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Called into Ministry? Five Questions to Ask Yourself

Considering full-time ministry? Considering seminary? I don’t know of any question that I am asked more often than this: “I think I am being called into ministry but how do I know?” I don’t claim to be an expert on this issue, but I can offer some words of advice. Here are some questions that I think you should ask yourself (in order of importance):

1. Do you have an unrelenting passion? This involves a burning desire in your heart to impact the lives of others. It is a giddy excitement that others may gawk at. (Have you seen this gawk?) It is the type of passion that causes you to lose all other options and directions due to a mind that wanders to the feet of the Lord. I loosely paraphrase Charles Spurgeon: “If there is anything else that you can do, anything, do it. But if ministry is the only option that will satisfy you then consider it.

One of the things about being in ministry is that were something to happen, you are not normally qualified for anything else. I have often been brought to the place where I had to start considering other “career” moves and I get very depressed. Not only can I not find a passion for anything else, I am not qualified for anything else. I just don’t know what else I would or could do. I am committed to ministry. There is an internal compass that won’t point in any other direction.

2. Do you have personal integrity? Integrity, not perfection. None of us are really “qualified” in an absolute sense. You will have continual feelings of inadequacy all the time. This is normal. But the life of a minister of the Lord should be above reproach. This means that you should not have any areas of your life that, if discovered, would bring shame upon the Gospel. People are looking to discredit God. They will use you to do so. In a way, you are the punching bag for God.

This is always hard for me as I often think, “If people knew this or that about me, wouldn’t that shame Christ?” Unfortunately my answer is sometimes “yes,” but I don’t know if it has crossed “that” line. For this reason, I often preemptively strike at people’s criticism. I sometimes use this blog to do so! However, I do recognize that there is a line that we can cross. I sometimes don’t know where it is, but it is somewhere between perfection and debauchery.

Read the Pastoral epistles over and over. Are you given to any addiction, anger, attitudes that lack grace and gentleness? Is your faith in the Lord true? Are there any secret areas about which you are in denial?

3. Have other people been encouraging you to do so? I believe that if God is leading you to go into ministry and to go to seminary (which, in my book, should not be separated), then He will normally encourage you through other people. Whether it be teaching, preaching, or counseling, people must have seen a gift in you and said “Hey, have you ever thought about going to seminary or getting into the ministry?” Let other people help establish the reality of your qualifications. It is necessary to have many counselors.

I remember the first time someone suggested this to me. I was preparing a speech for a class in college. I practiced on some friends. Afterwards, one of them said, “You should think about going into ministry.” That said a lot to me as this was one of my old drinking buddies. She did not normally encourage in such a direction. I sought more and more opportunities to teach about the Bible. I started a Bible study at my work, began to teach Sunday School, led the Baptist Student Union Bible study at school, and on every date I went on, I would ask if I could teach them the Bible. (Kristie and I went through Acts, Romans, John, Genesis, and Revelation while dating. She had some tolerance to make it through that). Though all of this, I had many people encourage me to get into ministry.

Seek out opportunities. This implies much contact with people in the church. If you are not involved in the church right now, don’t even bother … there are other issues with which you need to deal. And (standing on soapbox) don’t say to yourself, “I don’t go to church because all churches are too corrupt,” or “I can’t find a church that I can have fellowship in, that is why I am going into ministry.” We don’t need any more of this type of vigilante “I’m-going-to-fix-everything” attitudes in the church. There are plenty of those already, thanks.

4. Are doors being opened through your experience? This has to do with financial doors and circumstances that make the path clearer. How are you going to pay? Where are you going to live? Do you know of a seminary that will take you? Have you got the right credentials? Also, I always encourage people to do it right if they are going to do it. Get trained. This means going to a good seminary that may cost more. This also involves being on campus full-time with virtual education being minimal to none. Don’t spread it out over ten years. Think of seminary like boot-camp. Its primary value is in the intensity and discipline that you put into your training. Therefore, it must be allowed to be intense. Just imagine if the Army spread out boot camp over a 6 year period where you just come in on weekends. That is not boot camp. What if they allowed for online boot camp? I would not feel safe in our country, would you? It’s the same thing with seminary. I have seen so many people take so long to get through seminary that the benefits were not really there in the end and, frankly, I believe they wasted a lot of time. Count the cost. Don’t get into this half-way. If half-way is your only option, I would say that you should consider that as a sign that it is not where God is leading you.

