My vocational calling is to the vocation of pastor. My calling to the vocation of pastor began at the age of five. It has been said that “(calling) begins as an idea or often triggered by an event..” (Chen). There were four events in my life that have drawn me back to a pastoral calling as my vocation of ministry. The first thing that triggered my calling was the desire to emulate my childhood pastor. It was through his ministry and at his invitation that I went forward to proclaim Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. It was because of my newfound connection to God as Father and Jesus as companion that I discovered the desire within to help others find the same connection.
The second event was when I first accepting an associate pastorate. My senior pastor and I had conflicts and I resigned. After that, I reevaluated my call by working at a series of other jobs.
The third event was the Walk to Emmaus. The combination of prayerful silence and listening to the Holy Spirit during the many talks, discussion groups and worship experiences over the weekend all worked together to draw me back to my first call to pastoral work. While working in my last church, my calling was confirmed through my passion and abilities in administration, counseling, preaching, worship leadership and administration. Unfortunately, I allowed the many cares of life to overwhelm me and my wife left me. The divorce devastated me and I resigned my pastoral position. This time, I pushed my calling aside and sought to make a living by other means. I ran away from the pastoral call by jumping into other work. However, the pain of losing my true place never left my heart.
The fourth and most recent event was while I was on a personal retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemane. It wasn’t until my retreat to Gethsemane that I finally felt I had overcome my past shame and guilt. Not only that, I realized God would use all the negative experiences of my past to help others (Chen). I also felt the assurance that I was at the right place spiritually and mentally to undertake the long road toward ordination in the United Methodist Church. This assurance was confirmed through prayer, scripture reading pastoral counsel and the affirmation of former parishioners (Chen). Having sought fulfillment in nearly every other profession, I gladly return to my original call and happily live out the rest of my life as a pastor; whether for pay or not. It is my vocation for the rest of my days.
Reference: Chen, S. “The Nature of Calling” Asbury Theological Seminary. 02 Jan 2018. Lecture
*This is a section from a paper, entitled, “Call Paper” that I turned in January 13, 2018 as an assignment for Vocation To Ministry course, CD501-W1, taught by Dr. S. Chen at Asbury Theological Seminary