It might have been when you were a teenager, listening to the conference speaker talk about a life of ministry. Or perhaps you were sitting in your office cubicle, realizing that serving at church is when you feel most alive. Perhaps you are currently discovering that you have a gift for explaining spiritual matters to the members of your small group. No matter your age, background, or current situation, when you sense God calling you into a life of ministry, it is best to listen. There are a lot of questions to consider, and you might already be wondering how to become a pastor.
Not to worry because we will walk you through all of the important questions like why you should become a pastor, how to become a pastor, and what comes next. We know God often calls people into the unknown, but we can come along and make sure your leap of faith isn’t a blind leap.
Why is a pastoral ministry degree important?
Obviously, it will come as no surprise to you that a seminary will value pastors having seminary degrees. But we think you will agree that the life of ministry and dealing with eternal matters are important. After all, you would not let just anyone open the hood of your car and begin taking out parts. Because you want a vehicle that is safe to operate, you value a mechanic with training.
The time it takes people to be trained in any occupation is proof of their commitment to what they are doing. Because of the eternal nature of what we’re discussing, training is an assurance that pastors and ministry leaders have invested time and energy into their careers.
We see the biblical precedent of the value of training. In Acts 18, we read that Apollos was a “learned man” and “instructed in the way of the Lord” (Acts 18:24-25). Verse 26 continues the theme by telling us that Priscilla and Aquila “invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.”
Even Paul, who wrote half of the New Testament, was given opportunities to learn and train. During his conversion experience, “[he] spent several days with the disciples in Damascus” (Acts 9:19). They likely spent time talking to him about Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament scriptures with which he was so familiar. A few verses later, he is sent to Tarsus, likely both for his own safety from persecution and further training.
Paul would later encourage continued training to his apprentice Timothy, writing, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). If you’re asking how to become a pastor, keep in mind that there is great value in being trained.
How do I know how to become a pastor, and what degree a pastor needs?
Believing that training is important is one matter, but there are lots of seminary degrees. How should you know what pastoral ministry degree you need to be ready for ministry? To answer that, we offer these three important steps:
Ask yourself what area of ministry you are interested in. After all, there are a wide variety of ministry opportunities and jobs available. There are senior pastors, youth pastors, children’s pastors, family pastors, discipleship pastors, and executive pastors. And that’s just a short list of different types of pastors in the local church.
Other ministry professions include chaplaincy, missionary work, Christian counseling, evangelists, speakers, authors, and non-profit and parachurch leaders. We’d be remiss if we left seminary professors off this list. There are a lot of possibilities, and God has given countless gifts and skills to ensure all the areas of need are being met.
Get involved in your local church. See how your passions and gifts match up with different ministries. Yes, some people are called to do things they don’t necessarily like, (just ask Jonah after his fishy journey to Nineveh), but God will give most of us a passion for our calling.
There’s no better way to find out if you’ve got the personality and skills for children’s ministry than spending a week helping with your church’s Vacation Bible School. We haven’t met a pastor or ministry leader who is turning volunteers down, so the opportunities to be involved in your church are many.
Considering the cost is not just good advice when becoming a disciple of Christ. You should spend some time thinking about what a life of ministry looks like and what it will cost. We’re not just talking about the cost of a seminary program. (Because honestly, we keep our prices low because we desire to equip ministry leaders for God’s work being done all around the world.) We’re talking about the emotional and physical costs.
The demand on pastors and ministry leaders is a direct result of the frontline work they are a part of – sharing the Gospel with broken people who are in need of a Savior. Understanding the physical and emotional toll of ministry is an important step toward longevity in a life of ministry.
*Use of alliteration might be a good indication that preaching is right up your alley!
What are my next steps?
Now that you’ve considered the crucial questions of why a pastoral ministry degree is important, and how to know your end goal, you need to know what’s next. Grace Theological Seminary can help!
Check out our full slate of seminary degrees! We offer a variety of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs to match your season in life. Whatever your path, we have something to offer, on campus, online, on-site, and on demand. You can come join us in beautiful Winona Lake or we can deliver seminary to you!
Do you have more questions about your next steps and how to become a pastor? Visit our website or contact our seminary team, who would love to tell you more about what we offer. If God is calling you to a life of ministry, we can equip you to answer the call!