Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)
The call to ministry has always been classified as a supernatural occurrence. How to know Know if you should be a Pastor?
We see in the old testament where God called an entire tribe from the children of Israel to assume priestly duties, and no one else could step into that role.
In today’s society, when asked how they decided to pursue preaching the gospel, some pastors say that they heard God’s voice speaking to them. Others claim that they had dreams about their journey with Christ, and others say that they were prophesied into ministry.
The Bible teaches us that before we were fashioned in our mother’s womb, we were thought of by God and given a purpose by him. Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1: 1-19)
It is only logical then that those who should become pastors or leaders of God’s flock were already chosen by God and created with the necessary tools for this job. Therefore, if you think you are called to serve as a pastor, here are three things you should look for, as proclaimed in the Bible.
Know if you should be a Pastor / Do You Have a Desire to Become a Pastor?
1 Timothy 3:1-16 is an excellent guide for those who believe that they are called to be ministers of God’s word. It says:
If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore, an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?
There have been pastors who, after being in ministry for some time, have expressed that had they been fully aware of what it would require to effectively carry out this ministry, they would not have gone through with it. While we can appreciate this honesty, it reveals a greater need to consult with God before undertaking His great work.
The person called to lead God’s people must be ready and willing to make sacrifices for the gospel.
- Enjoy Serving People in God’s Kingdom
- Working hard and long on spiritual Items
- Enjoy spending Time with God
- Has a Life Driving sorrow people are lost
- Conscious that it is only by God walking with them – can the borders of the kingdom be moved
- Life directions are of Faith
- Enjoy a life of Growth and Study
- Spend time in Prayer
They should seek earnestly to live a wholehearted life in devoted service to God and His people.
They should find pleasure in being in God’s presence, spending hours listening to God’s word, reading the word, and communicating with God. A pastor should have no problem dedicating hours to imparting God’s words and instructions to his congregation and the wider community.
He should be willing to take care of the practical needs of the people as Christ did. Jesus’ ministry is the perfect example of the kind of selfless service that leaders of His flock should endeavor to emulate.
A pastor should understand that by answering the call to lead as Christ did, they are no longer in charge of themselves, but are now vessels of the Living God. This should be the attitude and posture that the body of Christ adopts, not just the pastor. However, those called to pastoral ministry should possess a greater desire to do the will of Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 9:7, it says, “each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” When a pastor gives himself, his time, and resources, the Lord wants him to be delighted in his service.
A pastor who is reluctant to carry out the work that God needs to be done, cannot effectively execute the mandate found in Matthew 28:18-20. Teaching all nations is a full-time responsibility. If the pastor has no desire to serve God full-time, even when it is not convenient to him, then he should seek the Lord in earnest prayer and ask for a renewing of the heart.
Has your desire given way to conviction?
In 1 Peter 5:2, the word says, “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly.” This further reveals the need for ministers to have the desire to do the work that God desires.
There have been testimonies that point to the calling of God as being one of inner conviction. In such a case, the prompting of the Holy Spirit takes up mental real estate. It becomes an unshakable thought and burden on the heart, so much so that not submitting to the call brings tension and apprehension.
There were people in the Bible who tried to run away from God. Jonah is most famous for his failed attempt that landed him in the belly of a great fish. (Jonah 1:17)
The Desire to Preach – Is a Fire
So it was for Jeremiah who sought to express to the world what it was like if he chose to not proclaim the Lord on high like he was supposed to. He exclaimed, “But if I say, I will not mention his word or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” (Jeremiah 20:9)
According to Teacher John Laffitte, the call of God is continuous:
It is a conviction that never goes away. The calling of God marks you for the rest of your life. Whatever you do, you will feel it tugging inside. It is like wind or current. Trying to go against it takes effort. It makes you feel bad and dissatisfied, with no peace. Going with it makes things seem to be easy, smooth, and fast. Everything feels peaceful in your life, and there are internal satisfaction and happiness that will come over your life.
The Bible speaks extensively about conviction with the call of the Lord and His words. In Acts 4:20, it says, “For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” In Job 32:18, it says, “For I am full of words, and my spirit within me compels me.”
The psalmist in Psalm 39:3 states, “My heart grew hot within me; as I mused, the fire burned. Then I spoke with my tongue.” Such is the compulsion from the Holy Spirit on the heart of one created for ministry.
The prophet, in Jeremiah 4:19, cried out, “My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh, the pain in my chest! My heart pounds within me; I cannot be silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of battle.” He continued in Jeremiah 23:9 and 29 “9As for the prophets: My heart is broken within me, and all my bones tremble. I have become like a drunkard, like a man overcome by wine, because of the LORD, because of His holy words. 29Is not My word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that smashes a rock?”
