Wow! What a task. Becoming a pastor or preacher is no small thing. If you desire to do this, then there are some serious things you need to think about. Hopefully this article will help you in that decision-making process, because the Word of God is not to be taken lightly; neither are the souls of men.
Some questions to begin with are:
- What made you think about becoming a pastor?
- Why do you want to be a pastor?
- Are you called of God to preach?
- What do you believe about the Bible?
- Are you actually eligible to become a pastor?
- If not, then why?
- How long have you been a Christian?
- Are you willing to speak the truth in love?
There are thousands more questions that one could ask you about this topic, but we’ll only discuss a couple of these. And then, I’m praying that you won’t make a mistake and enter the ministry without counting the cost. For the Bible teaches that an elder or teacher of the Word is held much more accountable to God than the laymen.
Seriously, are you called to be a pastor/preacher? You may be telling yourself, “I have no idea, but I have a desire.” This is good. A desire is good for a pastor to have. If you don’t have the passion to preach or the desire to care for others’ souls, then God hasn’t put it into your heart. But the call may look different concerning you than it does concerning others in the past. One call is not universal. Which makes it the more difficult to discern if you’re called of God or not. But there are requirements to be met to actually know if you’re called or not. Most of this comes from 1 Timothy and Titus for the qualifications of an elder. A pastor or preacher is an elder and thus should meet these requirements.
1. Are you a Christian? Do you believe in the Son of God for the forgiveness of your sins?
2. Do you believe the whole Gospel? Not just most of it. The whole Gospel?
3. Do you believe in Hell? Hope so, you better. It’s in the Bible.
4. Are you reading your Bible and praying everyday? You need a close walk with God.
5. Are you married? If so, are you looking at pornography or lusting? That counts you out…for the time being. You need to be a one-woman man.
6. You can’t be a new convert, but mature and tested in the faith.
So if you meet the qualifications for an elder, then you have to go back and ask yourself if you’re called. Do you have a passion to see the lost saved, people’s lives changed by the Gospel, and God’s name lifted up on high? Are you so drawn to the pulpit and preaching that you’d do it without pay if you could? Would you hurt people you love, just so you could see them saved? Do you really want to herald such a responsibility? If so, then you may just be called. My suggestion would be to go and talk to your elders and local church members that you trust to ask them what they think.
The Next Step
After you’ve talked with the deacons, elders, and so on in your local church, then you may want to ask them to test your abilities. These gifts that God has given you will prove whether or not you’re able to handle this responsibility. The elders in your church should mentor you and give you more and more responsibility as you go. And I don’t mean by making you the youth pastor. Youth ministries are ruining this country. But that’s for another article.
What you’ll need is time to study the Word and to teach classes or preach at times. This way you can be fully tested as to whether or not you have the gift of teaching or preaching. The local church is the best place for this.
I don’t necessarily believe that one needs to go to college and seminary to become a pastor or preacher. This is not a Biblical requirement. But you should be getting an education nonetheless. Study Greek, Hebrew, and the methods of exegesis. If you can’t study on your own, then you may need to get a higher education. The purpose of college and seminary isn’t really to teach you things, but to teach you how to study. So if you are not disciplined in this area, then you may need to learn how to be.
I would recommend talking to your elders again about this option. Your church may even send you. If not, you could search out some Acts 29 churches to find a way to plant your own church in a city you have a passion for. But this is a last option. You need to be under the authority of your local church. Take their advice. Learn from them. And soon they will send you off to preach the Gospel with your own core group.
It sickens me that most churches want somebody who’s gone to seminary when the most qualified are those who’ve never gone. Churches are calling men to make their wives work while they go to school. Titus 3 votes against that. We are called to be led, taught, and trained by our local churches and then sent out into the world to preach the Gospel to the lost.
If you really believe you are called of God to herald the Word of God, then I’d really encourage you to think about missions to the unreached people groups of the world. There are millions of people who have never heard the name of Jesus and are going to Hell. We need good men out there, working their tail off for the souls of men. Give God the glory and lose your life for Him. If you try to gain your life, it’s already gone. May God richly bless you with His truths.