How can I decide whether or not I should be a pastor?
Traditionally, Christians have referred to two kinds of “call” a man must experience before entering the pastorate: an internal call and an external call. While the word “call” is potentially misleading, the basic idea is right. Before becoming a pastor, a person should both desire to do the work and receive confirmation from a church. Part of doing both involves considering the biblical qualifications of an elder.
- Do you desire the work? The first question to ask when considering whether or not to enter the pastorate is simply the question of whether you desire it. This should not be a passing desire that lasts for two weeks and then changes to something else. Rather, it should be the kind of desire that has been spurring you to do active ministry in your local church regardless of what anyone calls you or what you get paid to do. It should be a desire that is already showing up in your actions and has been showing up for some time.
- Do you meet the biblical qualifications? The second question to ask yourself is whether or not you meet the biblical qualifications of an elder, as Paul lays them out in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Do you see anything in your life that, if it were publicly known, might disqualify you?
- Do you have confirmation from a church? Finally, you should ask the leaders and members of your local church whether they view you as both gifted and qualified to serve in the pastorate. Can they see fruit in the church’s life resulting from your ministry? Can they see anything in your character which might give them pause before recommending you? Have they seen consistency in both of these areas over time? In light of the human ability to believe that we are something that we are not, a church’s confirmation of our suitability to the work of pastoral ministry is every bit as important as our own desires.