by Tony Nester

This content is part of a series.

Scriptures That Have Touched My Life: So Send I You
Part 3 of 5
Pastor Tony Nester
John 20:19-21

I grew up never thinking about becoming a pastor. The
pastors I knew I didn't like that much. One of them
was an elderly man who was so weak he had to preach
sitting down. That didn't inspire me to follow in his
footsteps. I remember another pastor who came to the
house to tell me that my father had died after being
hit by a car while crossing a street. I remember
feeling very strange about this man being in the
house. I remember that he was wearing a blue suit. No
one ever wore suits in our house. He just seemed out
of place. I certainly didn't want to be like him.

Even when I entered seminary I had no intention of
becoming a pastor. This surprises people in the
church, but there are many other reasons for going to
seminary besides training to become a pastor. I went
because I wanted to study the Bible, theology, and
philosophy. I expected to end up teaching in a college
and living within academia. You don't have to be
ordained to do that. You don't even have to believe in
God to do that. You certainly don't have to care much
about the church to do that.

Then one semester I signed up for a class about
ministry. I needed some more credits and this
particular class also fit my schedule. The teacher
communicated to Princeton Theological Seminary from
New York City. He was the minister of the 5th Avenue
Presbyterian Church. I had decided to simply audit the
class. I wasn't taking it too seriously.

But by the time the semester was over I had a new
image of pastors. This pastor was a great
communicator, a great leader, and had a great vision
for ministry. I began to change my mind about a career
in teaching. I began to sense a calling into the
ministry. A few years later I was ordained into the
ministry of The United Methodist Church.

When we Christians speak of our "calling" we're
referring ...

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