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Lori Farr Interview
Watch video interviews at the end of this article.

My call to ministry started when I came back to the Lord after 20 years outside the church. I was 38 years old when I heard Ron Halverson Jr. speak at a camp meeting. He presented the gospel like I had never heard it before. I became a member at a cell church in Tacoma, Washington, an amazing small group, which was relationship focused, and a thriving little church group.
I started devouring God's Word—found such amazing grace in His Word. I became more involved in church. It was baby steps at first. I led a small group, and with the pastor’s mentoring even preached a sermon at times.
A desire was sparked in me—I wanted to go back to school—learn more about Christian ministry so I could serve better in my local church. I enrolled in a local Christian college.
It was after I finished a two year program there—receiving a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry, that God started speaking to my heart. He said, “Lori, I'd like you to be a pastor.” I can't really describe that call except that it came in the still moments I spent alone with Him; in the devotional times reading His Word. God told me, “I want you to go to Andrews University Seminary to become a pastor.”
Now that was a very big challenge for me. My children were not raised knowing Jesus and I wanted to be close by to share with them the new person I had become in Jesus. I told the Lord that I could just go to a local seminary in Tacoma, but God impressed me, “No, Lori, that's not what I want for you.” I kept arguing back and forth with Him. I cried out, “Any other way, Lord, any other way!” This went on for several months.
Two significant things happened that confirmed what the Lord wanted me to do. It was my Sabbath to preach at our little church, and I had just finished with the message. A woman walked in the door—someone I knew, but who hadn't attended church that day. She walked straight down the aisle, took my hand and said, “I had to come here, because last night God put you on my heart. The Holy Spirit is working on you. He's asking you to do something that you're afraid to do, and God is saying that you need to to do it.” I began to weep.“You have no idea what I'm going through right now.”
At home later that day, my phone rang. It was my brother Michael. He said, “Lori, I had a dream about you last night. God's calling you to ministry, and you need to go. You need to answer His call.” “How do you know that, Michael?” I asked. He said, “because the Holy Spirit and I had this session last night and it was all about you. I'm telling you, God's wanting you to go. “I whined, “Why would He want me to go? I’m just a little administrative assistant for some accounting firm.” He shared that Scripture in Corinthians, where Paul writes that God doesn't call the wise, He calls the weak.
The next Sabbath, God woke me up at 4 a.m.—my children heavy on my heart. I spent time in prayer, and the Lord impressed me to write my children's names down on a piece of paper. So I did—Daniel Ryan, Eric Joseph and Crystal Renee.
Daniel Ryan’s name means “God is my judge”,—and God said, “do you trust Me to be his judge? Can you let go of him and put him in My hands; will you let Me do that?”
Eric means “Viking”, and Joseph, “who will add.” God said “I will not only add him to My kingdom, but he will add people to My kingdom.”
My daughter’s name, Crystal Renee, means “clear renewal of faith.” “She will have that. I promise you.”
“Will you let go, and let them be My kids? I’m who they belong to anyway,” God reminded me. “Please trust Me with your children—and will you go to seminary?” God gave me the assurance He would care for my kids and that I could let go of them.
I went to Andrews University Seminary for three years. I struggled—I said, “Lord, there's almost 700 people in this school. How can You guarantee that I'm going to be a pastor? There's so many deserving people here.” I’d say things to myself like, “I could go into chaplain work or be an associate pastor, but I'm not going to be a senior pastor.” But God told me in no uncertain terms that “No, you will be a senior pastor. That's what I'm calling you to do. Will you trust Me?”
I did my part and sent my application to every conference in the United States. I received responses from California, Tennessee and Ohio. Ohio was the only senior pastor position. So I went to Ohio and interviewed. My name came out top on their list.
I've been in Ohio for eight years now. God is using me, the weakest thing, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love preaching. It’s one of the things that really brings me a lot of joy. The preparing, presenting, and sharing it. l also love mingling with people and participating in activities going on in our communities. These are my two favorite things.
There are difficult things about ministry. I am only one person and I have a four-church district!