5. Is your spouse in support of your ministry direction? If the first three are accounted for yet your spouse is not in support of you being in ministry, you often should take this as a sign that God may not be leading you in this direction. Ministry, especially for those in the mission field or those pastoring a church, needs the support of the whole family. I am not saying that your spouse has to be involved at every turn, but they should have a supportive attitude in the direction that you are moving. In your spouse is completely against it, as a rule of thumb, don’t go. God will call you both together.

Kristie was in full support of me being in ministry, but not in support of certain directions that I could have taken in ministry. I allowed (and still allow) her calling to shape my calling. If your spouse’s calling is not your calling, then wait and pray. Let the Lord shape your direction. Be patient.

Also, don’t ever think that leaving your spouse is the “greater-good.” In other words, the Lord will not present you with a dilemma in which you are called to leave your spouse in order to fulfill a ministry calling. Your spouse is your first calling. While you are not in control over their spirituality or commitment to the Lord, you are in control of yours. If you were to leave you spouse for ministry, you are only undermining the sovereignty of God and the very foundation of your ministry. Doing so, in my opinion, disqualifies you (for a time) for that which you seek.

P.S. Please don’t attempt to debate the legitimacy of being “called” or what that means. As well, please save the “all-people-are-in-ministry” responses. I understand that we are all called to be ministers, but there are some who enter into a “professional” ministry or “full-time” ministry where they are not only ministers, but they make a living in this “field.” Oh, and a thousand other qualifications that pertain to ancillary debates that you may be tempted to get in to!

44 Responses to “Called into Ministry? Five Questions to Ask Yourself”

  1. I can say yes to the first 3(with doubts on #2), but I am not married and have financial debt from poor, pre-conversion decision making on education. I am trying to read all the books required for seminary, but it still doesn’t account for being “on campus,” and being mentored or discipled.

    On the bright side…if God has truly called me to ministry, He would have to perform a miracle thus impressing upon me an undeniable and irrevocable call.

    I also have heard from certain Seminary Presidents, (one in particular), who would caution students about racking up so much debt at the cost of an education.

    Is there any reason why we can’t get this type of education from our local church? In response to an earlier post some time last week, I stated, or posed the question, why some local churches (i.e. large SBC or PCUSA) can’t invest their resources in to teaching Greek, Hebrew, S.T., Hermeneutics/Exegesis, and Church History (even Missiology)?

  2. Is there any reason why we can’t get this type of education from our local church?

    One of my major pet peeves is that I can’t get the same deep theological training at my church that I got at seminary.

  3. Michael,

    Thanks for presenting some of the challenges of a discerning a call to ministry. I think that what you’re saying makes a lot of sense and seems in accord with Scripture. It certainly challenges me in a good way.

    Yet regarding point #4 and the seminary part of the equation, could not the Lord lead one into ministry who hasn’t attended formal seminary but somehow manages to attain a solid theological foundation and build on it (as the commenter ahead of me seems to suggest) . Maybe such a person is the exception rather than the rule.

    Also I’m not sure that distance seminary can’t perhaps be as good of a path to take, especially, let’s say, for someone already in ministry seeking to strengthen their theological depth of understanding in order to improve their effectiveness. Or perhaps, someone like myself, who seeks to make a change in career/ministry direction after having been a secular job for a number of years.

    God has graciously opened a door for me to work towards this change in direction through acceptance to a very good school with a virtual Masters of Religion program. Indeed, my job is providing tuition reimbursement for this. Ideally it probably would be best to be on campus and interacting live with students and professors, yet these programs fill a need for some students whose circumstances won’t allow them to pursue the ideal. There is the opportunity as well, of being able to stay plugged in to one’s local church and putting into practice the training one is getting via distance seminary, which is what I’m trying to do. Perhaps in certain cases this could even be superior to going off to school, if that involves severing oneself from one’s church, and putting oneself into debt.

