Minister Predicted His Career Path as a Child
Lake Hopatcong's Paul Zorn joins Methodist ministry after a few other career paths.
How many of us have asked ourselves the question, “Will what I’m doing make a difference in 100 years?” Paul Zorn decided to change the entire course of his life after answering that question.
Zorn is the pastor of two Methodist churches in Jefferson Township, Hurdtown Methodist Church and Lake Hopatcong United Methodist Church. But this calling was not one that came easily to him. He went through a few different churches and careers before he found his home.
“I was brought up in the American Baptist Church, where my parents were very active,” Zorn said. “In fact, when I was 12, I said I was going to grow up and be a minster,” he recalled.
But things changed as Zorn grew up. He met his wife during his college years at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck. His wife was brought up Catholic, and he “did the Christmas and Easter thing” for the most part during college.
“When we were getting married, the priest at the Catholic church didn’t want us to get married there, because we didn’t go there all the time,” Zorn said.
Bad experiences in other churches caused religion to stay on the back burner until the couple’s first child, Jim, was born. After a few stops and starts at other churches, the Zorns settled at Bloomingdale Methodist Church.
In the meantime, Zorn was raising a family and supporting a home on a career path involving sales.
“I had worked at Woolworth’s during college, and after college I sold Saturn cars for a while, and was a manufacturer’s representative for office furniture,” he said.
He and his wife stayed members of the Bloomingdale Methodist Church, and Zorn volunteered as a teacher, working with a youth group, and singing in the choir.
Zorn told his pastor at the church that he might be interested in preaching someday. After he did it for the first time, he was hooked.
Zorn thought about becoming a minister at this point, but he still had questions to he needed answered.
“I had a small house, and I knew if I became a minister, the church would provide housing. Was that the reason I was doing it,” Zorn said. “I also knew that a pastor is in charge. Was I doing this for the power?”
Then one day when he was in church, the pastor asked the congregation to call out hymns they wanted to hear. Zorn asked for the hymn entitled Here I Am Lord.
“When we got to the line, ‘I will go Lord, if you need me,’ my throat literally closed up,” Zorn recalled. “Every other line came out fine, but twice my throat closed on that line.
“It was right then that I knew that I was on a training program for being a minister for my whole life,” he said.
Zorn started on the path toward becoming a minister, and, after completing the requirements, spent 12 years in Stony Point, NY before coming to Jefferson last summer.
He currently lives in Lake Hopatcong with his wife of 28 years, Terry, with whom he has four children: Jim, 25, Tom, 23, Jonathan, 20 and Paul, 15.