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Do You Need Formal Training to be a Minister?

by | Updated April 9th, 2015 | Posted in Church Growth, Development and Leadership

It’s not necessary to have formal training before you start a ministry or plant a church, but most seasoned ministers recommend that you pursue some type of biblical training as soon as possible. The more you learn the better equipped you will be. You can take classes online or by correspondence from many universities if you can’t attend full time. Formal training will increase your confidence in yourself as well as others confidence in you.

Find a mentor.

That being said, the best way to train for your area of ministry is to find someone who will become a “father in the faith” and mentor you. For example, Paul mentored Timothy (Acts 16:1-4). He served Paul faithfully, helping him grow his ministry. If you are faithful in another person’s ministry, God may see fit to give you your own (Luke 16:12). Pray for guidance as to whether you should seek formal training first or go ahead and start your ministry.

Join a fellowship.

It’s also very important to find a fellowship, denomination or church that can provide your spiritual covering. You do not have to be part of a denomination, or have someone controlling your ministry, but you do need to have a fellowship or pastor who will hold you accountable and be there if you need help.

If you do decide to obtain formal training, make sure you find a reputable source. Becoming a minister of the Gospel is a serious matter — even though some organizations make obtaining your ministerial license as easy as paying a one time fee. Many of these organizations are nothing more than credential mills.

Here are a few important tips to remember:

1. Make sure you’re called. Ministry is a calling, not just a vocation or job. You must believe God wants you to become a minister. If you don’t feel called, don’t do it.

2. Be faithful to your local church. In Luke 16:12 Jesus said, “If you have not been faithful in what is another man’s who will give you what is your own?” It’s important to be faithful to your pastor and local church before entering the ministry. Serving others is the best way to learn how to become a good pastor.

3. Find a credentialing organization. You will need to find an organization that will license you. Contact the organization your local church is affiliated with to see what their credentialing policies are. Make sure you affiliate with an organization whose beliefs line up with yours.

Being in the ministry can be a joyous thing, but it can also be very challenging. If you’re not called by God, there will enormous conflict in your life. Again, make sure you’re called!