Sensing the Call
My journey toward pastoral ministry began when I was about 15 years old with a growing desire to serve God in the local church, specifically at this time my sense of call was geared toward youth ministry. Both of my parents were first generation Christians. (There had been a history of professed faith, but that was several generations back.) I was raised Southern Baptist. As such, there were no educational requirements for pursuing pastoral ministry. The Lord impressed upon my heart the need for me to seek out formal training.
I began my studies at Liberty University in 2008 with plans to get a ministry oriented degree and pursue Youth Ministry after college. I had met Hannah the year before starting college. Since neither of us grew up Reformed, my journey into the Reformed faith became her journey as I shared everything I was learning with her. Over the next couple years, the Lord brought some men into my life who opened Scripture with me and helped me see the Biblical grounds for Covenant Baptism.
Falling in Love with the RPCNA
In 2010, after dating for about three years, Hannah and I were married. About a year after we got married, we moved to Harrisonburg, VA, and there joined our first Presbyterian church (Covenant Presbyterian Church PCA). After joining the church, I learned that further education would be required to enter ministry. It was here we became convicted of Exclusive Psalmody, and sought membership in a Psalm-singing church. Having decided that, we wanted to join the RPCNA. In December of 2012, we attended Trinity RPC in Beltsville, Maryland and instantly fell in love with the RPCNA.
In August of 2013, we moved to Pittsburgh, PA in anticipation of starting studies at Reformed Theological Seminary (RPTS) the following year. After we moved, Rev. Steve Bradley (who we had met at Trinity RP) accepted the call to Providence RPC in Pittsburgh. Rev. Bradley recommended that the Providence session present me to the Presbytery of the Alleghenies as a candidate for pastoral ministry in April of 2014.
Learning and Growing
The year 2014 proved to be eventful as I was taken under care, completed my bachelor degree (only took me 6 years, haha), and began my studies at RPTS. Hannah had taken a job when we moved to Pittsburgh so that I could focus on my studies with the agreement being she would not be expected to work anymore after seminary so she could stay home with our (future) kids. Well, the Lord had plans to extend my time in seminary by giving us our first child in March of 2016. Thus I shifted my education to part time and started working again. March 2016 was eventful as I started a new job and new seminary quarter the same week as our son was born.
The following month, the Lord sustained me in my final exam for licensure to preaching. Over the Summer of 2016, I was, along with 2 other men, called by Providence RP to serve as a Ruling Elder where I served until 2020.
It is hard to fully express the importance of a good mentor in while in seminary. There is so much that really cannot be taught in the classroom. I am grateful to have had in my pastor not only a faithful shepherd, but also a friend and mentor. Countless evenings were spent at the Bradley’s house asking questions, being challenged, and enjoying fellowship.
Candidating in Denison
In the Summer of 2019, a fellow seminarian (now Rev. Trace Turner) did an internship at a small rural congregation in North East Kansas. Knowing that I desired to minister in a small rural town, Trace recommended me to that congregation, and in September, I was invited to candidate. That trip was such a blessing. I fell in love with the congregation immediately.
By this time, Hannah was pregnant with our third child, and he was due in January 2020. About mid-December of 2019, the Denison RP Church invited the whole family out for a visit at the end of March. Well, March came. COVID lockdowns were starting and so the trip was canceled. Thankfully, we were able to reschedule for the end of June. And thus we spent Hannah’s birthday traveling to Kansas. That week was long. Candidating trips are draining, especially when you have three kids 4 years old and under. But even with that week being long, Hannah also fell in love with the congregation. So when we got the news a week later that they had voted and called me to be their pastor, we were thrilled.
Sustained for Gospel Ministry
Over the next several months, I was burying my head in studies to freshen up in preparation for my ordination exams. November came, and the exams were sustained. The Lord has used all of my exams to keep me humble and to remind me that He is the one who sustains men for Gospel ministry. So we made plans to move to Kansas in December. On January 10th, I was officially installed as the pastor of Denison RP Church in Denison, KS. Two of my good friends who I met just before seminary flew out to participate in the service. It was a sweet conclusion to one journey (pursuit of pastoral ministry), and the beginning of another one.
Many thanks to Pastor Caleb Allen for sharing his journey to the ministry. Please pray that the Lord would bless and prosper Denison RPC and the Allen family as they settle into life and ministry among them.