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A future in Religion/Ministry
By Jennifer Bailey
There are a variety of opportunities within ministry-related careers. For those who believe they would like to serve the Lord through full-time ministry, one of the most important questions to ask is…where is my call to ministry coming from? Is your interest in ministry from a desire to help others, or is it a “call” from the Lord? While Christians are called to serve in every profession we undertake, I believe full-time ministry may be best considered a response to a God-given call.
Whether you are considering a career as a children’s pastor, music/worship leader, senior pastor, youth minister, or Bible teacher/professor, may I suggest that your focus should be on service to Christ rather than on service to others. While at times, people can be wonderful to serve, individuals are imperfect and can be “challenging” to work with, to say the least. If your interest in service through ministry as your full-time career has risen from God’s call on your life, this will likely be your passion. In the popular study, “Experiencing God”, the authors touch on this notion of “service” being to Christ first. With service to Christ as the focus of ministry, it removes our personal views of the one being served. Personalities, differences of opinion, or whether or not someone seems “lovable” to you are no longer an issue when what we are doing is actually service to Christ. Seeing Christ rather than the one we are “serving” can dramatically shift our view and improve our ability to minister.
A career of service through ministry will likely be challenging, rewarding and constantly changing. If God is leading you into a life of ministry, it can be one of the most exciting professions you can imagine.
A person considering a career in pastoral ministry should possess characteristics that include integrity, empathy, patience, generosity, and hospitality – but most importantly a “call” from the Lord.
Serving as a pastor can be dramatically different from one church to another. What makes pastoral ministry so varied are such factors as the church’s location (urban, suburban, rural), the size of the church, the “make-up” of the church body, denomination, and the part of the country (culture) where the church is located, just to name a few. For example, you will likely need a very different skill set to minister effectively to a congregation of 100 in rural Minnesota, than a church of 1,000 in Southern California. You will need a different set of gifts to plant a church, than to be a senior pastor with a mature congregation of 250 members. Your own relationship with Christ should be the foundation for ministry, on which you can place the building blocks of your study of theology, psychology, business, speech, etc.
Having a deep understanding, love, and appreciation for scripture and biblical principles is critical to effective pastoral ministry. How are your personal prayer life and your time in the Word? The honest answer to this question will likely be a strong indicator of your qualifications and call to ministry.
Ministry is a rewarding and challenging profession, and if God has called you into a life of ministry there is no better place to be.