Discerning my call into ministry
August 28, 2018 / By Paul Winkelman
Editor’s Note: This article was written in April 2018 before Winkelman was ordained.
My calling to pastoral ministry was not discerned by a specific moment or encounter with God - it occurred more gradually. Since I was very young, I began seeing and experiencing the grace of God through Jesus Christ, by the things that I saw in the world and in nature, through the love of Christ that people showed me, and through seeing the need for living the gospel of Jesus Christ in a hurting and a broken world. During every stage of my development as a person and as a Christian, I had and still have loving and devoted parents, great church families, and great pastoral mentors like Rev. Donald Guiles, Rev. Bill Mudge, Rev. Bill Vallet, Rev. David Hays, Rev. Larry Baird, Rev. David Schlansker, Rev. Harold Wheat, Rev. Richelle Goff, and many more. My wife Melissa has also been a rock and a source or great love and continued inspiration in my life.
After getting married in 2004, my wife Melissa and I joined Christ United Methodist Church of Locke and Moravia. During our eight years as members of that church, I continued to be nurtured and encouraged in my faith in Christ, as did Melissa.
I then attended a Walk to Emmaus spiritual retreat weekend in 2005 that changed my life. After this retreat weekend, I began Lay Leading, preaching, and soon filling in at nearby United Methodist Churches. All throughout this process and eventually beginning my seminary education in 2010, I saw people all around me that were suffering. In seeing many people brought to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, I began to see how these persons were then changed both personally and spiritually. Many of these persons then went out and served their local communities, and the world. It was during these eight years at the Christ United Methodist Church of Locke and Moravia that I began to unite the faith that I had in my head, with the faith that was continuing to develop in my heart.
The desire to bring people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and then to help and equip them to pursue the mission of the United Methodist Church in the world was and is a major influence in my calling to ministry. It has been a joy to serve local churches and to see what God has done though me; through those I serve, through the communities that I have served, and in the world.
Reaching the point of ordination reminds me of the “it takes a village” quote, as my next step towards ordination is one that has coalesced over years of love, encouragement, faith, education, and of course, lots and lots of coffee. I continue to look forward to boldly living into our mission of “Making disciples of Jesus Christ, for the transformation of the world”!