What was the first thought you had about ministry? I remember mine.
I was in high school, a sophomore I think. This thought crossed my mind: “I would never want to be a pastor.” That’s funny to remember now, because I became one.
You might have thought about it positively, not in a negative way like I did. Your thoughts might be described as curiosity. Or you may even have a desire to be in ministry. Possibly your first thought was when someone said, “Have you thought about going into the ministry?”
Once you have those first thoughts about ministry, questions probably pop into your head. “What do pastors do?” “Would I even know how?” “How do I know if God wants me to be a pastor?”
These are very natural questions. Anyone would have them. I hope what you are about to read will give you some answers.
Let me share a little of how God directed me into ministry.
I attended a Christian school and sang in the choir. Our choir traveled to churches in the area to present a program in which I had a narration part. I basically quoted a few verses of Scripture and repeated memorized lines that tied the verses to the song we were about to sing.
Several times, people in the audience made comments like, “You sound great. You should be a preacher!” I seem to remember it was usually little old ladies saying such things. I didn’t pay much attention, just thanked them and smiled.
My senior year in high school, when we were planning our senior trip, our class sponsor asked me to give a devotional message on the Sunday we were away. That was the first time I ever studied a passage of Scripture and shared what I learned with other people. I was extremely nervous, but really enjoyed it.
When I finished high school, my family moved. After our U-Haul truck was loaded, my parents had me drive ahead to the motel where we spent our first night while they cleaned and closed up the house. As I drove, I prayed. Words of surrender to God came from my heart. I told God I wanted to do His will and asked Him to show me what it was.
From that time on, I experienced a steadily growing burden to be a pastor. I especially wanted to preach and teach the Bible. My pastor recommended a Christian college that trained men for ministry. I majored in Bible with a minor in Greek (the original language of the New Testament).
After graduation, I attended seminary. During college and seminary, I was given opportunities to serve in churches where I really enjoyed teaching and preaching. I discovered that the ministry of the Word was my passion and gift.
During my last year of seminary, a pastor contacted me about serving as a youth pastor. I had not known until then what I would do after graduation. God opened a door for me to be a pastor! I served there for four years, teaching and discipling teens.
My pastor generously gave me opportunities to preach to the whole church. These experiences cultivated in me a desire to preach to a broader audience. He encouraged me to be open to pastoring a church.
I was contacted by a church of about 75 people who were looking for a pastor. My wife and I visited there, I preached and answered their questions, and they voted to call me as their pastor. Again, God opened the door! At the age of 31 I became the pastor of a church!
I’m sharing my story with you to encourage you. If you’re having thoughts about being a pastor, but you’re wondering if you’ll be able to do it, I can reassure you that with God’s help you can. He doesn’t leave you on your own to figure it out for yourself. If you are meant to be a pastor – as in, God wants you to be one – you will learn what you need to know and God will give you the ability you need.
Dr. Dean Taylor