News - Calling: The Incremental Call

Calling: The Incremental Call

By Jarrod Severing '93

In May 2016, I graduated with my Masters in Divinity, well on the road to ordained ministry within The United Methodist Church. This might be the culmination of a well-planned out life by myself, but things have not often worked out the way I have seen them. Let me explain…

Music, Yes; Public Speaking, Thanks But No

I began attending Greenville College in 1989 with hopes and dreams of becoming the next star on the Christian music scene. I quickly realized that was not going to be the case and proceeded to change majors a couple of times during my time there. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. What I did know was that I was going to be involved with music somewhere and the realization that I was not comfortable in speech class. The thought of preparing words and delivering them to a group of people was horrifying to me. However, God’s call is sometimes incremental.

God Prepares

Upon graduation I joined the workforce by selling office furniture for a couple of years and then entered the construction equipment rental industry for almost 20 years. These experiences helped me with some of my communication and relational skills . . . another incremental step.

During this whole time, even before my time in Greenville, I was performing with a gospel quartet, the “Alleluia Quartet.” Over the 25 plus years that I had been singing with this group, God was introducing me to standing in front of large groups of people, increasing my comfort level in this setting . . . another incremental step.

The Call

For the next step in my journey, I attended a spiritual retreat in 2012 called; “Walk to Emmaus.” This retreat opened my eyes and heart to the Agape love of God as well as something that I was not expecting. It was here that I heard the calling of God, telling me that through all of those incremental steps in my life, God was preparing me for what he was calling me to next. God was calling me into ordained ministry.

Appreciating the Big Picture

I must say that it is truly amazing to look back over your life and see so many of Jarrod Severingthose incremental steps you had taken and how they all led up to God’s calling on your life. From my college experience at Greenville, the Alleluia Quartet, work experience, the miracle premature birth of both my daughters, to my involvement at my home church and the wonderful Walk to Emmaus retreat have led me, incrementally, to the place where God has placed me.

I am currently the pastor at Lanark United Methodist Church in Lanark, Illinois and am enjoying serving God’s people in this community. I have been blessed in the first year of ministry by a group of teenagers joining the church through confirmation, many baptisms, wedding celebrations, and administering the sacraments to the people of God. I am looking forward to the next steps God has in store for me!

What I’ve learned About Calling

God’s call is sometimes incremental. It comes in stages or steps.


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This story was published on October 07, 2016

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