Maintenance to Ministry – One Long, Hard, Rewarding Road

Post a Comment » Written on January 31st, 2007     
Filed under: News
OAKLAND, NE (January 31, 2007) – The long journey of Steve Hoden to the pastorate of Salem Covenant Church is chronicled in a local newspaper article that highlights his transition from being a school maintenance man to minister.

The article in the Fremont Tribune also makes clear the sacrifices families make when a member is called to ministry after working for years at another job.

Hoden, who had worked as a maintenance man in the Duluth, Minnesota, school district from 1981 to 1997, began sensing the call to ministry in 1996. But, he also was married and had four children at home. His wife, Kitty, was working as a nurse.

After more than a year of planning, the family sold their house, left their jobs and moved to Chicago, where Steve began attending North Park Theological Seminary in 1998. Hoden, now 54, would spend five and a half years in classes, graduating in 2003.

The transition proved challenging on a number of fronts, Hoden tells the newspaper. For one, he had little college education, having dropped out after just a little over a year. North Park let him attend on a special waiver provided he could handle the work his first year at the school.

He adds the time could be hard on his family while he studied to keep pace. “I told them I’d be a student at the library, but when I was home, I’d be a daddy.” He admits that was a hard promise to keep.

According to Jay Phelan, president and dean of the seminary, “No one came to seminary with more passion, enthusiasm, and joy than Steve. Few people have worked as hard as Steve did during seminary.”

That passion spread to others, Phelan says. “His commitment to Christ, to the ministry, and to his family was infectious. It’s hard to think about Steve without a smile and a prayer of thanksgiving.”

Another Steve Hoden – the elder Hoden’s son – is taking a more direct route into pastoral ministry. He, too, is now enrolled at the seminary.

“He’s certainly gotten an earlier start than his dad!” Phelan quips.

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