I am asking for prayer and seeking Godly counsel. I am 23 years of age and believe I'm called to be a pastor. I have always had a heart for the prodigal son but recently a passion has been instilled in me for the older brother. Those who are in the fathers house but know not what they have. Bound by religion and no relationship. My desire is to introduce people to an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. My dilemma is this. I have always attend an Assembly of God church. My church individually is very balanced in its doctrine however I disagree with some doctrine of the fellowship as a whole. I am also not amused by the putting down of I guess they would be called non-Pentecostal churches. I'm lost on whether or not to seek credentials with this fellowship. I'm not so sure I would even be issued any in the first place since I disagree with a core doctrine ( initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit) I ask for prayer and maybe some words of wisdom. I want to do for God but not just do I want to do well for God. But I feel so confused on what the next step is. I know I'm called to ministry but what do I do with that calling? How do I prepare? My goal with this post is not to start any kind of debate or argument but I need some guidance from some Godly people.
Dear Brother,Great questions and heart behind your post, I believe the Lord is directing you rightly and your response to be humble and ask such questions reflects some of your good character. In North America, denominations abound and thus if you are not plugged directly into one group it can be hard to find a specific group that you feel comfortable with. Each one will have its requirements and suggestions for you to go through before you can be a pastor or start a bible study meeting in your home.Let me say this to you from my own burden, I believe God is raising up many younger men to be full-time workers for Him. God is also raising up many who are not plugged directly into a specific denomination. The important thing is if you feel strongly there is a call of God in your life to be a pastor (shepherd, overseer, elder) [all the same terms] do not let men stop it. One practical and important suggestion is to have an mature elder (pastor) brother that does not want to control you but raise you into your giftings and calling, you should pray for someone like this in your life that can counsel and encourage you as you step out by faith. This allows you to practice submission in your own life.Secondly, I would encourage you not to rush into active ministry. The ways of the Lord are different then men. A 2 year bible degree necessarily does not prepare you for ministry. Some of God's ways can lead a man into 10+ years of training through obscurity and small things before He releases that one into active public service where they are highly fruitful for His kingdom. This breaking and relying process on the Lord Himself cannot be rushed.Lastly, one practical step to exercise your calling and gifting is simply to step out in your area and have a bible study, prayer meeting, etc and even just gather 2-3 others, to teach the word of God verse by verse. This meeting is the church and ask you submit to Jesus Christ as the head the meeting will grow as the Lord leads. We have put together a simple free ebook resource to encourage this burden: www.gospelfellowships.netI trust something I wrote was helpful or at least encouraging brother.
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
Thanks a lot Bro. Gordon. Your prayers would definitely be appreciated!
Hi brother,I would agree with Greg ("SermonIndex") on this. While we know that the time is short and there is a desire to do something for God "now," it is still better to wait on God's timing and preparation.Like Greg pointed out, a Bible degree is not necessarily a prerequisite to ministry. In fact, I personally don't believe that it should be a prerequisite at all. If God has moved your heart toward ministry, then wait upon God and do what He asks of you when he asks of you. I remember speaking to a friend in a church who complained that his "ministry" was being neglected by the Church. He wanted to work with youth and was a gifted worship musician. However, there was an over-abundance of musicians for the weekly meetings and the church already had a youth pastor and assistant youth pastor. When he mentioned this to me, I asked him why he felt so "confined." I told him that if he feels a "calling" then the calling comes from the Lord. He doesn't have to "fulfill" that calling within the walls of a particular church building. I told him that he can take his guitar to a street corner or college campus that we attended. I told him that he can still go to the streets, ghettos or government projects and reach out with Christ in those areas if God so led him. While it is good to be "prepared," there is no greater preparation than seeking the face of God and knowing Him through His Word. He will equip those He calls. Another thing: If you feel that God might provide a wife in the future, you may want to make some preparations for that too. Too often, I feel that many students of ministry feel that their calling is also their vocation. Not only is it a "vocation" for them, but they use it as a means to provide for their family too. While a "workman is worthy of his hire," it is something to think about when we see ministers in the early church who held a trade or skill to provide both for family and ministry. This "preparation" might be to learn a trade, earn experience or even to earn an education while pursuing a degree. As for the Assemblies of God: I understand. I attended Assemblies of God churches for most of my life. I agree with most of the doctrines that they profess, but I disagree somewhat on some of the others. Thankfully, local A/G congregations are very often willing to embrace those who desire to by used by God. I agree with the things that Greg mentioned. Elders and older brothers in the Lord should be there for you to turn to for counsel and encouragement. I will be praying for you, brother! Be encouraged!
I have known so many men and women at your age, including myself who felt this "calling" to go into the ministry. The preparations are enormous and will take time to sort out. You said that you are confused about certain teachings and doctrines of the AoG, one thing that would be wise is to find out what you believe and become established in it so that you don't become wayward. Greg has some good practical advice, but before you can minister to others you have need that others minister to you.
Thanks for all the advice and especially your prayers.
Get alone with God and His Holy word. Resolve to read at least 10 chapters a day. 5 from the old and 5 from the New testaments. if you do this fathfully with the intent to have faith in God and His word alone, then 3 to 6 months from now you will see things more clearly. You Must stand on the Scriptures and The power of the Holy Ghost alone!!!!