Am I Called to Pastoral Ministry?

By Rev. Jeff DeBoer 

Perhaps you are thinking about entering pastoral ministry. But you wonder, “How do I know if I am called?

Consider the following:

Do you have a strong desire to serve God as a pastor?
Being a pastor has special opportunity to care for God’s people and is therefore a deeply rewarding calling. But it is also challenging and often difficult. Is pastoral ministry really what you long to do?

Do you have the ability to serve God’s people?
Part of this question is about natural ability—do you have the intellectual and communication skills necessary to study, learn and explain effectively? But this question is also about your spiritual maturity. Are you growing in your walk with Christ? Are there any besetting sins in your life?

Are you humble?
Do you listen well to other people, even when you do not agree? Are you willing to submit to others, reflective when criticized, and quick to repent?

Are you already involved in the work of the church?
Seminary will help you with theological knowledge and skill building, but you can test your desire and ability by working in your church now.

What sort of pastor do you hope to be?
The most urgent need in our culture is for pastors who have a deep desire to reach people who do not know Christ. Do you have a desire to serve Christ wherever the need is most apparent?

Are you spending time in prayer, asking God to make his will for you clear?
Have you talked to people who know you well? Certainly that will include your pastor and other leaders in your church, but seek out others who also know you, and ask them to give you an honest appraisal.

Finally, let me encourage you. The previous questions are pointed, and I would be surprised if you didn’t find some areas in which you could grow. But if others encourage you to pursue pastoral ministry, and have a convincing sense of God’s call, then please, don’t wait.

The fields are ripe, but the harvesters are few (Luke 10:2).

What exactly does it mean to be called to the ministry? How do you know you are called to the ministry, and what are the steps to confirm such? In these three videos, we get a taste of what it means to experience this call to preach, and how to heed this call in preparation for seminary: