Do You Need Formal Training to be a Minister?

by | Updated September 11th, 2015 | Posted in Church Growth, Development and Leadership

Throughout history brave men and women entered the “ministry” with nothing more than a desire to spread the Gospel. While it’s not necessary to have formal training before becoming a pastor or minister, obtaining some type of degree or certificate is a good idea. Below is a basic outline to help you decide if official ministerial training is right for you.

Do you have a mentor?

  1. While formal training is recommended, finding a pastor, minister or church leader to mentor you is the most effective way to learn.
  2. Timothy was mentored by and served Paul (Acts 16:1-4).
  3. If you have been faithful in another person’s ministry, God may give you your own (Luke 16:12).

Do you belong to a denomination?

  1. You must have a spiritual covering. Find a denomination, church or fellowship you are familiar with.
  2. You don’t have to be controlled by a formal group to start a church, but you do need someone to hold you accountable.
  3. Find an organization that is able to license and/or ordain you.
  4. Only affiliate with organizations whose beliefs line up with yours.

Do you need formal training?

  1. Pray. Ask God if you should seek formal training or start your ministry or church without it.
  2. Being in the ministry is a calling not a job. If you don’t feel God has called you, don’t do it.
  3. Are you confident in your abilities? If you have little experience in your area of ministry you need some type of on-the-job or formal training.
  4. How much does it cost? Look for free courses and scholarship opportunities. The most expensive is not always the best.
  5. If you decide you need formal training, find reputable sources. The wrong degree can hurt more than help.
  6. Protect your reputation. Avoid “credential mills” willing to give you a license or ordination for a “pay now” fee.
  7. Whether a pastor, worship leader or evangelist, be faithful to your local church. Serving others is the best way to learn how to become a good minister (Luke 16:12).

Being in the ministry can be a joyous thing but it’s also very challenging. If you’re not called, no amount of training will minimize the conflict, grief and trouble coming your way. Make sure you’re called!

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