Vernon entered Ambassador College, a liberal arts and theological school, in the fall of 1957. He was selected as a ministerial trainee in Chicago, Illinois, and later Phoenix, Arizona, in 1961. He was ordained as a minister in October 1962 and married in October 1962 to DeLee Hans who was attending the same school. They were married for 53 years at the time of her death in December 2015. They had two sons and five grandchildren.