Imagery of church-related people and places.

Paul Andrew Johnson

Ministry setting

Graduated from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA in May 2015. Served as a Pastoral Intern at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church and as a Chaplain Intern at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids Iowa.

What brings you joy in your ministry?

I absolutely love being able to discuss matters (theological or otherwise) with others and explore their beliefs as well as my own. It is incredibly rewarding to me when my views are shifted by the insights of others or when someone tells me I've changed the way they think about something.

I also greatly enjoy experiencing worship and exploring the Word with others on a regular basis. I've heard that it can be an exhausting and empty experience for some in this profession, but I feel nourished by the Word more often than not.

Who inspires you in ministry or seminary?

I'm inspired by several of my past ministers as well as all the current pastors and other church leaders in my life. I feel incredibly lucky to study at Wartburg with faculty, staff and other students who all lift one another up and challenge one another.

My entire family, especially my brother Jim, inspires me by accepting me and loving me without exception. I couldn't do it without them, and I wouldn't be here today had it not been for my brother's loving words to me of total acceptance.

What are your interests outside of ministry?

I love to go on walks, crochet, bowl, bike, hang out with friends, clean (I'm weird, I'll admit it) and have recently developed a love of cooking.

Best meal you've ever eaten?

The Eucharist. I crave it each and every day.

Brief bio

I grew up and attended elementary, middle, high school and college all in West De Pere, Wisconsin. I worked at Festival Foods for nearly seven years before beginning my education at seminary. I have an English degree with a Creative Writing emphasis from Saint Norbert College, and am a lifelong Packers fan.

Did you always want to be clergy?

I felt a calling to work with the church when I was in my teens, but quickly rejected it because I "lacked the proper skills." Again the call surfaced after graduation from high school, but I dismissed it since I had felt excluded as unworthy by certain members of the church. Finally in 2009, at a Christmas Eve service (of all places!) I walked in and felt overcome with the call. I had a moment of panic in the church where I was so filled with emotion that I thought I was going to die. I remember thinking "Okay, God. You win." Immediately I was able to breathe again, and was overcome with joy. I ran out of excuses, and it has been an amazingly joyous and affirming journey ever since.

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