School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


James Arnold Fyock


Calling, Pastoral Calling, Christianity and Semiotics, Transformational Learning, Psychology of Religion, Vocational Guidance


Practical Theology | Religion | Vocational Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of calling for seasoned pastors. Guiding the research were four related sub-questions: (a) How do seasoned pastors describe their initial experiences of calling? (b) How do they describe the ways in which they have critically reflected on their experiences of calling ? (c) How do seasoned pastors describe their subsequent actions that have resulted from their calling? (d) HAnd, how do seasoned pastors describe the development of their calling? A purposeful sampling of 11 pastors who have for six or more years functioned as a full-time pastor were engaged in this phenomenological research. Mezirow’s (1991) tTheory of tTransformative lLearning and Loder’s (1989) theistic educational philosophy were used to frame the research. The data acquired from semi-structured interviews, field notes, and a focus group were recorded and transcribed by a voice recognition transcription service. A summary analysis and the transcribed interviews were sent to each pastor-participant as a member check to ensure accuracy. Guiding the collection and analysis of the data were the phenomenological research methods of Moustakas (1994), the developmental phases of transformative learning, and Peircean semiotics. Findings of this research revealed that pastors have a highly semiotic epistemology in the perception of their calling. Results also confirmed the developmental nature of a pastoral-calling as found in transformative learning theories. Finally, this study contributes to the calling literature and pedagogical theories for pastoral training programs, religious education, and vocational counselors. It also can be used as a resource for those who are seeking a holistic understanding of what it means to be called as a pastor.