The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 1 Timothy 3:1
You have a burning desire to serve the Lord full time in ministry but you are unsure how to become a pastor. What are the steps you need to take to become a pastor? The answer to this will depend significantly on the denomination in which you wish to become a pastor and the specific area of ministry in which you wish to serve. We will do our best to guide you through the steps you need to take to fulfill your desire.
The first step on your journey to becoming a pastor is to confirm your calling. Being a pastor in a church is not an easy job. It is not a ministry to step into without a strong confirmation that God has called you to the task. This calling may come in multiple ways:
- A desire to serve God full time that you just cannot ignore Is the Spirit calling to your spirit?
- A literal request or encouragement from those who know you, especially pastors, to move into full time service. Are others encouraging you to pursue the ministry?
- A consistent history of effective service in your local church. Is God blessing your current lay ministry?
- A regular and growing personal relationship with God. Without a strong personal relationship with God you will not be able to stand up under the attacks of Satan. Are you spending regular time with God in His Word and in prayer?
If you still feel God is calling you to ministry then seek the council of your church pastors before taking any more steps. If God is calling you then they should also see signs of that calling.
It is one thing to desire to be a pastor, it is another thing to have the skills and training to do it effectively. A pastor needs to be skilled in many areas: biblical studies, worship, spiritual growth, counseling, administration, leadership, and communication, just to name a few.
Much of this training can and should come from hands on experience in your local church and personal study, but formal training is not only highly beneficial but expected and usually required to serve in most churches as a pastor. It is very important that you seek the guidance of your church pastors to find out what are the specific requirements for pastors in your church and denomination.
There are many colleges and Bible schools that offer training in ministry. Here at Worship Arts Conservatory we also offer ministry training that will prepare you for serving as a pastor. Some churches will only consider a person a pastor if they are a preaching pastor where others may give the title “pastor” to any full time church leader. So if you are seeking to be something other than a “preaching pastor” then please check out all our ministry training opportunities by going to our academics page.
We have a program of study specifically designed to prepare you for pastoral ministry called our Christian Ministries Certificate. This is 38 credit hour certificate which will introduce you to Biblical studies, spiritual growth, worship, communication and ministry. It is our goal to expand this to a 2 year diploma by 2016. Our 2 year Christian Ministries Diploma expands on each of these areas. It is our goal to prepare ministers who not only have Bible knowledge but are effective in communicating that knowledge and have the skills to organize and run a growing church ministry. I hope you take the time to investigate our ministry training opportunities.
In many denominations you are required to be ordained before you can use the title pastor or they may have more than one level of pastor such as licensed pastor and ordained pastor. Ordination is a process that is specific to each denomination but usually involves a few key steps:
- Completion of required training. You will need to demonstrate that you have the training required by that church or denomination.
- Evidence of call from home church. You will probably need to have your home church request the ordination.
- Ordination counsel. You will be questioned by a counsel of pastors to see if you have the necessary knowledge.
- Ordination service. You will have a church service for the purpose of publicly recognizing your call to full time Christian service.
Ordination is usually for a specific denomination or church and so may or may not be recognized if you change denominations or churches. It is often possible to transfer your ordination credentials to another denomination if the theology is similar enough.