Once you have come to a point where you are sure you’re called of the ministry (hah! it usually takes years!) you need to confirm this. As I’ve mentioned, Pastors have far more to account for than the average Christian. And trying to embark on a journey into the ministry that you’re not called into may mean you may find yourself having to give account as well, and the first question from the Lord may well be, “Why did you enter the Ministry when I did not call you?”
Not a good day.
Anyway, you should confirm this by first talking to your pastor. Next, you should seek the counsel of a couple of Godly Christians. It should be kept in mind that there’s pros and cons for this – Charles Spurgeon asked a godly woman he knew and she told him in no way was he called to the ministry. Fortunately, he could tell that she wasn’t giving it the thought needed, and asked others. Pastor Danny Castle tells a similar story about a woman he talked to about it tried to tell him that he was an evangelist and that’s it. It always seems like the better you are, someone’s tried to talk you out of it.
I’m just sunk, I guess, because people were telling me I was called to be a pastor long before I knew for certain I’d been called.
Once you get past this point, what then?
Study, my lad, study!
The study you do right now, up until you are in the pulpit… is the foundational study you must depend on for years! You’ll find out what I’m talking about.
So… get your Bible open. You need to get your hardcover Bible now, the one you plan on using in the pulpit. Why? Because you need to have your highlights in it, your notes, etc. You – at least once – will find yourself somewhere where you’ll be in the congregation and suddenly you’ll be called upon to preach. If you have notes written in the margins of your Bible, you should be able to just get up and preach a complete sermon.
I’ve proceeded in a different direction – thanks to the training I got in my seminary, I can climb into a pulpit, open my Bible at random, and break almost any verse into a sermon outline. I told my old pastor how I do it, and he was surprised he’d never noticed it before – the majority of verses in the New Testament usually have two commas in it.
“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” (Romans 6:15, KJV)
See your sermon points yet? Keep looking? It’s right there…
- Shall we sin
- we are not under the law
- but under grace
I’ve given away that tip before – just look for commas. They divide your sermon points. That training from my seminary so prepared me for looking at a passage and spotting sermon points has expanded to expository study, where now I’m spotting words that are the focus of the passage. What are the words above that are the focus?
contrasts, look for contrasts. It’s almost the fingerprint of God. A couple of years ago, I read through the Bible three times. That was intense reading, because there’s so much to read, and you lose a lot of it, but it’s literally cramming those points into your head!
Much of my articles from last year, if you’re new to my blog, where the subject of the “year of the Bible”. I think, off the top of my head, that at least 60% of last years articles were directly related to Bible study or teaching.
This year, I’ll do it again of course. On this blog, it’s the year of getting ready. However, it’s also the 500th anniversary of the Protestant reformation, and many blogs and ministries are calling for a step by step exposition of a book of the Bible in honor of that. I’ve done that twice on the blog, once in Galatians, a brief one in Romans that really didn’t count (as I was just giving highlights and getting everyone used to the idea), and last year one in Hebrews. So, this year I’ll do it again, but I’m leaning again towards Romans. Although 1 Corinthians has a lot going for it, since there’s a half million Charismatics on earth. Do you know how many Charismatics there’d be if they understood what 1 Corinthians is saying? Zero.
So, if you’re called to the ministry, and haven’t done this year of serious reading of the Bible, then this is it! Get busy. You’ve lost two weeks already!