ENID, Okla. —
Ministering to those who regularly are exposed to trauma and levels of stress seldom experienced in the general population requires a chaplain with a special background and skills.
Enid Fire Department recently found such a chaplain in the Rev. Tom House, an experienced volunteer firefighter, Lutheran minister and now volunteer EFD chaplain.
Path to ministry
House’s path to ministry began while he was serving in the Air Force in the early 1980s.
He enlisted in the service after graduating from high school in Marquette, Michigan, and served four years on active duty.
It was during that service a Lutheran chaplain encouraged House to pursue a career in ministry.
In order to attend divinity school, House first had to earn a bachelor’s degree, which led him to attend Concordia Teachers College — which is now Concordia University — in Seward, Neb.
House said he studied teaching for his undergraduate degree because he thought “an education degree would provide a decent background for the role of a pastor as teacher.”
After earning a teaching degree in 1989, House took a detour from his path to ministry and accepted a teaching position for two years in Miami, Florida.
He said it did not take God long to get him back on track to service in ministry.
“Sometimes the Lord just needs to hit you with a two-by-four to get you headed back in the direction you need to go,” House said. “Through a series of events, he drew me back to the ultimate goal of attending seminary and moving on from there.”
House returned to his alma mater and completed divinity school at Concordia Theological Seminary, followed by a one year internship in Denver.
He served his first seven years as a minister in Texas, including postings in Brownsville, Dallas and Plano, then moved on to serve nine years at his first Oklahoma assignment, in Hooker.