My first impressions of being called to the ministry were filtered through the church context of which I was a part. The phrase used was “called to preach.” Thinking about being called to preach came as I was in the 8th grade. I spent the time until the summer between my junior and senior years in high school trying to gauge the validity of what I was sensing. When I made my conviction known to the congregation, one of the deacons came by and said, “Some of us have seen this coming.” That one sentence helped a great deal toward firming up my conviction of being called.
Since that time, I have had that confirmation added to, not so much by my feelings of confidence or correctness in recognizing the reality of this calling, but more by persons already invested in the life of the church. That kind of confirmation reaches back to the New Testament era as it was the church in community who called out those who were fit and empowered by God to be vocational ministers.