The Calling

NEWS TALK 94.1  |  Podcast , ±23 min episodes every 2 weeks  | 
All across the Upper Cumberland, there are everyday people who are lead to do more than everyday things.

Accepting the call to become a minister, a preacher or an evangelist. Feeling lead to volunteer time to work with or even start a charitable group or organization. We introduce you to some of these local people who are living a life they felt drawn to on The Calling.

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Meet Reverend Michael McLaughlin

Knoxville native and UT graduate Michael McLaughlin found work in Kentucky in the mental health field where he and his wife started attending First Presbyterian Church in Somerset, KY. What began as helping out with the youth Sunday school led to Michael becoming involved with more and more church activities - such as choir. In 2005, he would go on to attend Columbia Theological Seminar before being called to serve at several churches in Tennessee and Mississippi. Now, Reverend Michael McLaughlin serves as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Cookeville. He joins Denna Hornby this week to share the story of his calling.

Meet Tim Dunavant

Tim Dunavant went from having a church filled life growing up in a small town to living in Nashville where his family stopped going to church, and all things religious fell to the wayside. At the age of 17, he began experimenting with alcohol and drugs, which led to a trouble filled life in his 20s where he found himself in jail 30 times before redemption found him. He joins Denna Hornby to share his story about how he finally agreed to read the Bible in jail, and found out a lot about not only God, but about himself and who he wanted to become as a person. Through this experience, he found his calling, and is now pastor of Smith Memorial United Methodist Church in Jackson County and Gainesboro United Methodist Church in Gainesboro.

Meet John Purdue

John Purdue grew up in the college town of Lexington, Kentucky where he could ride his bike right into the campus of the University of Kentucky, and most of his neighbors were professors. Inspired by his experiences at church camp growing up, God led him to eventually make the switch from a career in banking to following the call to ministry. He joins Denna Hornby to share his story, and how he made the move from Kentucky to becoming the Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church of McMinnville.

Meet Mark Gaw

Born and raised in Cookeville, Mark Gaw made the decision to not go into his family's real estate business due to a lack of passion. Leading music in church was where his passion lied, and he spent 11 years as an Associate Pastor in Music. With the word of God becoming his passion over leading music, those 11 years helped prepare him for his true calling - to be a preacher. He joins Denna Hornby to share his life's journey in faith that has led him to become the Senior Pastor of Washington Avenue Baptist Church in Cookeville since 1999.

Meet Buddy Johnson

Buddy Johnson is the son of a preacher who, despite being inspired by his father's storytelling and preaching abilities growing up, remained adamant that he would not follow in his father's footsteps and go into ministry. One day he realized that the ministry was his calling, and would go on to earn degrees in bible and New Testament from Lipscomb University and Freed-Hardeman University, respectively. He joins Denna Hornby to talk about his loving family, and to share the story of his calling which has led him to be Minister of Jefferson Avenue Church of Christ in Cookeville.

Meet Scott Parkison

As a young man, Scott Parkison was a high school dropout who found himself in with the wrong crowds and down on hard times with a feeling that his life was going nowhere. On January 29, 1991, God came to him when he was at his lowest while he was in jail, and he called to Jesus to save him. He immediately requested a bible, and managed to read it from cover to cover in just three and a half weeks. From that day on, Scott's life was radically changed with his newfound calling in life. He joins Denna Hornboy to share his life story, and the events that led him to follow his calling where he is now Senior Pastor of Steven Street Baptist in Cookeville.

Meet Stephen Morrison

Stephen Morrison grew up in the Midwest inspired by the authenticity of his parents' faith regardless of any negative experiences they may have gone through while attending church during his youth. Considered a bit of a black sheep for his love to converse and ask questions about faith during a time when skepticism was less accepted, he drifted away from the church during his teen years. Despite this, Stephen always knew that God would be directing him to the pulpit as a 4th generation member of the Church of Nazarene, and a 3rd generation pastor. He joins Denna Hornby to discuss his journey back to the pulpit where he is now Lead Pastor at Cookeville Church of the Nazarene.

Meet Verna Seager

Raised by her great grandparents in Greene County, Tennessee, Verna Seager was separated from her twin brothers for 39 years after her grandparents, who raised her brothers, passed away and the brothers were adopted. Verna was eventually reunited with her brothers thanks to the Salvation Army's missing persons department. During this time, she became more and more involved in the church, and felt a calling to pastor and to shepherd and be there for those around her through faith. She joins Denna Hornby to talk about her journey which has led her to become pastor of Church of God of Prophecy in Monterey.

Meet Father Brad Bates

Father Brad Bates had a rough childhood growing up in Georgia that led him to serve in the Navy. Having not been brought up in the church, he felt that he had an on and off relationship with God before finding salvation at the age of 22 after serving, and realizing his calling to be in ministry. He joins Denna Hornby to tell his story of how he stopped running from his calling, and what led him to being one of the newest pastors in town as a priest at St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Cookeville.

Meet Sommer Worley

Sommer Worley grew up as an only child in Lebanon, raised by a busy, hard working single mother, with help from her father and step-mother. After finding herself making some bad choices in college, and falling away from God while trying to live and make choices as her own person, Sommer found a mentor in one of her professors who was a retired Methodist minister. She joins Denna Hornby to share her journey on finding theology and becoming involved in the United Methodist Church where she is now pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in McMinnville.

Meet Monica Mowdy

Monica Mowdy grew up in Oklahoma watching storms and tornadoes, and marveling in how God is able to create such wonder and majesty through nature. After her rowdy teenage years, Monica originally tried going into early childhood education before taking a step back to work with childcare centers and families. After a long road of career changes, Monica ended up in Tennessee where she is now Pastor of Carthage United Methodist Church. She joins Denna Hornby to detail how her career choices working with children and families led her to find her calling in ministry.

Meet Laurie Raulston

Laurie Raulston grew up on her family farm where she learned to appreciate the hard work that goes into everyday life before going off to MTSU where she earned her Bachelors Degree in Business. After holding jobs in various fields, and experiencing difficult events in her life, Laurie made the sudden switch from working with finances and loans to becoming a pastor. She joins Denna Hornby to share the events in her life that led her to becoming a pastor for Normandy United Methodist Church in Normandy, TN.

34 episodes

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