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Entrepreneur Turns Pastor at 50

Career switch gives former active layman a sense of ministry urgency.

Ron L. Ingelido spent years serving in volunteer ministry roles while juggling careers in rental properties and sales as well as an entrepreneur for a company that refurbished propane tanks. But at age 50, God moved Ingelido into full time-time ministry. He became pastor of New Stanton Assembly of God in Pennsylvania in September 2019, two years after obtaining his ministerial credentials.

Although the call came early in Ingelido’s life, his move into full-time ministry took years. While he waited on God, he ran multiple businesses, led New Stanton’s youth group, and later, its young adult group. His wife, Jamie, 39, always stood by his side, in commerce and in ministry.

“We knew all our lives that one day God would call us into full-time ministry,” Ingelido says. “We just didn’t know what it would look like.”

PennDel Ministry Network Superintendent Don J. Immel — former pastor of New Stanton Assembly of God — also is a strong support in Ingelido’s life. The two formed a mentoring relationship years earlier when Immel pastored New Stanton and Ingelido participated in a leadership program called Discover the Call.

Immel says he texted Ingelido one day, saying he had a job for him and he would call later with the details. Ingelido learned he had agreed to lead the church’s capital campaign. They both laugh about that call today, but Immel points out the significance of Ingelido’s agreement to take on the task.

“It is because of a series of ‘yeses’ throughout his entire life that Ron is where he is today,” Immel says. “His life has been a constant stream of yeses to God.”

Ingelido’s affirmations carried over into his enterprises as well.

“A lot of employees would come to my office and say things like, Hey, my mom is dying, and I don’t know what to do,” he says. “I realized my office was becoming more of a chapel than a business owner’s office. I actually led people to the Lord in my office.”

In the spring of 2018, a lack of supply caused the propane tank reconditioning industry to stall, Ingelido says. So he liquidated the company's assets, paid off the corporation’s debts, and waited for God’s direction.

Ron and Jamie prayed, but had no clear sense of the Lord’s leading. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months, but still no word. Nevertheless, Ingelido stayed put, ministering at the church and continuing his credentialing process.

Then, the phone call came. Mike Hampton, pastor of New Stanton AG retired, and the church board asked Ingelido to consider leading the church. After prayerful consideration, he agreed. One month later, he became lead pastor of New Stanton Assembly of God. Along with assuming the many new responsibilities that come with being a pastor’s wife, Jamie stepped into the role of leading worship. Ingelido’s daughters, Rylee, 14, and Maddie, 11, help in the nursery.

Ingelido says entering full-time ministry at 50 comes with a sense of urgency. He is passionate about reaching the next generation for Christ.

“I only have so much time to accomplish God’s will,” he says. “If my life counts for anything, I want it to be about Jesus and the power He has to save and transform lives.”

Ingelido isn’t the only pastoral staff member who switched careers in midlife. David A. Lingsch became associate pastor at 56 after retiring as a psychiatric nurse.

Photo: Ron Ingelido (center) is installed as pastor by PennDel Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Marshall (left) as Ingelido's wife, Jamie, looks on.

Mary J Yerkes

Mary J. Yerkes is a freelance writer based in metro Washington, D.C.