So, you want to be a pastor?

With so much being posted on social media these days, even those in ministry have available to them a plethora of helps, lists, and general advice from experienced clergy folk.

Much of what is shared on Facebook and Twitter are written by the “pro’s” in ministry research like Thom S. Rainer, or long-time veterans of ministry like Joe McKeever. What rarely gets shared are articles and posts written by ordinary guys like me – probably because we aren’t professional authors or researchers.

Well, I want to share some helpful hints from an old-school, bi-vocational, small-church, in-the-trenches pastor with no access to research teams, only personal experience, and some common sense (but Logos software doesn’t hurt).

Hopefully, you will find the following 10 points helpful.

10 Words of Wisdom for Those Entering the Pastorate

  1. Get a biblical education. Seriously, it doesn’t matter if the school is only a rag-tag, non-accredited hole in the ground, get an education from someplace that will teach you how to study the Bible by making you study the Bible. Those who call a seminary a “cemetery” are nothing more than illiterate bigots who should be avoided – unless you want to show them how to get saved.
  2. Listen to your wife. I know, sometimes wives have actually been the reason men have left the ministry. However, a good, godly wife will offer you insight that no one else can. She really does have an intuition that sees what our eyes can’t. She is also going to be the only one in the church you can trust 100%
  3. Don’t think every sermon needs to be alliterated. Guys, not every sermon is best delivered with four points, all alliterated with a certain letter or phonetic sound. Sometimes the best way to outline your sermon is just go with the way the Scripture leads.
  4. Be a sheepdog. Do whatever it takes to arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to protect not only those in your church but your own family. Be prepared to fight – literally – for those you love. Always be on the lookout for wolves in sheep’s clothing, especially sexual predators. Believe me, I wish I’d prepared better.
  5. Draw your lines in the sand early on – the earlier the better. Don’t wait for church trouble to draw your lines in the sand. Don’t wait until you are in a struggle with disagreeing leadership before you say, “This is the way it’s going to be.” Start early by saying that…be the thermostat, not the thermometer.
  6. Learn to preach without notes. There’s going to come a time when you need to preach and you won’t have time to prepare an outline. There is going to come a time when you are asked to preach a funeral or a revival service, and all you will have is your Bible. Read it…learn it…know it…and be able to preach from it without a man-made crutch.
  7. Check your pride. The day you go up to the pulpit all cocky, that’s the day you will be an utter failure. Ascend to the “sacred desk” with your knees shaking under the weight of the seriousness of what you’re doing and you will come down humble, but confident God’s Word will not return void. As long as you are humble and dependent on God, that’s when even the most basic of sermons can shake the foundations of hell itself.
  8. Don’t grow too dependent on technology. Men, there may come a day when we don’t have the internet, iPads, microphones, and projection screens. At any moment you could lose one or all of those things, so learn to prepare and to preach like the great warriors of the past – because history has a tendency to repeat itself.
  9. Love your family more than your ministry. You’ve probably heard it said before, but it’s true; your family is your first and most important ministry, not the congregation you serve. Don’t lose your wife or kids for the sake of any church.
  10. Never stop studying and learning. Even if you go to Bible school and seminary, never think you’ve learned enough. Always be learning, reading, researching, and studying. If George Washington Carver could squeeze all he did out of the lowly peanut (to the glory of God), imagine how much you will be able to find if you keep digging deeper into the Holy Writ!

So, there you have it. Do you have some words of wisdom you’d like to share? Why not write them in the comment section below? I’m sure we all could benefit from our collective experiences.

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18 Comments

Filed under ministry, Preaching

18 responses to “So, you want to be a pastor?

  1. Thanks for this. I think I would just emphasise as well that the Biblical qualifications for pastor are more about character than charisma. As I’m not the most godly character, that’s why I see myself as more of a tent making evangelist than pastor material, although God isn’t finished with me yet, and my wife is keen for me to devote myself to gospel ministry. Thanks again, and God bless you in your work for Him 🙂

    • Blessings to you, brother! Thanks for stopping by and commenting 😊. And you are certainly correct about character over charisma. It’s the charismatic ones without any character that have caused us so many problems.

  2. Cheers, and God bless you too 🙂

  3. hawk2017

    Excellent.

  4. What’s amazing is that I haven’t been on WordPress in a serious way since 2016 or 2017. Literally just yesterday, I had the latest and most serious in an ongoing discussion with my wife-to-be about starting a church out of our house. We don’t really know each other, but would you join me in praying that God would help me continue in clarity and obedience over the matter?

  5. And don’t become a preacher if you have nothing to say, There are plenty of those (This is a quote from an old missionary upon visiting our little church on furlough from Africa when I was young).

    • That reminds me of a thing my dad used to tell me: “Never get behind the pulpit unless you’re mad, sad, or glad.” Point being, show some emotion, some passion about what you’re preaching, or just sit down.

  6. Anthony you said, “At any moment you could lose one or all of those things, so learn to prepare and to preach like the great warriors of the past – because history has a tendency to repeat itself”

    This statement gave me a vision of men preaching powerfully and with the authority of the Spirit of God to educate, convince, and convict the sinner and the saint alike into a life of obedience to God. There is nothing like an anointed man or woman handling God’s word correctly. The authority they demonstrate is something to see and experience!

    I do agree about the #1 place of family in vocational ministry, however, the Bible does teach that if we love our family more than God then we are not worthy of God. I believe what you mean is that family is more important than a religious organization being busy. God is definitely #1 over family and the time may come in a believer’s life when they will need to choose God over family.

    It’s perplexing to me when I hear about family members protecting a criminal person in their family by keeping silent or covering up for them, over doing the right thing and making that person responsible and accountable for their actions.

    Blessings! from Linda in Canada.

    • Linda,

      Your passion is beautiful! One thing I would add is that the Bible also teaches that if we do not care (provide) for our own we are worse than unbelievers (infidels), Making us genuine cheaters.

      A pastor lays down his life for Christ! We depend on the Word, the power of the Holy Spirit, experience, tradition, and culture, yes, and education to balance our covenants with God and people.

      Blessings sister

  7. Great post! All of the above and cling to Proverbs 3 especially 5-6.

    Blessings brother!

  8. My husband is a pastor, and I think this is a great list for everyone who is just walking into ministry. Great post

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