  4. Also, with seminary being as expensive as it is, perhaps we need to envision more ways of training future ministry workers and pastors in addition to, or even, instead of, formal seminary. I know you are an innovator in this area- for example, you’re providing good quality education for laypeople through The Theology Program. Maybe a similar program could be developed that aims at taking laypeople to the next level, so that they could be trained for pastoral and other ministry?

    Maybe it’s not really feasible to completely replace the seminary with church-based training, but perhaps the level of church-based training can be raised to a level where it will someday be able to turn out pastors and ministers that are well-trained.

    John Piper’s Bethel Institute seems to have a vision like this. But I wonder if they can do it while somehow keeping the costs down.

  5. I am in agreement with Dale’s post. My church is not providing any deep education. So, that’s why I am a part time semimnary student. I have spent a lot of time reading and studying on my own and decided that I needed a more structured approach to my education. It’s an expensive hobby and my wife supports me in my exploration.

  6. As one approaching the end of the (formal) ‘formative process’ to be a minister in my own denomination, I would endorse much of what Michael has said. I would widen it out somewhat though, but I suspect that this is an issue of culture and context.
    In my own denomination (Church of Scotland), the role of minister and pastor are pretty much one and the same. This means that one’s calling encompasses a much broader range of activities than I often see reflected in individual positions within US churches. There’s no sense in describing them all here, but they are summed up by a calling not dissimilar to Michael’s #1. But, more than a passion to “impact others”, it’s a passion to love others. It’s a passion that will allow you to spend time with someone with dementia and have the same conversation over and over again. It’s a passion that will make you weep when a ‘respected pillar of your congregation’ goes off the rails and keep you at their side to help repair the damage.
    As for the issue of education – I too see it as crucial, but with a caveat. At the end of the day, it’s real people you are dealing with and, truth be told, many are ignorant of theology, but nevertheless have a great desire to serve the Lord. You may be praised for your own theological understanding; your congregation may appreciate your passion for learning; but if you can’t communicate at their level then they are in awe of your education, not of the gospel you are preaching.

  7. When I first became a believer, I *emotionally* decided to enter the ministry. I didn’t get very far. I learned your point #5 the hard way. At that point in time, making my wife a pastor’s wife would have been very unkind. I also realized that there were far more duties to being a minister than preaching. I doubt I would enjoy many of them.

  8. Kevin Bullock March 9, 2010 at 6:38 am

    You didn’t really make a good argument imo for why a minister should go camp out at a seminary for a few years rather than taking advantage of distance learning or some other nontraditional form of education.

    What would you say to a third world Christian that has come to the Christian faith and is called to Pastor a small village? I can’t believe that you would say “No wait four years and fly to Texas with me”. Is the need for orthodox pastors any less urgent here?

    I love your blog and your writing btw but this one nags at me, I have read remarks from you on this subject before.

    I believe a called Pastor should be a lifelong learner and seek absolutely the best education he can get, but life does not happen in neat sequential seasons for everyone. Good called men seem to be rarer in the church today than men that have been culturally “bred” to be Pastors, I would hate to see one discouraged because he could not afford a seminary education.

    As for your other points, I couldn’t agree more, good stuff as usual.

  9. CMP:

    As someone who is working through seminary and future role as a pastor/teacher, I have to ask for clarification on two areas that have been touched on in the other comments:

    One of the things about being in ministry is that were something to happen, you are not normally qualified for anything else. … I just don’t know what else I would or could do. I am committed to ministry. There is an internal compass that won’t point in any other direction.

    I agree that those “called” to ministry should have a passion and gifting for teaching and serving others. However your qualification as stated (or at least as I understand it) is that if you have been trained to do something else – and even like it you are probably not called to FT ministry. So any of us considering a career change should stop pursuing ministry because we have other skills? Can not the passion to teach become greater than a passion for our current career (and combined with the other criteria you laid out) and cause us to pursue a new direction?

    Would this criteria as stated disqualify Paul since he was a tent maker and lawyer?

    I know many pastors who have chosen FT ministry as a “second” or later career and they are excellent teachers and shepherds.

