me started in exploring the possibility of being a pastor. It’s the ideal job for me: I get to read over and over in close detail “the greatest book ever written” and then talk about it to a willing audience on Sunday mornings!

Pastor Brad Rogers
For most of my childhood, I had planned to be a physician. Accordingly, I took every science class that I could during high school and even applied for the pre-med program at the University of Iowa. Then, the summer between my junior and senior years of high school, a series of events caused me to rethink my life path. I was called upon to preach a message at a youth leadership conference on medicine, and through heartfelt conversations with extended family, and even a dream, the Lord laid it on my heart to become a pastor. I quickly shared this new sense of calling with my family and my mentor who each affirmed the call. From there, the pastor of my home church allowed me to shadow his ministry by taking me on home communion calls and inviting me to become a Youth Elder. My incredible journey toward full-time ministry began at 17 years of age and continues today!

Pastor Allen Walworth
I began to sense a call to pastoral ministry during my freshman year of college. I was enrolled as a pre-med major since my childhood dream was to be a physician. But over the course of that year, I gradually came to an awareness that God had other plans for my life. Since I had grown up active in church and in a family that valued faith and honored the ministry, I was more than willing to say “yes” to that call. In fact, my greatest reservation about accepting the call to pastoral ministry was my willingness to do it. In my church experience, most of the ministers described their experience as initial disobedience—running from the call—like Jonah fleeing to Tarshish. So I wasn’t sure if God would actually call a willing volunteer!