Thinking about ministry? What questions do you need to be asking?
I recommend Ron Edmondson’s recent article on this topic. It inspired me to write my own 5 tips:
1. Have you made a careful study of the Bible and your relation to it?
Before you go to seminary, make sure you already know what the Bible says and how to understand it. Do you know the Bible well enough to preach every week, starting right now, and not be ashamed of a lack of knowledge? Do you love reading the Bible every day?
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success (Joshua 1:8).
2. Have you determined your exact theological views? (so far)
These can change, but until you’ve made your own wholehearted attempt to understand the Bible, you’re not quite ready to go to seminary.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Acts 17:11).
3. Have you acquainted yourself with the critics?
Read and listen to the best arguments against your faith. Determine why you believe.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15).
4. Have you asked the input of others close to you?
Ask whether you display kindness and a servant heart. Ask whether you would do well in ministry, and if so, which kind of ministry. Ask which aspects of ministry they think will be most challenging to you.
Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established (Proverbs 15:22).
5. Have you asked whether your motivation to minister will stand the test of time?
The easiest time to be excited about an opportunity is when it is ahead of you and seems within reach. Once you gain the opportunity and it becomes normal, it’s easier to lose heart. Have you prepared your heart?
And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD (2 Chronicles 12:14).
Two convictions carry a pastor through this good fight:
A conviction of all Christians:
There is nothing more important than that people would see Jesus.
For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).
A conviction special to vocational ministers:
To me personally, there is no career pursuit more important than helping people see Jesus.
For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory about, for necessity is laid upon me. Yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel! (1 Corinthians 9:16).