    This also involves being on campus full-time with virtual education being minimal to none. Don’t spread it out over ten years. Think of seminary like boot-camp.

    I agree with Alexander’s comments above. What are the practical reasons for going to seminary FT vs. an online option? Why is that the only option – at least that you can see? Can the local church body not provide many / all of them?

    Thanks for the post and challenging us to question our calling and direction. We are best served by evaluating where we are heading and why!
    MikeB

  10. Turning tracking on… :)

  11. CMP –

    Here are some other pointers of whether one is to be in full-time ministry:

    – Willing to do so even if one does not receive a paycheck from it. Nothing wrong with being paid for such. But it isn’t a requirement.
    – Understanding the ministry is, first and foremost, about serving and washing feet.
    – Understand that we are called to teamwork and not as lone rangers.
    – Having other wise leaders you will constantly stay connected to.

    Also, maybe you could do a follow up post of 5 questions, or points, to consider that show you are not called into ministry. :)

  12. John O,

    I’m not trying to hijack the thread here at all.

    I just wanted you to know I very much apprecieated your comment about being willing to spend time with someone with dementia and have the same conversation over and over. That is something very close to my heart. My Mother spent the last years of her life in an extended care with severe dementia. When a new Pastor came to the church that she had been a member of for close to 40 years, he told my sister that, “He had better things to do with his time then to visit her. She doesn’t know what I am talking about anyway.” A that point she was probably beyond even having the same conversation over and over. However that was one of the most grevious things I have ever heard coming from a Pastor.

    A strong love for God and His people are so vitally necessary.

  13. I do not intend to detract from the part of this discussion about how to know if you’re called and how to prepare oneself for vocational ministry. However, I have a big problem with the underlying assumption.

    What true Biblical difference is there between church/missionary vocation and any other God honoring and God equipped vocation? This discussion seems to imply (correct me if I am wrong) that there is something “higher’ in the calling to be a minister (vocationally) and being a doctor, lawyer, accountant, salesman, plumber, carpenter, etc.

    For the subject to be adequately dealt with it should be focused on the Biblical wisdom needed to determine your giftedness and find a appropriate vocation in which you can glorify God consistent with your design.

    JMHO

  14. CMP,

    I know of a young man (18 years old) who is a very good friend of my son who is passionate for the ministry. He will graduate high school this May. What advice would you give him as far as undergraduate degree prior to entering seminary school? Should he go to a Christian University (OBU, OCU, SNU, etc.) and major in biblical history, Greek, etc. or seek a degree in something outside of ministry? I ask this because he is still undecided and has been told by those he trusts to seek a degree outside of ministry first.

  15. J.R.
    I’m speaking from a point of ignorance to an extent because I’m not familiar with the US education system, but if your son’s friend has a true passion for ministry, there’s the possibility that doing anything else will only be a distraction. He may not be so committed to it and will end up running up educational debt unnecessarily.
    That’s not to suggest that life experience or knowledge of another field of study isn’t useful, but it will depend on his sense of ‘appropriateness’ for his future task. I’m one of the older students at my university (late 40s – it’s a 2nd career, so to speak), but there are fellow ministry students who are not long out of secondary (high) school. They never thought to do anything else as their sense of call to ministry was so strong. But that’s an individual thing though; he himself may feel that he would benefit from the maturity and discipline a different course of study would bring.
    I would suggest though that his call is tested in some sense before he commits to a decision, if he hasn’t done so already. A mature and experienced mentor can often see and suggest possibilities that haven’t even been considered.

  16. cherylu,
    Thank you. I’ll not say I find that part of ministry particularly easy or comfortable, but I know from experience that it is valued and can often make surprising connections. Sharing something like the Lord’s Prayer, especially in a less contemporary expression, will often evoke a deep-rooted response from someone who can only connect with dim memories. Not saying that only a pastor or minister can do that, but we are called to tend the entire flock, not those we pick and choose.

  17. A correction and clarification to earlier comments.

    1) The institute for training elders and ministers associated with John Poper’s Bethlehem Baptist church is called Bethlehem Institute not, Bethel Institute.

