His call into the ministry:
I have occasionally over the years had people say, “You should become a Pastor”, or “Have you ever thought of being a Pastor?”, or asked if I was the Pastor. Each time, with relief, I would respond with a, “NO.” But this planted or watered a seed in my heart and mind. Whenever it happened, I was simply serving the Lord in some ministry capacity such as Vacation Bible School, teaching King’s Kids on Wednesday night, or working at the church fair booth. I additionally found it strange over the years that I was asked to be a speaker at a Valentine’s Banquet at Jeffers Baptist Church, preached my nephew’s baccalaureate service, and had a speaking role at my Dad’s funeral.
Then on Tuesday, October 4, 2016, I used a “personal leave day” off from teaching at school to attend a Pastors Plus+ Conference hosted by Fairmont Baptist and Calvary Baptist Church in Granada, Minnesota. The “plus” meant that others were welcome. I thought, “I’m a plus. I can go even though I’m not a pastor”.
Dr. Doug Bookman of Shepherd Theological Seminary presented for four days on the Passion Week of Jesus Christ. I recall that I furiously took notes and began to devour the Word of God as he presented. I enjoyed and desired this time far more than if I had stayed at the high school to teach Social Studies. My wife noticed this. During one of the session breaks, she came over to me and said, “If the Lord ever called you into the ministry, I would be alright with that.” Instantly, tears came to my eyes. I realized that the Lord had been independently working in her heart as well. On that very session break, I surrendered to the call to be a Pastor.
Pastor Jason and Darlene Pankonin and their family.