Do You Need Formal Training to be a Minister?
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?
- While formal training is recommended, finding a pastor, minister or church leader to mentor you is the most effective way to learn.
- Timothy was mentored by and served Paul (Acts 16:1-4).
- 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?
- You must have a spiritual covering. Find a denomination, church or fellowship you are familiar with.
- You don’t have to be controlled by a formal group to start a church, but you do need someone to hold you accountable.
- Find an organization that is able to license and/or ordain you.
- Only affiliate with organizations whose beliefs line up with yours.
Do you need formal training?
- Pray. Ask God if you should seek formal training or start your ministry or church without it.
- Being in the ministry is a calling not a job. If you don’t feel God has called you, don’t do it.
- 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.
- How much does it cost? Look for free courses and scholarship opportunities. The most expensive is not always the best.
- If you decide you need formal training, find reputable sources. The wrong degree can hurt more than help.
- Protect your reputation. Avoid “credential mills” willing to give you a license or ordination for a “pay now” fee.
- 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!