    2) Also, I meant to say that although students with the ability and motivation to study theology on a seminary level outside of a formal education setting may be exceptional, maybe they are not necessarily rare. And these kinds of folks can be adept at taking advantage of the numerous resources available today, esp online, and are apt to already be involved in ministry.

    For example I know a young man, recently married, who is mature for his years and leads the youth ministry at my church. He is pursuing a reformed education by distance through a free online seminary. The program he’s going through involves study of classic works, and while I think this doesn’t match what a good accredited seminary would provide, there are certain benefits. He works closely with the pastor and is gaining good ministry experience; he is able to avoid debt and continue in fellowship surrounded by elders from whom he’s also being sharpened.

  18. Michael,

    In lieu of the your rather familiar and might I say somewhat snarky remarks about the integrity and appropriateness of distance learning programs, I would welcome a more thorough presentation of your thoughts where you actually marshal the evidence, and then present an argument for your position. I have always appreciated the contemplative and irenic approach you employ and would like to see it applied to this topic as well. At the risk of seeming presumptuous, I wonder if anyone in the local church per se shares similar disdain for the exponential proliferation of parachurch ministries?

    Here is my point: I was not here, and I did not encourage the “Democratization of American Christianity” to borrow the book title and concepts of Nathan O. Hatch, but I do wrestle with the consequences of it daily. If we really want to overcome what Mark Noll termed as “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind,” then should we not welcome and employ tools such as ATS accredited distance learning programs and ‘The Theology Program’ to do so? Should we not both encourage and enable people to move beyond the often stale and narrow theological perspectives, agendas, and denominational bias of the Bible College educational system, or worse yet, the lack thereof? What is the real issue here? Authority? Control? Prestige? I do not believe anyone can argue effectively that a distance learning program is ideal or preferable to a traditional residential experience at a seminary, but I do believe it can be an acceptable means to an honorable and necessary end.

    I only wish the reformed and confessional churches would have discovered a way to maintain both the authority and integrity of sound doctrinal teaching in a more flexible and reproducible medium, then perhaps we would have both more unity and purity in Evangelicalism today.

  19. I do find the idea of on-site seminary largely at odds even with your own programs. It also runs against what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7. Virtual training is going to be the norm inside of the decade. I think there will be satellite training opportunities to provide some of the Paul/Timothy mentoring to round out this trend.

  20. I think the many and diverse comments fairly well demolish CMP’s NARROW criteria for what constitutes proper ministerial calling and training. I especially like the ones about indigenous pastors in less prosperous, educated countries. I think if Paul and the other apostles had followed CMP’s criteria the church might not exist today. Any criteria for calling and ministering the Gospel must work thoughout history and in all cultures. You’re putting God in a box here, Michael. Perhaps you are just trying to “stir it up” here as you are wont to do.

  21. Not only is online-distance education and training becoming the norm, but also compacted times of education. What I mean is that institutions are starting to offer week-long training courses. Do this 3 times a year over 4 years and one can complete their training. I think it is viable, though I would guard against an overly ‘microwave’ mentality, in that we can stick our education in the microwave, hit a button, and presto, we have our training.

  22. This is probably taking this discussion too far off at a tangent, but I’d like to chip in on the education-source front.
    I’m unfamiliar with US seminaries, but in the UK, such institutions are generally associated with specific denominations and tend to toe the party line. My denomination has never ‘endorsed’ seminary education, preferring its ministers to be educated at a university, thus ensuring, to a degree, a more ‘neutral’ and balanced theological stance.
    My concern then with condensed course would be that a person is then only exposed to that which they need to know to be ‘orthodox’. Otherwise it becomes much more difficult to pack it all in.
    But, like I say, I have no experience if US seminary education, so maybe my fears are ungrounded.

