Travel with revered preacher and author Fred Craddock through his early years as he considers what made him take to the pulpit. "For some reason, I felt I had to say 'Yes' or 'No' to the ministry so I could feel free again. My siblings and friends talked almost casually about options and preferences as to careers, but with no evident sense of urgency. Not so with me. I did not then, nor do I now know whether the burden of choice was a trait of personality, a kind of super-conscientiousness, whether the calling to ministry itself carried a weight, a burden, peculiar to the task itself. Rightly or wrongly, when I thought of possibly becoming a journalist, that would be a choice, 100 percent mine. When I considered becoming a minister, that was not totally my decision; I was responding to God's will for me. Of course, I had been told that journalists, lawyers, teachers, merchants, farmers-all could understand their lives as a vocation, a calling, but what I am telling you is that I perceived, I felt, I experienced the idea of being a preacher as different, and that difference was sobering, even burdensome. That's why advice about not being in a hurry, taking my time, was not helpful even if wise. If it was my decision, why could I not make it now; if it was God's decision, why did not God tell me, or at least tell my father or my mother? I prayed for the ache to leave me." -Excerpt from Reflections on My Call to Preach.
Fred Craddock is Bandy Distinguished Professor of Preaching and New Testament, emeritus, at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and is minister emeritus of Cherry Log Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He is a sought-after lecturer, an author of several books, and a captivating storyteller.