Five Elements of the Call to Ministry

Here are some vital elements of the call of God to vocational ministry.

1. Receiving the call

Most Bible students agree that the ministry is reserved for those who sense a call of God upon their lives for this work. The Bible gives the details of the specific call of many Old Testament prophets. (Moses Exodus. 3,4; Jeremiah Jeremiah. 1:5-10; Isaiah Isaiah 6; Amos Amos 7:14-15, and Jonah Jonah 1:1,2.)

In reference to the role of the Old Testament high priest, the writers of Hebrews made this statement, "and no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is call of God, as was Aaron." Hebrews 5:4.

A New Testament example of this call is seen in the early church when God called Barnabas and Saul: "as they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them out." Acts 13:2,3.

2. Verifying the call

Unless a man believes he is called of God, he will find it difficult to survive the stresses of the ministry. One who thinks that God may be calling him needs to concentrate on three specific areas.

  • First, he needs to give himself to prayer. The call must come from God. 
  • Second, he should seek godly advice from proven ministers. 
  • Third, it would be wise to explore educational and training expectations and possibilities.

3. Announcing the call

A major step for every young minister is to announce before the church that he is sensing a call of God to enter the ministry. Some call it "announcing your call to preach" others use the term "surrendering to the ministry." This allows the church to know what God is doing in your life and encourages them to pray that you will follow His leadership.

4. Affirming the call

As people become aware of your call to preach, you will be given opportunity to supply preach when pastors are away, bring devotions at various events and speak at nursing homes and jails. It is very important that you take advantage of each opportunity because some things can be learned only by practice. Nobody expects a new preacher to preach like Billy Graham. You will be tempted to give up and quit but if you work hard and stay faithful God will make you the preacher He wants you to be.

5. Solidifying the call

After the church has had sufficient time to witness the evidence of your call, you will want to ask the church to license you to preach. This is done by an official vote of the church and is a statement of their approval of your preparation for the ministry. This is not the same as an ordination. That usually comes after you have been called to your first

Ray Gilder is the bivocational ministries specialist at the Tennesee Baptist Convention and is also a bivocational pastor.

Story Highlights

  • Receiving the call
  • Verifying the call
  • Announcing the call
  • Affirming the call
  • Solidifying the call

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