  23. I have gone into a further defense of onsite vs. online education on a new post here on the blog. It will respond to some of your questions/criticisms. Here: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/03/why-traditional-onsite-seminary-is-still-by-far-the-best-option/

  24. JR,

    It is hard to make a hard and fast rule here, but I generally advise people to get their undergrad work done at a secular university (or secular-like…Notre Dame and Prinston qualify!) or state university. Then do their grad work at a seminary (hopefully evangelical). But, if they are going to go into world of academics to be a professor, then they had better consider a grad degree from Duke or Notre Dame or some other broadly respected school since they will have a better chance of getting into a respected PhD. Finally, for PhD: If they are going into the pastorate, then it does not make any difference. University or seminary would be good. However, if they are going into academics and want broad consideration, they had better to their work at a University.

  25. Jeff,

    I do agree with you here:

    “I only wish the reformed and confessional churches would have discovered a way to maintain both the authority and integrity of sound doctrinal teaching in a more flexible and reproducible medium, then perhaps we would have both more unity and purity in Evangelicalism today.”

  26. John From Down Under March 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Hello from the other side of the pacific. Just a pertinent question if I may please (minor digression but important for some). We recently had someone start attending our church who is an ‘ordained’ pastor yet he is single.

    In light of 1 Timothy 3:4-5 I find it difficult to bypass the family (wife AND kids) requirement. Your 5th point also touches on it, at least the spouse bit.

    It seems like a no brainer to me for the office of an elder/pastor and the passage assumes it. Yet I have been quoted Paul’s example as a single/unmarried guy in ‘ministry’and the implied singleness of Timothy and Titus. As the bible is silent on their marital status I can’t say if they were single or if the bible simply does not mention that they were married.

    It almost appears contradictory that Paul would set the standard by telling Timothy that the office of an elder requires a family (as a given), and simultaneously imply that “look at me I’m single and that works too, so it’s optional”

    So, can a pastor be single / not married? (I am asking the question strictly for ‘ordained’ pastors no other forms of ministry)

  27. J Tiberius Kirk March 11, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Wow! How about THE WILL OF GOD?!?! What Jesus says?
    27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

    4. Are doors being opened through your experience? This has to do with financial doors and circumstances that make the path clearer.”
    Is this how it is in YOUR respective worlds?
    Myself, and most I know, have opposition like HELL at some point (usually the early stages) in starting the ministry. “Every Word of God is tested”

  28. J Tiberius, I think what Michael is referring to regarding open doors is different than the opposition we face in ministry. He is referring to doors that open for one to utilize their giftings most effectively. Most certainly, even within the confines of those open doors, there will be opposition. We can expect that.

  29. CMP.

    First off… thanks….. as you know I’ve been toying with this for a while trying to discern where God’s leading me. Sometimes seminary seems the obvious route.. sometimes it doesn’t. So we (yes… my spouse and I) “wait patiently on the Lord

    I do recommend one thing. Get active in your Church ! It’s the best way of learning and seeing what serving is all about. There’s people you love and there’s people that are a little bit more challenging. And that’s what you’ll face in ministry all the time.

    One question.
    I’m deducing from the overall tone of the article that you equate ministry with teaching ? How about the person who keeps the administration at the Church office running ? How about the person who runs the Credo House on a daily basis ? Opening doors, serving coffee, talking to people that just walk in, welcoming them, making them feel at home.

    Isn’t that a way of serving, and hence a ministry ? And it could be a full-time job.

    I doubt one needs a seminary degree to find a full-time job serving somewhere. I do concur those options tend to be more limited and harder to find.

    In Him
    Mick

  30. pray for my,church need’s and for my christamas dresses to my family.

  31. Good reminder.

    It is rough when it falls apart.

    I would suggest getting a useful bachelor’s (ie – computers or business) and then doing the seminary thing. It is really hard to get a “real job” when you are only qualified to minister.

    Hopefully getting back at it sometime :)

  32. These are good Points Micahel, but why don’t you put about loving money, I think if people who considered to being called into ministry money it should not be their ultimate goal, I have been into ministry now for the last five years, I have seen very gift it people whether fell or left the ministry because their love to money

  33. #1-3 Yes
    #4 hasn’t happened yet. I have many ministry opportunities at church but I’ve been talking to Pastor about full-time ministry.
    #5 I’m not married yet. God has yet to reveal my perfect match to me.