Desire Becomes Conviction
When desire gives way to a burning conviction that rests on the heart, then it is time to prayerfully consider whether the Lord is leading you down the path of pastoral ministry.
Are there Any Others who have Identified the Hand of God on you?
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations.” (Isaiah 42:6)
We all have gifts; however, we do not always recognize them or understand the potential that we have to impact the body of Christ and our community. Some called to the ministry have been prophesied over by others within their local church. This may be by their elders or someone who has been observing them for a while. These are more than recommendations made by mere mortals who believe that a person “speaks well” or is “charismatic enough” to sway the opinions and stir listeners’ hearts. A prophetic word has to come from someone who has received the gift of prophesying, and who passes the threefold prophetic test as outlined in Deuteronomy 18:20-22.
In 2 Peter 1:21, it says, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
It is important, in addition to having a desire to becoming a pastor, that you have the stamp of approval that can only be given by God. When listening to those members of your church who may seek to advise you into ministry, it should be clear that this is a sign from God. Suppose these elders and advisors have not been in constant prayer to God to understand the purpose God has for your life. In that case, their words are merely the opinions of men, which has no divine weight, and by itself cannot be the benchmark for deciding to become a pastor.
These are some of the ways seasoned Christians and elders of the church will recognize your potential or the gifts God has given to you. They will not hesitate to point out that you would make a good servant of the Lord as a minister of the gospel or some other leadership positions in the church. When these opinions are brought to you, they may awaken a latent desire that should be brought to God in prayer.
Desire Becomes Surrender
Teacher Laffitte believes that a person will know if they are destined to be a pastor if the church recognizes these qualities in them:
- They will notice your prayers are more effective.
- When you preach the gospel to others, you are more effective.
- When you speak, people want to hear. You have a deeper understanding of the Scriptures. There is a greater authority in your words.
- There is greater spiritual power and manifestations. All of these things will happen and grow throughout your life.
Paul, however, in (1 Corinthians, 2:4 ) shows us that charming words and eloquent speeches are not the markers for ministry.
Yes, it does help believers, especially those young in the faith, or those contemplating becoming a part of God’s family. It is easy to understand the teachings of a good speaker, but his speeches alone mean nothing. The work of soul-winning belongs to the Holy Spirit who speaks through us. 1 Corinthians 2:4 says, “And my speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”
Moses was not an Eloquent Speaker
So if you are not the most eloquent speaker, but through prayer, God reveals His call on your life. Like Moses, you can assume a role that by your own standards, or the standards of men, you are unfit to carry out.
While it is important to heed elders’ counsel, it is important to prayerfully seek clarity on any word spoken to you as it relates to your purpose and calling within the church.
What Opportunities have Presented Themselves toward your Pastoral Journey?
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:1-16)
If the opportunities for development into the pastoral ministries are in abundance, attached to desire and confirmation from God and the church, then one can definitely say they are being called to be a pastor.
The gifts that you were given by God should always be utilized for the glory of His name. By so doing, others will notice God’s greatness and come to worship him, thereby fulfilling the mandate that we have all been charged with. It may be your experience that you find yourself constantly “in the spotlight” at your church for your dedication to service. You may be asked to serve as a youth leader, lay preacher, or deacon. Perhaps you find that your prayers are frequently requested because they often yield fruits. Have your efforts to ministry been working out without a glitch? It could be that Jesus has paved the way for you to access the additional resources needed to be effective in ministry. Is He providing the finances for you to attend school? Is He giving you outlets to express your talents and gifts?
When God calls a person to ministry, He lays the groundwork. One stepping stone leads to the next.
As your relationship with God deepens, He’ll guide you to your purpose and role within the body of Christ. The Bible tells us to do everything with a willing heart, and God will be pleased with us.
It is an honor to be called to partake in any part of the work of God. From managing the parking lot, cleaning the church floors, leading out in worship, and assuming leadership roles. There is a role for everyone within the body, and we should glorify God in the humble execution of these roles. We can all witness to those around us, but the call of leading a congregation as a pastor, should come from God and not just from a place of wanting to do more.
1 Corinthians 2:10,11 says, “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so, no man knoweth the things of God, but the Spirit of God.” Therefore, having spiritual discernment is crucial to find out whether you are being called to be a pastor. If your spiritual life is deficient, you may not be in the best position to know whether the Lord has actually called you.
We are good at fooling ourselves, and we are even better at fooling others, but we can never trick God. He is the searcher of hearts. He knows the desires and intentions of those who would seek to take up leadership within the church. He warns us in Colossians 3:23-25, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord, you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.”
Therefore, check your standing with God and evaluate your daily life. Your spiritual thermostat will gauge the different promptings and external suggestions you will receive. At the end of the day, a Pastor is expected to be God’s mouthpiece, so keep your spiritual channel clear at all times, and God will direct your path.