It wasn't until 2010 that McCalister considered becoming a clergy member, when his diocese began its first diaconate program for permanent deacons.
"I want to be serving the people of my parish, so when the diaconate presented itself, I presented myself for the diaconate," he said. "I thought - this is great, I can do this as a married man."
But the Holy Spirit "kept prompting me that I needed to ask the question if I qualified for the dispensation of the celibacy requirement" for the priesthood, McCalister said.
A dispensation from the obligation of celibacy, or being unmarried, can be granted to men seeking the priesthood in limited circumstances, such as when someone who was formerly an Anglican or Episcopalian minister becomes Catholic and wants to become a Catholic priest. Such petitions are considered on a case-by-case basis, McCalister said.
When his bishop said that a dispensation could be possible in his case, McCalister started to consider the priesthood more seriously.
He told the director of his diaconate program, who responded: "Why do you need to become a priest?"
"I said that my only desire is to be obedient to Jesus Christ, period," McCalister said. "That's why I left everything from my denominational background to enter the Catholic Church, it was my love for Jesus Christ, and the Lord is opening this door and putting this on my heart. I don't need to be a priest as if this is fulfilling some kind of desire I had, my desire is simply to be obedient."
There were some natural pauses in the process, McCalister said - a transition of bishops, waiting for permission from Rome, further prayer and discernment. It took about 10 years in total to prepare for his upcoming priestly ordination - scheduled now for June 21.
When asked if the sex abuse scandals of the Catholic Church, including those of the past year, had affected his willingness to join either the Catholic Church or its priesthood, McCalister said that his background as a Pentecostal pastor had prepared him well.
"In my previous ministry, we had some unbelievably difficult years, of submitting to the Lord and church infighting and church split," he said.
"Once you've been on the inside, you realize that if people are present, sin is present," he said. "The Catholics don't have the corner on sin. Nobody does."
McCalister said he believes his unique background and vocation story will serve him well as a priest, in different ways than if he were coming into the priesthood as a "cradle Catholic."
"There's things that a cradle Catholic and our young men that enter the priesthood are able to bring that I'll never be able to bring because I have a different background," he said.
"There's a way that I see life and ministry and the Church that is just different, because I had to wrestle with different things to get into the Church."
One way that he differs from some others is "my desire for evangelism and to reach the people on the fringes. That was very much a part of the denominational soup that I was raised in. We were all about reaching the lost, and how we can articulate the Gospel in a way to draw people," he said.
The Catholic Church has had a strong emphasis on evangelization in the years after the Second Vatican Council, he said, but some Catholics may not have had as much first-hand experience with it.
"Some people who grew up in the Church are still learning how to use words like evangelism without feeling like they're being Protestant," he said.
As for being married, he's not sure what impact that will have on his ministry, other than that he plans on drawing from family life in his homilies. It is an unusual thing for Latin Catholic priests to be married, he said, though he noted that other ritual Churches in the Catholic Church do allow for married clergy.
"I'm not an activist," he added. "Namely, I'm not here to advocate for the end of celibacy in the priesthood, anyone looking for me to jump on that bandwagon needs to look elsewhere. I'm here to serve Christ and lead people to Jesus."
When asked what he's most excited for in his priesthood, McCalister said: "Can I say everything?" "Mass and mission," he added. "Life in the spirit and engagement in the mission, those are the two things that I'm most excited about."