  34. I think there were many good descriptive answers in what you’ve written. Definitely don’t undermine your spouse’ s wisdom and support on whether or not you’re called to full time ministry. Ive been struggling with what God has for me but I can admit that ive been impatient and know better. This article was very helpful and I sensed a lot of words that jumped out at me that ive heard a lot lately. I know and have gotten confirmation but Gods timing is perfect and I need to discipline myself to that. Self-denial and faith will help me and everyone else. God bless

  35. TIMOTHY WUBNIG April 6, 2013 at 9:06 am

    1-3 DEFINITE AND 5. INCREDIBLE. 4 I NEED TO GET STARTED ON. DON’T HAVE THE EXPERIENCE. DON’T HAVE AN EDUCATION. BUT I DON’T KNOW IF ANYTHING ELSE WILL SATISFY ME. AS FOR MY SPOUSE, SHE NOT ONLY ENCOURAGES ME, BUT SHE IS SO GOOD, SO PURE, SO QUIET, SO STRONG, SO MEEK, SO CARING, SO WORTHY OF BEING IMITATED. SHE MAKES ME THINK EVEN MORE SO IF EVER THERE COULD BE A SUITABLE PASTORS WIFE SHE IS THE ONE.

  36. If you don’t know what the Bible means totally.
    Then your not to preach.
    If you think you are called to preach then study the Bible inside and out And all about it.
    Where it came from who wrote what to who ECT..
    Know that most of the new testament was first written in Hebrew not greek.
    NOW study and study at least five years minimum. Then go preach.
    You can’t be a fresh saved junkie or alchly and preach the next week. The Holy Spirit don’t work that way.
    If you don’t believe me I don’t care. You wo’nt be spoon fed and it’s not easy.

  37. If the “traditional” path of obtaining seminary education is preferred, then why do so many of these people get it wrong? Why so many seminary trained ministers are so ineffective. In my church, there are so many people I’ve seen “called” from the pews into the meat grinder of not only seminary training, but also the ordination process of our episcopacy… and yet they seem hardly equipped to teach, show very little passion in preaching, and still fall to errant doctrine, or “the doctrine of the day”

    What’s it all for? For you to sit in pulpit with a robe on? For prestige? I can appreciate the discipline to pursue ANY higher education… but just as there are doctors, lawyers, nutritionists and dietitians who aren’t very good, so too are many ministers who come out of the system.

  38. I could answer all of them for sure!! God put us in a place for several years to where we were able to be financially stable to step out into full time ministry. But here’s the thing, in taking this pastoral job, we will have to move from everything we’ve ever known. I feel confident and have a peace about it. But my wife says that she does not have a peace about leaving but has a 100% peace about the decision that I have made for us to go. I think that she is just so dependent on momma and daddy ( which live very close and are involved with our 3 kids a lot) that she hasn’t really allowed Herself to feel that peace. We’ll get back with me and let me know what you think. Thank you.

  39. Hi Michael! I’m curious about the following quote you wrote:

    “I loosely paraphrase Charles Spurgeon: “If there is anything else that you can do, anything, do it. But if ministry is the only option that will satisfy you then consider it.”

    My sister said the same thing with acting, “if you can see yourself happy in any other career, do that instead.” If we can see ourselves on two career paths, one in church ministry and one in another area, why should we pick the other area? Doesn’t that type of attitude undermine ministry as a career.

    Thanks!

  40. C Michael Parton November 18, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    I think the idea is that you must be so passionate about it that if you don’t do it, the words of The Lord will burn a hole through your heart. If there are other things you can see yourself doing happily, do those.

  41. My question I’m retired and in good health and have a desire to preach and teach the word of God , and want to use whatever time I have to servr The Lord. How do you feel about wanting to Pastor at an older age?

  42. My question is, do i need to consult my girlfriend also? We are not yet married

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] Michael Patton’s five questions to ask yourself if you’re considering the ministry. […]

  2. Do Pastors Have to go to Seminary? | Painter Ramblings - May 18, 2010

    […] was reading a blog post over at the Parchment and Pen blog entitled “Called into Ministry? Five Questions to Ask Yourself”. The post talks about five questions to ask yourself before going into the ministry: Do you have […]

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