Are you a passionate high-school student yearning to make a meaningful impact by sharing the transformative message of Jesus Christ? The steps to becoming a pastor, youth pastor, or minister can vary depending on your church’s background and organizational structure. As you embark on your journey of becoming a pastor, it helps to have some guidance on the personal, spiritual, and practical realities of that growth process.
5 Steps to Becoming a Pastor
Here, we’ve listed five key aspects of that process to keep in mind:
1. Answer the call
Pastoral ministry isn’t easy, but it is personally rewarding. Many individuals who aspire to a leadership role feel a sense of personal calling.
You’ll want to reflect on your own call to ministry with friends, mentors, and advisors. These trusted people can help you discern God’s will for your life. For some students, the process of responding to God’s call can take several years. Often, it involves a lot of focused prayer, ministry experiences, and deep conversations along the way.
An educational community, like a ministry-focused college or university, is a great place to undertake this process of discernment.
2. Embrace knowledge
Not all ministers have degrees. However, some churches prefer that their ministers have at least a bachelor’s degree in a subject like Christian ministry or biblical studies.
To be as prepared as possible for your calling, you’ll want to equip yourself with a solid educational foundation through a degree program in pastoral ministry with a strong emphasis on the Bible, theology, and Christian character development. Immerse yourself in the richness of studying God’s word in a caring community of faculty, staff, and students who share your ministry goals.
3. Join a faith community
Find your spiritual home within a local church that shares your values and beliefs. Build relationships with all generations – not just your own. Participate in different aspects of church life, such as worship, children’s ministry and youth ministry, technology, and small groups. As you pursue your education, learn what it means to minister and be ministered to by being a part of a healthy and active church life.
4. Unleash your potential
Practical, experiential training in pastoral ministry should begin early. The sooner the better! Find ways to engage in a variety of ministry roles by getting connected with seasoned ministry leaders who will provide opportunities for you to gain hands-on experience.
Ideally, an extended internship in a local church or organization (whether paid or volunteer) will allow you to grow your pastoral ministry skills and build lasting connections with leadership and with those you serve. Many ministry degree programs have these internship experiences built into their curriculum.
5. Find the right path
Lastly, pastoral licensing and ordination is the formal process by which individuals are recognized and authorized to serve as pastors. It typically involves an assessment of one’s theological knowledge, spiritual maturity, and character.
The specific steps and requirements for ordination vary across denominations, but generally include an examination, interviews, and approval by a governing body or board of clergy members.
Learn the Requirements for Your Denomination
The qualifications for pastoral ministry vary between Christian organizations, so you will want to familiarize yourself with the unique requirements and guidelines set forth by your chosen denomination or church.
It helps if the church you are working with has a clear and well-defined path to pastoral licensing and ordination. Note that some denominations may require a master’s degree or equivalent theological training from an accredited seminary or divinity school.
Learn More About the Steps to Becoming a Pastor through Grace Christian University
At Grace Christian University, our mission is to graduate courageous ambassadors for Christ who make an eternal impact wherever they go.
Our degree programs in Leadership & Ministry and Biblical Studies are the perfect way for you to continue on your journey to becoming a pastor, and our caring faculty and staff will be beside you every step of the way.
Ready to get started? Request more info today!