Thursday, May 31, 2012
I've been reading Charles Swindol's book, "Saying It Well," in which he shares what he has learned about effective communication over his ministry. He begins by talking about the importance of calling. He shares the story of his calling to ministry. It made me think a lot about my calling.
I grew up in church - literally. It was the Goodyear Heights Community Church in Akron, Ohio (pictured above) My dad was not a pastor but he was on just about every board and committee the church had. Our family lived by the motto, "If the church doors are open, the Distler family will be there (ft hand side looking toward the pulpit). And because my parents were also the church custodians, we were at church even when the doors were closed.
This really was the beginning of my call to ministry. I suspect that most kids would have become tired of always being at church. That was not the case with me. I loved being at church. In fact, as I grew older, I would often borrow my dad's church keys and go up to the church to do my homework or practice my trumpet. I loved being in the church - I still do!
My initial decision moment regarding ministry happened at one of our yearly Mission Conferences. I always looked forward to that week. Most often, we housed a missionary couple in our home during that time. It was at one of those evening meetings that I went forward and committed my life to full-time ministry if that was indeed what the Lord wanted with me.
In Junior High my calling intensified as I developed a spiritual hero. He name was Dr Jerry Falwell and every Sunday morning while I was getting ready for church I would watch him preach on the Old Time Gospel Hour using the little black and white TV in my bedroom. I loved his passion and his courage. It was by watching Dr Falwell weekly on TV that I begin to develop a desire to be a pastor.
That desire grew but was not confirmed until my Junior year of High School. My pastor, Paul Rohart of the Cuyahoga Falls Baptist Church in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, asked me to preach the Easter Sunrise Service at our church. I'm not sure why he asked me. Maybe he saw something in me. Maybe it was because I was dating his daughter at the time. I'm really not sure. I did, however, preach that morning. I still remember the title of my sermon - "Is It Just Another Day?" I was so scared that morning but I saw God use me that morning and after that, preaching was all I ever wanted to do - It still is!