My call to ministry crystallized in three distinct steps over a five year period. When I was nineteen, I answered a call to follow Jesus. With the encouragement and example of persons God placed in my pathway, I made a conscious decision for Jesus as my Lord and Savior. In that saving, momentous step I effectively began a new life in Christ. I became an intentional disciple, an apprentice or novice learning from the Master, starting a lifelong journey in a Jesus direction.
Two years later I heard a call to serve the Lord. This step I described in some detail in worship last February. It occurred during my final season as a college football player. God used the experiences and emotions of that 1976 season to stir up new questions and insights about my future. With unfinished law school applications spread out on my desk, the Lord and I met one night when I walked over to the football stadium, climbed over the fence, headed to the center of the field, and then lay down looking up at the heavens. That starlit conversation with God lasted well over an hour. I was trying to listen as well as speak from my heart. When we finished talking, I knew that the law school applications would be replaced with seminary applications.
The call to serve provided new purpose and direction, but it was still unclear what exact form that service would take. Three years later I sensed a distinct call to pastoral ministry. I had considered other possibilities (e.g. chaplain, missionary, or teacher) through my first couple years at seminary. However, while serving fourteen months as a full-time intern pastor at a church in State College, PA—where I also met and married my lifetime ministry partner Bobbi—God confirmed in my mind and heart that I am called to pastoral ministry. Since then I have been blessed to share the Good News and good life in Christ with congregations in Lancaster, PA, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and now Lady Lake, FL.
My sense of calling continues to develop and focus in new ways more than forty years since God called me to follow and serve. I hope your sense of calling is also fresh and invigorating. Calling is not just for pastors or those who go to seminary! It is for all of God’s people. The Lord beckons all of us to follow and serve in various ways. The ways that we serve Jesus will change through the years. But your calling is not concluded until God’s final call heavenward.
“Living Our Calling” will be our worship theme at North Lake Presbyterian Church in September and October. I am excited about the scripture passages and biblical figures we’ll get to consider, like Noah, David, Esther, and Samuel. We’ll commence on September 3rd with “Holy Partners in a Heavenly Calling” from Hebrews 3:1. I am happy to share stories of my calling, but I’m more eager to partner in the heavenly calling with you and to hear how the Lord has called you to follow and serve. If you have an experience of “living your calling” that you’d be willing to share, please write it down and get it to me. The Lord may use your calling to bless and encourage others.
Dr. Jeffrey A. Hosmer