I can’t be everywhere at one time. Pacing myself has been a big learning experience, because at first I was doing 60-70 plus hours a week. It really started taking its toll on me. So now, I look at my week, and at my churches and I try to accomplish three things a week for each of those churches. Maybe it's a visit. Maybe it's some business I need to do. But the key is to be realistic and balanced, otherwise I’m going to burn out.
I also have to be willing to let others lead. I can’t visit everyone, I can’t call everyone. We have to do it together. We did some leadership training in the beginning, especially for my elders. I helped them to learn how to preach? Instead of feeling like a lone ranger, I became more like an overseer or deacon, helping the members to work together as a team.
I do try to make it to prayer meetings at all the churches, but the operative word is try. I do like to be there because I think praying together is so very important. I have found that for most of my churches we just bypass board meetings. Every two months, we have a business meeting, and if there's really not anything major on the agenda we'll cancel that.
Taking time for myself, is extremely important as well. Whether it's exercising, spending time with the Lord, eating right—these are the things that rejuvenate me and keep my cup full. Plus taking time for my family including my parents who now live in my home.
My daughter has just started attending a Seventh-day Adventist Church, a new church plant actually. She's participating in that community and feels loved and accepted there—I think that's awesome. My boys are still on their journey, but I can see God working in their lives. I have many opportunities to share with them, and answer their questions.
Along the way there were quite a few people who told me I shouldn't be a pastor. The first one was my dad. He thought I had lost my mind, literally. I was giving up a great job with benefits. “Why would you give all that up when you have no guarantee that you're going to get hired anywhere as a pastor?” he asked. I said, “Dad, it's not an option. If I say no, I'm telling God no, and He's asking me to do this, so I have to do it.”
My dad is no longer a doubter. Once I was hired, and he could hardly believe that, he was so proud. He and my mom came to my graduation—they were just ecstatic and amazed at how God was leading my life. I can remember dad telling me, “I'm so glad you listened to God and not to me.”
At the seminary, professors as well as other people didn't totally agree with my studying for the ministry. Even when I got hired in my district, one of my churches split over the hiring of a female pastor. But I saw God working in my life—there were so many times where He stepped in and gave me assurance I was doing what He wanted me to do.
In the church that split, the membership dropped down from around 40 members to 11. A year and a half later I just wanted to throw in the towel. I said, “Lord, we're failing. We don’t have the money to keep our building.” But God always does these awesome things. At a women’s retreat, a lady came up me and said, “I need to talk to you.” I didn't know her but she told me her name was Dolly. I said, “Okay. We'll make time.”
I had the early presentation for Sunday morning. Dolly caught me right after I was done, and asked, “Can we have breakfast?” I said, “Yes, that would be perfect.” So we got our food and sat down at a table. She looked at me and said, “When I was going through the retreat brochure, the Lord put on my heart to pray with you—because you're struggling.” She went on, “I'm not quite sure what it is, but I get the sense that you're wanting to quit something.” Now she didn’t know I wanted to throw in the towel. I told her of my struggles and we both wept. She said, “Don't quit, because God's going to do something amazing. You go back, and tell your congregation God's going to do something. He's going to help your church to grow.”
I told my congregation what had happened. I was very open with them. I shared my struggle and told them, “I've been discouraged and I have wanted to quit.” We all wept together, as a congregation, and then I shared what Dolly had told me. We began seriously praying for God to do something.
Three weeks later, this gentleman walked into the church. He was this huge, gentle giant. He had pajama-like pants on, with a big sweatshirt—really kind of frightening to all of us. We didn't know him—but he came and sat in the service, and at the end he was weeping. I introduced myself and welcomed him there, and I said, “How are you? Can I pray for you?” Tony shared his story.
Someone had shared the gospel with him including the Sabbath truth, but he wasn’t aware of any Sabbath-keeping churches he could attend. He opened the phone book, and saw the listing for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He said, “You're two blocks from my house. So I came here.”
That was the first of many new members God brought us. Over a period of about five years, we went from those 11 people up to 40. Now we're this thriving little church. I can see God using us to minister in our community.
I don't think God is a respecter of persons. I don't think the calling to ministry has to do with gender. It has to do with the work that needs to be done. God is calling, and whoever answers that call, He's going to use.
Lori Farr - Short Interview

Lori Farr - Full Interview