Reflections On a Call to Ministry

By Pastor Mark Himel

   I have discerned that I am called to licensed ministry by the Holy Spirit to create a culture of spiritual awareness based on the gospel!   My prayer is this will lead new believ-ers to become disciples for Christ, and help current believ-ers take the next steps in their individual walks of faith.

   I have been saying, “No, not now God,” to being called to pastoral ministry for a long time. Over the years when I was 19, 32, 42, and 64, I was encouraged by one episcopal priest, two Baptist pastors, and most recently a Methodist pastor to enter pastoral ministry. 

   Now that I have been encouraged for the fourth time by a pastor and too many times to count by the Holy Spirit I have said yes. But this time the Holy Spirit, and pastor’s encouragement have  been supported by an unexplainable pressure that I feel as I am compelled to preach the Gospel.  I have a crystal-clear awareness that I do not want to do anything else!

   You cannot, I have found, go successfully on this journey of faith without much and deep support from others. First, my dear wife, Fran, and I have been together since we were 19 years old; and always have been each other’s foundation through all the many trials and tribulations of life. She has always been very supportive and critical when appropriate, a very treasured partner. My son, Scott, has been a valued mentor to me as I have gone through the District Commit-tee on Ordained Ministry (DCOM) process and discerning my call to pastoral ministry. He deeply challenges me and unconditionally supports me as I am responding to God. 

   Within the church, I am very fortunate to be working with and learning from Pastor Cindy. She purposefully gives freely of her time and knowledge to support and guide me and has provided a variety of  experiences to support my learning. All other staff members at Grace have been very open and supportive to my being on staff. They are like big brothers and sisters as they help and teach me. Pastors Mat-thew Johnson and Bill Bryan are and have been wonderful, seasoned mentors who are always willing to listen and share their wisdom and experience. Pastors Dick Wisdom and Doug Carroll are very supportive and available when I need their assistance and guidance. And Grace’s Church Council and SPRC committee members continue to be encouraging and supportive of my living out my call.