My Call to Preach

I love talking about my “call to preach!”   In retrospect, I see my call into the ministry as progressive.  Before I discuss my personal journey, let me remind you that all of us are called to salvation.  You are not a second class Christian if you have not been called into what people refer to as “the ministry.”  Everyone, for that matter, has a ministry.

I can’t ever remember not wanting to be a preacher.  In elementary school, my third grade teacher asked our class one day what we wanted to be when we grew up.  Of course, the answers were pretty standard: a fireman, a baseball player, a police officer, a teacher, etc. When my turn came, I proudly said, “I want to be a preacher!”  My teacher was shocked!

Guess what?  I didn’t really know what preachers did, but I still had my heart set on becoming one!  Now I know it was the Holy Spirit moving in my heart.  

At any rate, my focus remained on the church.  I fell in love with the Assemblies of God church in Jefferson.  One evening the pastor and his wife visited our home.  I was feeling quite dejected that evening, and when it came time for introductions, I hid in the corner.  The pastor’s wife noticed that shy little boy in the corner, made her way to me, knelt down in front of me–face to face–and said, “My, what a handsome little boy you are!”  

What she didn’t know at the time was that kids at school that very day had called me “fat head” and really hurt my feelings.  She gently placed her hands on both sides of my head and just loved me.  Her smile and love melted my heart.  I ran to my bedroom, threw myself on my bed and cried and cried.  That night I determined to become a preacher!

Four or five years later, my pastor’s wife took me to camp, where I was gloriously saved and called to preach!  The progressive calling on my life was birthed into reality on Tuesday, August 4, 1970!  I knew exactly what I was going to do with my life when I got up from that altar.  No doubts!  I was called to preach the gospel.

The call continued to intensify over the next few years, when in 1974 the Lord directed me to enroll at Evangel College (now University) in Springfield, Missouri.  I earned a double major in Mass Communications and Biblical Studies.  I guess my melancholy personality needed a back-up plan!  When I met Lori Owens and things got serious, she informed me that she would not marry me unless I was going into “the ministry.”  I was able to quickly announce, “Of course, I’ve always wanted to be a preacher!”  The rest is history.

Now, five churches and 35 years later, I cannot thank God enough for calling me to preach earth’s greatest message.  Sometimes I feel like Paul, “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16).

I marvel at the grace and goodness of God when I think about Him calling that middle Loomis boy–the shy, backwards one, the most unlikely–to preach the gospel.  Not a day passes when I don’t thank Him for His love and mercy.



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